A Saturday goal-fest in the Bundesliga made for some very interesting results. Table-topping Mainz hosted Hoffenheim; Borussia Monchengladbach hosted VfL Wolfsburg; HSV hosted promoted side Kaiserslautern; Schalke travelled to Nurnberg; and Freiburg hosted Koln.
Mainz 4 – 2 TSG Hoffenheim
Mainz’s incredible form continues with their seventh straight win of the season, which equals the record the best Bundesliga start to a season of all time. Thomas Tuchel’s side will be beaming with confidence, and as long as they can keep it up and avoid key injuries, they can make a real push for a European place. The only downer for Mainz, is that two of their very best players, Andre Schuerrle and Lewis Holtby, are destined to leave the side once the season ends. Schuerrle will join Leverkusen in the summer, and Holtby will return to Schalke after completing his year-long loan with Mainz. They’ve got to make the most of the incredible talent at their disposal now, because a chance like this may not come around again. Hoffenheim were outplayed by their enthusiastic hosts, and deserved their defeat. Mainz took the lead after just two minutes through the in-form Sami Allagui, who smacked the ball into the back of the net after a pass from Adam Szalai. Hoffenheim pulled level just minutes before half-time through Demba Ba, whose pace put him in behind the Mainz back-line and allowed him to slot home. Minutes after the restart, Mainz went 2-1 up after Lewis Holtby put Adam Szalai in the clear. Just before the hour mark, Lewis Holtby made a trademark run down the wing, only to cut inside and have his shot deflected into the back of the Hoffenheim net by Luiz Gustavo. Hoffenheim wouldn’t lay down and die, and pulled it back to 3-2 through summer signing Gylfi Sigurdsson who curled in a superb free-kick. Unfortunately for Hoffenheim, the comeback died there. Josip Simunic was sent off was sent off after fouling Lewis Holtby in the box, and a penalty was awarded. Andre Schuerrle put it away, and it ended 4-2 for the hosts. Mainz host Hamburg next weekend, and Hoffenheim host Gladbach.
Borussia Monchengladbach 1 – 1 VfL Wolfsburg
Steve McClaren’s Wolfsburg had a harder time than they would have liked against Gladbach, and unfortunately only came away with a point. Gladbach have been on woeful form recently and haven’t managed a win since late August, but they will be very pleased about a positive result against such a strong side. Steve McClaren will know that picking up points on the road is vital to mounting a successful title challenge, but he will have urged his side on to grab all three. Despite Wolfsburg’s superior squad, it was Gladbach who bossed affairs and forced Diego Benaglio to make save after save. If it weren’t for him, Gladbach may have dismissed their ambitious opponents and left them with their fourth loss of the season. Wolfsburg opened the scoring Thomas Kahlenberg just before the half-hour mark, but Gladbach managed to equalize through Thorben Marx just after the hour mark. Wolfsburg lost the midfield battle here, and will know that despite hitting form recently, they must keep improving. Wolfsburg will host Leverkusen next weekend, while Gladbach will travel to Hoffenheim.
Hamburg SV 2 – 1 Kaiserslautern
Hamburg had to come from behind to beat their determined opponents at the Imtech Arena tonight, but will be pleased with their overall performance. Kaiserslautern took the lead after just three minutes through Srdjan Lakic from a free-kick, and held that lead into the break. Unfortunately for the hard-working FCK, the quality of their hosts’ shone through in the end. Battling midfielder Gojko Kacar scored a header after a Ze Roberto cross with 20 minutes left on the clock, and then young striker Maxim Choupo-Moting hit the winner just six minutes from time after some excellent play down the right flank by Jonathan Pitroipa. Kaiserslautern will be disappointed that they were so close to another three points only to lose it all at the death, but if they can hold their own at home then they have every chance of surviving this season. Hamburg travel to Mainz next weekend, while Kaiserslautern host Frankfurt.
Nurnberg 2 – 1 Schalke 04
It’s deja-vu. Just when we thought Schalke had picked themselves up out of the mud after being after losing all of their first four Bundesliga matches, they’ve gone and done this. Nurnberg, previous to this, had managed only one win in their first six Bundesliga matches. Felix Magath will be appalled at the school-boy errors his defenders made, and once again the back-four has been Schalke’s achilles heel. Jermaine Jones was sent off on 52 minutes after receiving his second yellow card of the match, and it totally changed the course of the match. Nurnberg took the lead after 62 minuets when Julian Schieber skinned Kyriakos Papadopoulos before putting in a deadly low cross from the byline which Mike Frantz easily poked home after getting in between Schalke’s two covering defenders. Schalke equalized through Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who is on excellent goal-scoring form, but it wasn’t enough for Magath’s side. Andreas Wolf hit the winner with a close-range header just five minutes from time after a cross from Mehmet Ekici, which was really down to some poor marking. Schalke will need to restart and pick themselves up again next weekend, when they will host Stuttgart. Nurnberg will travel to St. Pauli.
SC Freiburg 3 – 2 FC Koln
Freiburg have been on poor form recently after an impressive start to the season. Two straight losses previous to this match looked like it could well derail their good early form, but Freiburg definitely bounced back here against Koln. Zvonimir Soldo’s side are in some definite trouble now, after only collecting five points from their first seven fixtures. Relegation is looking more and more like a distinct possibility, and change looks like it is badly needed at Koln. For Freiburg, this win will lift morale and confidence within the camp. Freiburg took the lead after four minutes through Jan Rosenthal, who blasted home from about six yards out. Only seven minutes after that, Freiburg doubled their lead. Felix Bastians unleashed an incredible volley from about 25 yards out, which took a big deflection off of Jan Rosenthal and flew into the back of the net. Koln pulled one back on 22 minutes through Youssef Mohamad, who got just enough of his toe on it to steer it into the back of the net after a shot from Mato Jajalo deflected the ball into his path. Just one minute after the break, Papiss Demba Cisse cracked the ball against the wood-work. Cisse will have been disappointed about his miss, because on 50 minutes Koln found the equalizer through Adam Matuschyk, who blasted it in from just over 20 yards out. Freiburg were full of determination, though, and would not lay down. Cisse found the winner 20 minutes from time for Freiburg after Julian Schuster put him in the clear. Next weekend, Freiburg travel to Werder Bremen, while Koln host Borussia Dortmund.
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