Today’s Bundesliga matches were some of the most exciting and open games in Europe. While the Premier League, Serie A, and La Liga are all now officially underway, the football gods smiled on the Bundesliga this weekend and the goals flowed. Today’s matches saw Frankfurt host Hamburg, Freiburg take on Nurnberg, Hannover travel to Schalke, Wolfsburg battle Mainz, Werder Bremen host Koln, and Hoffenheim travel to St. Pauli.
Hamburg came back from Frankfurt with the souvenir of three points, despite conceding early on. Patrick Ochs put Frankfurt ahead ten minutes from half-time, but Hamburg came out after the break roused and ready, and put Frankfurt to the sword. Joris Mathijsen and Ruud van Nistelrooy both scored headers from corner kicks which will absolutely enrage manager Michael Skibbe who will regret their poor marking from set-pieces. Hamburg’s third goal came after an excellent finish from Jose Paolo Guerrero, who beat the goalkeeper at his near post. Hamburg will be delighted at their away win, and Armin Veh will take the plaudits for boosting the team at half-time.
Nurnberg will have been looking to continue their decent form at home against Freiburg this week after grabbing a 1-1 draw up at Borussia Dortmund last weekend. Unfortunately for Nurnberg, it was the visitor’s who came away with the win. Nurnberg opened the scoring through Julian Schieber, but one goal either side of half-time from Papiss Demba Cisse condemned the home side to defeat. Freiburg will be relieved that they picked up the three points after losing 3-1 to St. Pauli last weekend.
Hannover 96 continued to impress, and this time against Felix Magath’s Schalke. Last weekend, Hannover recorded an encouraging 2-1 win at home over Eintracht Frankfurt, and have now grabbed another three points away to Schalke. Manager Mirko Slomka set up his side to go out and play without fear against a Schalke side who look much the better team, at least on paper. Hannover got their first through Konstantin Rausch, and were unlucky to be only 1-0 up at half-time. Hannover had at least two other clear cut chances to punish Schalke’s rather woeful lapses in concentration at the back. Just minutes after half-time, Hannover struck again, and this time through Mohammed Abdellaoue. Hannover continued to create chances while Schalke struggled to get into the match despite their best efforts. They scored a late consolation goal through midfielder Jermaine Jones but came away from the match with nothing.
If the Schalke result wasn’t a big enough shock, this match certainly was. Wolfsburg, who unfortunately lost to Bayern Munich due to a last-gasp goal from Bastian Schweinsteiger, hosted Mainz today and manager Steve McClaren will have expected an efficient performance from his side today. In the first half, he would have had no choice but to shower his side with praise. Edin Dzeko’s electric finishing movement cut Mainz to ribbons as he put Wolfsburg 2-0 up after 27 minutes. New signing Diego, who is making a return to the Bundesliga, rounded Wetklo in Mainz’s goal to make it 3-0 on the half-hour mark. Smooth sailing. After half-time, Mainz were motivated. They would not go down to this Wolfsburg side without a fight. I don’t even think they believed they could this off! Four goals without reply from Mainz ruined what would have been a comfortable Wolfsburg win. Morten Rasmussen, Elkin Soto, Andre Schurrle and Adam Szalai all netted for Mainz in the second half to round off an incredible comeback win. The shocking thing about it is how poor Wolfsburg’s defending was in the second half. Simon Kjaer, dear oh dear. Shocking against Bayern, and shocking this week against Mainz. This boy was billed as one of the next great center-halves, but he’s looked well out of his depth since arriving from Palermo this summer! Great victory for Mainz. Unbelievable match.
Werder Bremen pleased their home fans with an impressive 4-2 victory over FC Koln. New signing Marko Arnautovic earned the start for Die Grun-Weissen and proved to Werder manager Thomas Schaaf that he deserves a starting place every week with a man of the match performance. A Torsten Frings penalty – which he made look all too easy – after Marko Marin was pulled down in the box kicked things off, and then a towering header from Arnautovic put Werder two to the good. Lukas Podolski decided he’d finally work up a sweat and put Koln back in the match with a header from a Novakovic cross, but Koln were denied late on. With three quarters of the game gone, an excellent Arnautovic cross found Hugo Almeida in the area and he duly obliged. It was that man Arnautovic again with just minutes left to the final whistle with an excellent left-footed shot after some superb work down the wing by Clemens Fritz. Koln grabbed a consolation just seconds after Arnautovic scored through Kevin Mckenna, who scored a header from just under the crossbar. Good win for Werder, and exceptional performance from Arnautovic who looks to be settling into German football with great ease.
Hoffenheim and St. Pauli played the last match of the day without beginning to thrill. With just a handful of shots on target between them, the match was won by a late Isaac Vorsah tap-in just inches away from the goal-line. Hoffenheim will be glad with the points, but St. Pauli will rue their missed chances and the fact that they conceded so late to throw away a potential draw. For teams involved in a relegation dogfight, every point matters come the end of the season.
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