As the old saying goes; “All good things must come to an end!” and heart-breaking end it was for FSV Mainz fairytale start of Bundesliga which now will go down in Bundesliga history books as one of “invincible” starts of the league, i.e. seven wins out of seven games, which they share with mighty Bayern Munich (1995) and fallen Kaiserslautern (1997).
Another adage glitters in mind; “Everyone deserves a fresh start!” and this fits well to Mario Gomez who finally ended his awful goal-drought spell with a hat-trick on Saturday. Dortmund really have triggered a well directed and grasping start of the league due to which they now sit on pole position in league standings while match of the week was played between Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen which was a five-goals cracker.
Werder Bremen have officially started their season in recent time as their old guard players are returning from injuries one by one and their return have played significant role of getting positive results on the pitch immediately.
Let’s have a look at how it went on in Bundesliga this weekend.
FC Cologne vs. Borussia Dortmund
Bundesliga commuted again last Friday after Euro qualifiers break and the two teams were ideally set for instantly reigniting the club football tempo. The teams started bombarding the shots at the goal from the very beginning but Dortmund looked more confident. If Barrios and Kagawa were missing early chances to put BVB09 ahead at one side then on the other side Podolski was shaving the wood-work with his shot. 16 minutes into the game and it was Barrios who hit the post this time. It was just a matter of time that spectators were going to see a goal from either side and it was Dortmund that emerged as goal-openers of the match when Kuba (Jakub Blazczykowski) slotted in.
After that, Goalies of both teams started to have busy night in minding their net. Weidenfeller blocked many shots from Cologne players while Varvodic parried many too to contain Dortmund on 0-1 for most of the match. It was Lukas Podolski who collected a lose ball on the edge of the box and fired a thunderous shot to make it 1-1 for FC Cologne.
This time Weidenfeller stood no chance to block a superb shot like that. Spectators all looked set to accept a draw as the outcome of the match but a controversy ignited between Lukas Podolski and Nuri Sahin when Podolski mistimed a tackle on Sahin from behind which resulted in some heated altercation between two players. The viewers had a “tongue-in-cheek” moment when Podolski made a sign by holding up three fingers and making a zero with his thumb and point-finger to remind Sahin of their Euro clash which Germany won 3-0 over Turkey just a week ago.
Podolski will be repenting that gesture as this enraged Sahin to go berserk in moments from final whistle and converted a chance in to goal to make it 1-2. After scoring goal, Sahin ran half-length of the pitch towards Podolski and celebrated his goal by sliding in front of Podolski with a finger in air. Justice served!
Result: FC Cologne 1-2 Borussia Dortmund
Scorer(s): Podolski – Kuba, Sahin
Dismal start to the season, rise of some “odd” teams around resulting in more competitive league, losing star players mostly Dutch off international matches, and morale hit squad mixed with Louis van Gaal’s stubbornness were pointing to one thing that this was going to be another disappointing week for Bayern Munich. Add to that; a complete mixed-up line-up with Anatoliy Tymoshchuk in make-shift centre-half role who is primarily a defensive midfielder, absence of Schweinsteiger, and Mario Gomez al alone up front off the start were not the signs that Munich fans were looking for prior to the match.
But it was Mario Gomez who made the day for himself and the supporters! No, I am not talking about the Chilean miner but our own, once “deserted” Mario Gomez who plays in Bayern Munich and was a rising star in Stuttgart days. He scored a hat-trick and dedicated it to the very name-sake Mario Gomez, the Chilean miner. Nothing much to say about this match, in fact, I don’t want to say much about the match but we have our man of moment Mario Gomez who seems to have regained the confidence.
I would soon be writing a new series beginning with Mario Gomez and will try to elaborate the talk on him so watch this space! For now, enjoy the “goal-scorers” of this match.
Result: Bayern Munich 3-0 Hannover
Scorer(s): Gomez, Gomez, Gomez
Mainz vs. Hamburger SV
This match had so much importance around it that if Mainz won it then they would be “legend”. They are legend and their breath-taking start of the season has been a well-documented subject. However, Hamburger SV proved to be “legend killer” as they marched on for a narrow 1-0 win and the 100% start for Mainz finally ended after seven straight wins in which they managed to beat the likes of Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich and the run of wins had it moments of sheer genius by some of the emerging players in Mainz side particularly Szalai and Holtby.
It was Bundesliga veteran Ze Roberto who was pulling all the strings in the match and was a stand-out from the rest. Ruud van Nistelrooy had been unjustly denied a goal but Mainz dominated the most of the match and they were far better side. In fact, the match was lacking real quality but it looked like a draw at the end of the day. Ze Roberto had some other plans though. He set in a ball for Guerrero who slotted it into the roof of the net and the fairytale perished for the Mainz.
Ze Roberto really has a class in himself which hasn’t left him at this old age.
Result: Mainz 0-1 HSV
It was intriguing to see that these two teams were in fact battling out the bottom-two end. Disappointing start to the campaign for Schalke and the players lacking-in in motivation at Stuttgart has brought these two teams to shambles. Stuttgart have recently fired their manager Gross and was a debut for their new manager in charge Jens Keller.
The Swabians looked to impress the manager and clinch all three points for him but Ruhr side proved a stumbling block as they were doing the same i.e. looking for the win. Stuttgart opened the scoring when Gebhart scored in 15 minutes. Fifteen minutes later, Schalke battled back when Jurado sent in a cross which was turned in to net by Edu to make it 1-1. In second half, Swabians took the lead again when Harnik finished off a move in 75th minutes of the game but it was Klaas-Jan Huntelaar who slotted in the penalty at 80th minute of the match to level the game again at 2-2 score-line. The match ended with both teams taking a point out of the match.
Result: Schalke 2-2 Stuttgart
Scorer(s): Edu, Huntelaar – Gebhart, Harnik
FC St. Pauli vs. FC Nurnberg
Self-proclaimed “Punks” FC St. Pauli cemented another win for them. They have won four games so far and the match against Nurnberg looked set as highly entertaining. Fortunately, St. Pauli struck first as they took the lead near the end of the first half when Gerald Asamoah scored after a little mix up in the box. Overall, first half was suffocating due to the tactics applied by the both teams but when the second half commuted then we were watching more flowing football as it opened up the game. Right after three minutes in to second half, Nurnberg leveled the terms as Ekici scored for them.
The tempo of the game suddenly shifted from a slow pace snail to fast passing bullet train when we witnessed two games in the wake of three minutes. First, St. Pauli took the lead through Ebbers’ strike in 60th minute and the visitors leveled again as their captain Andreas Wolf nodded in a cross in to the net with the header in 63rd minute of the game. The match could go either way as both teams were pulling off some impressive moves in final third of the pitch but it was St. Pauli who came out as deserved winner when the substitute Florian Bruns scored the goal in 80th minute of the game.
Result: FC St. Pauli 3-2 FC Nurnberg
Scorer(s): Asamoah, Ebbers, Bruns – Ekici, Wolf
Freiburg has bestowed Bundesliga with a clinical finisher in their ranks Papiss Demba Cisse. Cisse has been a revelation for them as he stands as a top goal scorer of the week with 7 goals from eight matches so far. Not only he works hard for the team but his goal scoring ability has been out-standing as well. However, his brilliance couldn’t save his team this time around as Werder Bremen proved too much of stout opponents for Freiburg.
Werder Bremen have finally started to place the puzzle pieces in right places as they look to build on some wins in coming weeks. Their back-four is still their main problem but the injuries and low-confidence haven’t done any good to the side. They looked set to redeem themselves in this match at home and deservedly they succeeded to carve out a win.
Result: Werder 2-1 Freiburg
Scorer(s): Hunt, Almeida – Schuster
Wolfsburg vs. Bayer Leverkusen
This late match on Saturday was certainly the best of the day in particular and the week as a whole as it has so many things to talk about it.
Volkswagen Arena was all sold out for this much anticipated match and the home crowd provided the bridge for the team to lay the foundations for the win. The win Wolfsburg looked for as they took an early lead through a goal by Diego.
The goal in itself is hard to explain until you watch it as it involves; a goal-keeping blunder, a spectacular off-the-ball movement by a player, defensive frailties in the box, and a cool headed finish. Adler rushed out to hoof the ball but it went straight in to the air and slightly sideways for which Grafite came rushing on to take the advantage which forced Adler to go back to mind the net, Grafite brought the ball to left corner and triggered a low-cross for on-rushing Diego whose off-the-ball movement in those few seconds was genius. He came inside and Leverkusen defenders couldn’t know what just hit them when he slotted the ball in to the net to make it 1-0.
Diego was a constant thorn for Leverkusen as he kept sending in some great passes on way for Grafite and Edin Dzeko all night but they couldn’t avail the opportunities created by him. Leverkusen missed the finishing touch every time they came in to attack on Wolfsburg goal. They had their moments of hitting the cross-bar, just off-wide, narrowly over, and almost finishing in the first half on many occasions.
Second half started and the story was no different as both teams kept attacking on each others’ goal. The “Wolves” forwards kept building the pressure on the back-four of Leverkusen as if their trio of Diego-Grafite-Dzeko was moving all the pieces on chess-board but finding Adler every time who thwarted them back and defended the king.
Grafite enhanced the lead for the home side as he slotted in the cross which looked like a shot by Dzeko to make it 2-0 for Wolfsburg in the 68th minute of the match.
If it wasn’t Adler then Wolfsburg would have buried the match with huge margin.
But then came a man on the pitch who had some other thoughts on his minds. The last season’s long term absentee from a knee-injury Simon Rolfes, scored the first goal of Leverkusen in the match to make it 2-1 in the 72nd minute of the match. His influence and impact was quite instant and all there to see. He rushed in to the box again to find Wolfsburg’s defender Hasebe handling the ball. Arturo Vidal took the spot kick and the match was level at 2-2 for Leverkusen just after the three minute of their first goal.
With eight minutes left on clock, and Rolfes appeared on the goal scoring chart again when he scored for Leverkusen to make it 2-3 and left the home crowd of Wolfsburg stunned with a bitter taste in mouth. It was a great match but Steve McClaren would feel that the end result was harsh a bit but he would understand it and accept it as he was up against Jupp Heynckes and the side was Bayer Leverkusen.
Result: Wolfsburg 2-3 Leverkusen
Scorer(s): Diego, Grafite – Rolfes (2), Vidal
The feisty south-west derby kicked off the Sunday in true meaning and set the tone for the Bundesliga fans. The atmosphere at Betzenberg is always intimidating as you walk in to Lautern’s stadium but one would say that they have lost their swagger of the old days when it used to be a legend in Bundesliga.
Kaiserslautern lost the first chance to make a mark on South-West derby when Lakic failed to score from the penalty spot in 25th minute of the game and it looked like that they couldn’t come back in to the match again from this blow. Frankfurters looked set to claim the bragging rights of South-West when Bundesliga veteran Gekas scored for the visitors just before the end of the first half.
Gekas was on full-fire and he added another for Frankfurt in 67th minute. This was his seventh goal of the campaign which brings him level with Papiss Demba Cisse at the top of the scoring charts. Things couldn’t get any worsened for Kaiserslautern when they gave up another goal from seven minutes remaining in the game and this time it was Meier who made it 0-3 for Frankfurt. The comprehensive victory brings Frankfurt in to the top half of the league table and they sit tight on seventh positing on league standings.
Result: Kaiserslautern 0-3 Frankfurt
Scorer(s): Gekas (2), Meier
Hoffenheim vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
The last match of the week was played between Hoffenheim and Monchengladbach and it proved to be another 3-2 five-goal thriller. This was the third time on weekend that we saw a Bundesliga match ending with 3-2 score-line.
Monchengladbach scored the one and only goal of the first half through Bobadilla striker while Hoffenheim turned the table and equalized in first minute of the second half when Demba Ba scored for them. Things started looking fierce when the both teams decided to attack vehemently on each other’s goal. Many shots hit the cross-bar, and many were saved by the goal-keepers. This fast tempo of the game surely affected the mind of the players as the referee started pulling out cards mostly for the visitors.
The important player of Monchengladbach Arango was sent off with a straight red-card when he kicked out Salihovic resulting in Monchengladbach left with ten-men on the field. After gaining the numerical advantage, Hoffenheim looked to gain the lead and they made it 2-1 when Anderson gifted them with an own goal as he headed in the cross in to the own net off the cross by Salihovic. There was a bit of controversy surrounding this goal as the doubts were thrown on whether if the ball had crossed the line. Replays suggested that the referee made a corrected decision, though.
Embarrassment couldn’t get worse for the visitors when they were down to nine men as Schachten brought down Hoffenheim’s Ba in the penalty box and was given red card for the foul. Salihovic took the spot-kick and scored to make it 3-1 for Hoffenheim. Despite being two-men short, Monchengladbach scored their second goal of the match to make it 3-2 which in fact proved to be the last goal of the game and the week.
Result: Hoffenheim 3-2 Monchengladbach
Scorer(s): Ba, Anderson (o.g), Salihovic – Bobadilla, Idrissou
It was another enthralling weekend of Bundesliga football and we managed to see three 3-2 games. Personally, I was very pleased with Gomez as he scored the hat-trick for Bayern Munich. To be very honest with you, it wasn’t his best of the games and despite that he managed to score three goals for Louis van Gaal and this is not the first time when Gomez is saving van Gaal’s job again. He has done it last season many a times.
Diego, despite some flashes of genius, is an under-rated player in Europe and is one hell of a class play-maker. His passing, his off-the-ball movement, his vision, and his influence get the best out of him in some crucial moments. I was left gutted when Misimovic was let gone off Volkswagen Arena because he proved last season at Wolfsburg that he had all of traits to be a great play-maker in Bundesliga but think that Steve McClaren had some other plans and can see that Diego was part of the plans as well. Still, I am missing Misimovic.
On the other side, Leverkusen pulled out a drop drawer when they made a mighty comeback in to the match and went on to win it at the end. Simon Rolfes carries himself with much dignity and respect and he turns it out in to genius football brain on the pitch.
Happiest fans will be of course in Dortmund as Borussia Dortmund have clinched the top spot for the first time in seven years and they look resolute to give the place up in long run for this year. Reasons are all known as the side is probably the best side after Hitzfeld’s era with some tidy management of Klopp this time around. Nuri Sahin has been their most important player so far and it would be un-justice if you don’t praise his over-all display on the pitch for the team while Shinji Kagawa has proven to be a hidden gem in their ranks. They have a long road to go for sure but they all look set for some unforgettable journey this time around.
It was a great weekend to be honest.