In this week 15, Bundesliga recorded only 19 goals—one of the lowest of the season so far—as the winter starts to have effect on the pitches. However, the low scores couldn’t stop the league from giving some entertaining—more of intriguing—matches to its fans.
It brought the bitter-sweet revenge of Felix Magath as his side mugged Bayern Munich at Veltins Arena and also we witnessed one of the most entertaining matches of this season so far (one of my favorites) when Werder Bremen visited VFL Wolfsburg. Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund claimed “Winter Champions” when they beat FC Nürnberg.
Let’s unfold Bundesliga’s match-day 15 and see how the teams fared last week.
St. Pauli vs. Kaiserslautern
Kaiserslautern visited The Millerntor as heavy favorites due to their goal-galore in recent matches which include 5-0 mauling of Schalke 04 added with St. Pauli’s somewhat disappointing run in this first half of the season. However, it was St. Pauli who emerged victorious after
six winless matches. The joy was there to see on the faces of their fans but—whether win or loss—The Millerntor is always buzzing with their cheer.
Kaiserslautern have been looking good value of themselves and are looking to push high up in the league come second half after winter as Srđan Lakić and Christian Tiffert look driven for the squad. Lakić has scored 9 goals so far while Tiffert has provided 9 assists for the team and is leading the top assists chart at the moment.
But it was Christian Tiffert who gifted St. Pauli with an own goal as Max Kruse’ free-kick was met by Tiffert’s header that diverted the ball in to the net. St. Pauli, after taking this lead at the start of second half, must be applauded for their dogged defense as Gunesh and Volz provided rear-guard action for the team. Upfront, Ebbers was causing lot of problems to Kaiserslautern defense whenever he had the ball at his feet.
If it wasn’t Tobias Sippel who provided stunning string of saves for Kaiserslautern then St. Pauli would have won by a big margin—a deserved win at the end of the day.
Result: St. Pauli 1-0 Kaiserslautern
Scorer(s): Tiffert (O.G.)
Eintracht Frankfurt vs. Mainz
This Rhine-Main derby was becoming a spectacle of missed chances as both teams had shared amount of chances from the start but none looked interested to send the ball in to the net. However, it took a bullet-shot of Marco Russ to break the dead-lock as he put Frankfurt ahead in 34th minute of the match. Mainz’ keeper Wetklo could do nothing but to stand frozen as the shot was simply unstoppable.
Frankfurt could only hold the lead for seven minutes as Frankfurters’ No. 10 Halil Altintop fouled Risse just at the edge of the penalty area. Schürrle took the penalty and brought the terms level to 1-1 for Mainz. Mainz were looking for the first ever win over Frankfurt after leveling the score but the Eagles proved too much for Tuchel’s side—playing with Holtby and Ivanschitz on the bench off from the start.
It took another penalty to decide this match but this time it was for Frankfurt when Kirchhof handled the ball inside the penalty area, five minutes before the full-time whistle. Theofanis Gekas made no mistake and made it 2-1 for Frankfurt. It was 12th goal of the season for Gekas who is leading the goal-scoring chart in Bundesliga.
Result: Frankfurt 2-1 Mainz
Scorer(s): Russ, Gekas—Schürrle
Freiburg vs. Hamburger SV
HSV succumbed to the fourth consecutive defeat away from home when they made a trip to Freiburg. Freiburg gave an early blow to HSV as they took the lead just in third minute of the game when Papiss Cisse scored his 11th goal of the season. The goal in itself is hard to define as Schuster sent in a cross via free-kick which Cisse fired towards goal. The ball hit the both posts—as the ball sensed itself that was too early to score—and came out again but on-rushing Cisse sent it in on his second attempt.
HSV looked in control of the match as they kept good amount of possession throughout the match but it was of no avail as they couldn’t help it turn in to goals. HSV’s hot prospect Son, the South Korean, was threatening Freiburg’s defense now and then but Freiburg kept their cool at the back. The draw would have been a justice to HSV but Freiburg goalie Baumann was in no mood to give away the goal and earned the clean sheet. Elijaro Elia returned in this match for HSV after injury-layoff and played last 20 minutes of the game.
Result: Freiburg 1-0 HSV
Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Hannover 96
Mönchengladbach took lead via Michael Bradley free-kick and looked set for first home win of the season but Hannover shattered their dreams by making a come-back in second half of the match. Mönchengladbach’s Raul Bobadilla was sent off for kicking Sergio Pinto nearing the end of first half. Bobadilla has been given a five-match ban for ungentlemanly conduct.
With this numerical advantage, visitors brought in the attacking options in second half of the match. Despite being one-man down, Mönchengladbach looked resolute most of the second half but couldn’t endure more as second half substitute Hanke leveled the score for Hannover with a powerful header, in 74th minute of the game. It took only two minutes more for Hannover to make it 1-2 when Konan sent the low-cross of Schmiedebach in to the net. Konan was the assist provider for Hannover’s the first goal, too.
Result: Mönchengladbach 1-2 Hannover
Scorer(s): Bradley—Hanke, Konan
VFB Stuttgart vs. TSG Hoffenheim
Stuttgart, in all their grace and disgrace, haven’t disappointed Bundesliga fans this season as well as no one knows where they are headed to—like always. On one side they will be playing Champions League knock-out stages and on the other side they will be flirting with the relegation. It’s not different this season too as only difference is that they are plying their trade in Europa league this season.
Hoffenheim has been a side which has been improving every season and if 50+1 Rule goes defunct then the teams which will make the most of the investments will have Hoffenheim included. However, 50+1 looks safe till certain “Regionella” RB Leipzig come into upper echelons of German football league to make some strong case against 50+1.
The teams going into different directions shared the point as the match ended in a 1-1 draw. Both goals came in first half of the match while Stuttgart gained numerical advantage over Hoffe when Vorsah was sent off due to harsh decision but Stuttgart couldn’t make the most of it.
Match Result: Stuttgart 1-1 Hoffenheim
Schalke 04 vs. FC Bayern München
Magath has been a nightmare for Bayern Munich ever since he was sacked by Bayern under dubious circumstances, back in 2007. He has managed Wolfsburg and Schalke since then after that departure. Regardless of whatever the league-run of his teams has been, he has always hit Bayern with iron-fisted approach. He had his last laugh when Wolfsburg beat Bayern Munich 5-1 and we laughed as well when he substituted his goal keeper and brought in his second choice goalie to mock at then Bayern Munich manager Klinsmann. He went on to win the league that season with his Wolfsburg side.
Last season, he came close to winning the title with Schalke as well and the crucial match that happened to be the title decider in the last days of Bundesliga season came against Bayern Munich but that time Louis van Gaal kept his cool on tactics to grind out the win and high-flying Kevin Kuranyi couldn’t save Schalke as they were defeated 2-1.
This time, last week, Bayern made a visit to Veltins Arena to test the might of Magath again. Bayern Munich came in to the match with a reputation of “resurgent squad” for the title’s ambitions—awful unbeaten run to beat the drum on as well—and Schalke were still licking on wounds they succumbed when they were beaten by Kaiserslautern 5-0.
As stated before, regardless of what form suggests, Magath is always cruel towards Bayern Munich. Cruelty was all there to see as his side defended and thwarted all the attacks that Bayern mustered throughout the first half against them. Neuer was playing all the cards for Schalke and impressed the hierarchy of Munich with his resolute performance.
It took only one goal to tame the lions from Munich and another in wake of ten minutes from the first goal to simply floor them. Goals came from Manuel Jurado and Höwedes. With just 70 minutes of game played, the dust looked settled.
Match Result: Schalke 2-0 Bayern
Scorer(s): Jurado, Höwedes
VFL Wolfsburg vs. Werder Bremen
Here comes the match of the week! Awful, disgusting, loopy, brilliant, or entertaining—you choose!
We all know that Wolfsburg is a team which has two sides… they showed none in this match to be frank. It started with usual suspect Diego dictating all the play for Wolfsburg with his sublime vision and defense splitters but to no avail. On other side, Aaron Hunt was doing the same for Werder.
The match went end-to-end but neither side looked in a mood to hit the back of the net. Even nature had the mercy and gave both teams a penalty each but they made it sure to keep the match personal and returned the outside favors of nature with sheer ignorance. Frings and Dzeko were the guys who missed the penalties if you are wondering. The night was awful for Dzeko and he made it clear to show his disgust at how things went on when he was subbed off by Steve McClaren. He didn’t shake the hands with his manager and went straight in to the tunnel.
Werder Bremen have been stitching up the wounds they have suffered so far and it was their second successive clean-sheet in league—sort of things you look for when you are really wondering about end of the days.
Match Result: Wolfsburg 0-0 Werder
Bayer Leverkusen 04 vs. FC Köln
Another fixture of Rhein derbies, and it provided all the spectacular viewing that the fans look for on Sundays. Not only Billy Goats played well but looked like a proper football team unlike what they have shown in last month. Being in relegation zone already puts lot of pressure but Köln look to set off the burden they have been carrying for awhile although in this match all they could get was nothing but their performance makes me write that it was better If they got a draw.
Helmes opened the scoring for Leverkusen in 20th minute of the match but Köln made a comeback just after five minutes when Köln centre-back Geromel equalized via Podolski’s free-kick. The first half looked balance on both sides and ended with score on level but with the start of second half Leverkusen straightened their attacking spine and rightfully took the lead again via Barnetta’s goal. On to an hour mark to the match, Leverkusen defender Reinartz made it 3-1 when he scored from a corner. Stefan Reinartz has been solid for Leverkusen since the start of the season and justified his performances by grabbing this goal nearing to Christmas.
Lukasz Podolski was pulling all the strings for Köln as he was at heart of Billy Goats’ every attack. Second half Köln substitute Lanig—second after coming on the pitch—picked up an assist by Podolski and made it 3-2 to spice up the match. Lanig came close again to level the terms but failed to do so when he couldn’t utilize the cross provided by Ehret. The match ended in 3-2 and Leverkusen bagged another crucial win.
Match Result: Leverkusen 3-2 FC Köln
Scorer(s): Helmes, Barnetta, Reinartz—Geromel, Lanig
FC Nürnberg vs. Borussia Dortmund
Much has been said about Borussia Dortmund already here so will keep the things straight and simple this time. Borussia Dortmund won this match with 2-0 score-line courtesy of Mats Hummels and Lewandowski against a side which has been pretty awful for awhile.
Borussia Dortmund will go in to winter break as “Winter Champions”. They have +27 goal difference with a freak run of 15 matches that has 1 loss, 1 draw, and 13 wins. Enough said!
Match Result: Nürnberg 0-2 Dortmund
Scorer(s): Hummels, Lewandowski