Saturday’s Bundesliga Review: Dortmund Defeated
With the Bundesliga set to go on holiday for the next few weeks, we were always going to be in for a fantastic weekend of football to properly send our favorites sides off. This weekend has already been full of shocks and surprises, and the biggest of them has to be Dortmund’s 1-0 loss to a defiant Eintracht Frankfurt. Let’s get to the results.
Nurnberg 3 – 1 Hannover 96
This is definitely not the way Mirko Slomka would have been hoping to end the first half of the season, especially because of the fact that they’ve been pushing so hard for a European place recently. Nurnberg, on the other hand, will welcome a return to winning ways. Hannover captain Steven Cherundolo unfortunately deflected an Ilkay Gundogan shot into his own net just before the half-hour mark to put the hosts into the driving seat, and it was really all down hill from there for Hannover. Andreas Wolf scored minutes later from a set-piece, and Nurnberg headed into the break with a two-nil lead. Hannover would equalize from the penalty spot with 15 minutes left on the clock after a handball incident, and Sergio Pinto stepped up confidently and scored. There was no coming back for Hannover though. Nurnberg capped their win with a third goal, this time from Ilkay Gundogan, who has been an instrumental part of Nurnberg’s side this season. Where will he be next season?
Schalke 3 – 0 FC Koeln
I can’t get enough of this Schalke resurgence. They really did look dead and buried not too long ago, and now they’re beginning to look like a proper Felix Magath side. Raul was the man of the match once more as he hit his second hat trick of the season. He may be getting on, but class never fades. Despite their recent good form, the Schalke squad are still only having a four day holiday because of their awful performances early on in the season. If they return fitter and sharper than their competition, it’s likely that the goals will continue to flow for the Konigsblauen.
VFL Wolfsburg 2 – 2 TSG Hoffenheim
Is Wolfsburg a team, or is it just a group of individuals? That midfield is just not performing like it should. They don’t keep possession very well, and they don’t win the ball quickly enough. Tolga Cigerci looks their best midfielder and he’s 17 years old! Steve McClaren’s got to have a think over the break about how to pull this group together because they look nothing like the side that won the league a couple of years ago. Luis Guistavo and Gylfi Sigurdsson (who I can’t get enough of) put Hoffenheim two-nil up going into the break. It’s impressive that McClaren’s boys turned the game around, but how they were two-nil down in the first place is a problem. Diego and Dzeko were on hand to restore order for Wolfsburg, but they’re really not playing like a side who are hoping to challenge for a Champions League place.
Werder Bremen 1 – 2 Kaiserslautern
It’s really going from bad to worse for Werder Bremen. They’ve dropped all the way down to 14th place now, just four points ahead of the relegation zone. Are we all about to watch Werder Bremen battle for survival? It’s been a mixed up league so far this season with sides like Frankfurt and Hannover pushing for European places while sides like Stuttgart, Werder Bremen and Hamburg, who are usually up there with the best of them, are really struggling to get going. We’re halfway through the season now, and Werder Bremen are still on the back foot. Thomas Schaaf will really be looking for improvement after the winter break. Fantastic three points for Kaiserslautern though, that’s one more big scalp for them. Srdjan Lakic really was made for the Bundesliga. Alexander Bugera and Sandro Wagner both picked up second yellows and were sent off, but it had little effect on the result.
Eintracht Frankfurt 1 – 0 Borussia Dortmund
They’ve lost one! The day has finally come. Theofanis Gekas (did you expect anyone else?) blasted the only goal of the game into the back of the net with just minutes remaining, and Borussia Dortmund were made to rue missed chances. Even though they’ve lost, they’re still well ahead at the top of the table and now that they’ve got the winter break to recuperate and recover, they’ll probably come back strong and push for the title. Fantastic result for Frankfurt. Gekas is turning into one of the transfers of the season.