Saturday’s Bundesliga Review: Mainz Run Ends
Great drama in Saturday’s Bundesliga games, and goals to go with it. Mainz’s winning-streak ended at the hands of Hamburg, St. Pauli showed they can score goals, Bayern Munich’s second string proved themselves, Werder Bremen picked up the pieces, and Bayer Leverkusen confirmed themselves as a genuine title threat. Let’s get to the games!
Werder Bremen 2 – 1 SC Freiburg
Aaron Hunt put the hosts ahead from well out just after the half-hour mark, and just in time to silence Tim Wiese who had been making quite a few back-handed comments about his teammate. Just after the hour mark, though, Julian Schuster equalized for Freiburg and Thomas Schaaf made a tactical change minutes later to try and get all three points. Claudio Pizarro was subbed on for Mikael Silvestre, and Werder Bremen reaped the reward for their daring change. Pizarro linked up with Almeida and the Portuguese hitman made it 2-1 on 73 minutes. Werder Bremen deserved their win, and they needed it too. Next weekend, Werder Bremen travel to Gladbach, while Freiburg host Kaiserslautern.
Bayern Munich 3 – 0 Hannover 96
A Bayern Munich side made up of mostly second-string players because of the injury crisis happening at the club at the moment, stepped up and proved themselves worthy of further first-team action. Mario Gomez, above all others, made a proper claim for having his name on the team sheet on a more regular basis. Gomez’s hat-trick secured a much-needed three points for his side, and he will have been delighted about it. Recently, he complained to the media about being treated unfairly. It’s unlikely that he’ll feel that way any longer after the immense amount of skill he showed in all three of his goals. Finally, a Bayern Munich win. Louis van Gaal will definitely need to build some momentum off of this, and Mario Gomez may be the man to place more responsibility on. Next weekend, Bayern Munich travel to Hamburg, and Hannover host Koln.
Mainz 0 – 1 Hamburg SV
Mainz’s dream run came to a crashing end at the hands of Armin Veh’s Hamburg side. Mainz were so close to nicking a point here, but with just one minute left on the clock Jose Paolo Guerrero nipped into the box after a clever ball from Ze Roberto, and put Mainz to the sword. It’ll be interesting to see how Thomas Tuchel’s side recover from their first defeat of the season, and if they’ll be able to bounce back next weekend or not. Despite their loss, Mainz are still a whopping seven points away from dropping out of the top three, so no alarm bells need be ringing just yet. Hamburg have made a decent start to the season, but if they could score more goals than they have been they could really push for a Champions League spot this season. Next weekend, Mainz will look to make their comeback against Bayer Leverkusen, while Hamburg will host Bayern Munich.
Schalke 04 2 – 2 VfB Stuttgart
The bottom two sides faced eachother in what would be called a relegation six-pointer if it involved nearly any other two teams in the league, but let’s be serious here: how long are these two sides going to spend at the wrong end of the table? Stuttgart recently fired their head coach, Christian Gross, but it’s made little difference so far. Timo Gebhart opened the scoring for Stuttgart on the fifteen minute mark, but the visitors were pegged back by Edu 15 minutes later. Martin Harnik put Stuttgart 1-2 up on 75 minutes, but then Baumjohann was brought down inside the area by Stuttgart defender Serdar Tasci, and Huntelaar put the penalty in the back of the net for his fifth goal in as many games. I expected it to be a draw, but it’s not the result that either side would have wanted. Both teams remain in the relegation zone, and that’s not where these two clubs belong. Next weekend, Schalke travel to Frankfurt, while Stuttgart host St. Pauli.
St. Pauli 3 – 2 Nurnberg
Relegation battlers St. Pauli and Nurnberg faced off in what ended up being one of the games of the weekend. The kult club from Hamburg had only scored eight goals in their previous seven games, which is an average of nearly only one a game. Based on that stat, no one would have seen them hitting three against a very defensive Nurnberg side. But, they did. And with their three goals, three deserved points! Veteran striker and Germany international Gerald Asamoah opened the scoring for St. Pauli just before half-time, but things were far from over. Nurnberg equalized through Mehmet Ekici three minutes after the break, but St. Pauli went 2-1 up ten minutes later through Marius Ebbers. Minutes later, Andreas Wolf equalized for Nurnberg, but St. Pauli managed to snatch all three points with a late goal from Florian Bruins. You’ve got to beat the teams around you if you want to stay up, and St. Pauli are doing just that. Great result for them. Next weekend, St. Pauli travel to Stuttgart, while Nurnberg host Wolfsburg.
VfL Wolfsburg 2 – 3 Bayer Leverkusen
Just as Steve McClaren’s side looked like they were going to take a clear victory over their opponents, Die Wolfe completely imploded. Diego opened the scoring for Wolfsburg after just nine minutes, and Grafite doubled Wolfsburg’s lead with just 20 minutes left to be played. Twenty minutes left, and two goals to the good. How could anything go so horribly wrong? Simon Rolfes put Leverkusen back in it on 72 minutes, and when Makoto Hasebe handled the ball inside the area, Arturo Vidal stepped up and put Leverkusen back on level terms. Simon Rolfes sealed a fantastic comeback win for his side with eight minutes left on the clock, and condemned Wolfsburg to another shocking loss. McClaren, at his press conference after the game, said he had no explaination for his side’s capitulation. What’s more depressing to Wolfsburg fans, is that Steve McClaren said this match could serve as an ‘indicator for the rest of the season.’ Yikes! Next weekend, Wolfsburg travel to Nurnberg, while Leverkusen host Mainz.