Good week for: Bayern Munich, Timo Werner, David Wagner, Union Berlin, Augsburg, Achim Beierlorzer
Bad week for: Borussia Dortmund, Robert Lewandowski, Rune Jarstein, Lucien Favre, Eintracht Frankfurt
Where else to start but right back at the beginning? The first match of the weekend saw a classic game of two halves as Borussia Dortmund fought back from a 3-0 half-time defecit to rescue a 3-3 draw at home to Paderborn. They probably eschewed the champagne celebrations, however, with Paderborn rock bottom in the table. The visitors would actually have doubled their win tally for the season had they held on. The pressure is piling up on Dortmund coach Lucien Favre, who has reportedly been given one more game to save his job. Good thing their next opponent is Lionel Messi’s Barcelona in the Champions League then.
The Borussia Mönchengladbach party bus hit a large bump in the road in the form of Union Berlin. The Bundesliga leaders fell to a 2-0 defeat in the capital on Saturday, reducing their advantage at the top of the league to just one point. Gladbach didn’t look themselves at all – and not only due to the inexplicable decision to wear blue kits – as chance after chance went begging. Union, meanwhile, move up to 11th and are gradually beginning to look as if they belong at this level.
Augsburg took full advantage of a shambolic Hertha Berlin display to leapfrog their opponents. Philipp Max’s freekick from the right touchline bounced in early on before Rune Jarstein’s heavy touch and subsequent tackle allowed Sergio Cordova to score and ended the keeper’s game. Substitute Andre Hahn added a third after the break before Florian Niederlechner wrapped things up.
Recently sacked by Cologne, Achim Beierlorzer got his Mainz career going with a stunning 10-man win against a team who had been in red hot form. Levin Öztunali kicked things off with an angled drive before Bote Baku was sent off just before the break. An own goal form Pavel Kaderabek, two strikes from Pierre Kunde and a Jean-Paul Boetius goal did the rest despite an Andre Kramaric consolation.
Union Berlin took another scalp at the Alte Försterei, this time beating league leaders Mönchengladbach. The early opener came when Anthony Ujah finished a swift Union counter-attack, and the second arrived two minutes into injury time, when Sebastian Andersson headed in a fortuitous second to seal Union’s third straight league win to send them 11th. Gladbach’s lead is cut to one point.
Emil Forsberg scored twice as RB Leipzig delivered another thumping win at home. Timo Werner’s delightful touch got Leipzig moving and Forsberg’s penalty made it two. Konrad Laimer’s lovely finish notched up a third but Cologne showed signs of life, pulling one back through Rafael Czichos. But Forsberg’s sizzling free-kick completing the thrashing, whioch sent Julian Nagelsmann’s side second.
Bayern took full advantage of their rivals’ slip-ups with a crushing victory in Düsseldorf — but Robert Lewandowski didn’t score for the first time in the league this season. Benjamin Pavard got the slightest touch to set Bayern on the path to victory, Corentin Tolisso added a second, and Serge Gnabry made it three from close range. Philippe Coutinho joined the party to complete the rout.
Schalke picked up an impressive win on the road to keep the pressure on the teams at the top. The Royal Blues took the lead just before half time when Amine Harit found the bottom corner and Schalke went two up when Sebastian Langkamp’s slip let in Benito Raman, who kept his cool to slot the ball through Jiri Pavlenka’s legs. Bremen got one back through Yuya Osako, but it was too little too late.
Bayer Leverkusen and Freiburg had to settle for a draw in a close contest at BayArena. Freiburg took the lead through Lucas Höler’s stooping header in the 5th minute, after Leverkusen’s statuesque defending allowed Höler to reach Christian Günter’s cross. Leverkusen levelled through a stinging low drive from Moussa Diaby, who found the bottom corner with laser-like precision.
Ten-man Wolfsburg pulled off an impressive win in Frankfurt. Wout Weghorst was in the right place at the right time again to pounce for the Wolves, but things threatened to go pear-shaped for Wolfsburg in first half stoppage time when Marcel Tisserand was shown a second yellow card for a flailing elbow. But the ten men doubled their advantage though Joao Felix, after a mistake by Felix Wiedwald.
Borussia Dortmund fought back from 3-0 down to salvage a point in an extraordinary game at Westfalenstadion on Friday. Paderborn, the Bundesliga’s bottom team, raced into a 3-0 lead courtesy of a Streli Mamba double, and a third from Gerrit Holtmann. Dortmund were reborn after the break and mounted a comeback with goals coming from Jadon Sancho, Axel Witsel and, in the 93rd minute, Marco Reus.
The Bundesliga’s other captial city club turned in an absolutely calamitous display on Sunday, losing 4-0 to Augsburg. First Hertha Berlin’s defense watched Philipp Max’s wide free kick bounce in then goalkeepr Rune Jarstein took the heaviest of touches on a regulation backpass, hacked down his opponent and saw Sergio Cordova’s rebound fly in. The keeper’s misery was then compounded when he was sent off for the tackle. Increased investment, a change of coach and the boardroom appointment of Jürgen Klinsmann don’t appear to be doing the trick. Hertha haven’t won in five, trail Union by five points and are only two points clear of the relegation playoff spot. Their next eight fixtures are all against sides currently in the top 10. Time to panic?
Bayern Munich once again reminded the watching world they’re the daddy when it comes to German football. The serial Bundesliga champions had been going through a bit of soul-searching, what with all the recent coaching and boardroom upheaval. But the days of Niko Kovac staring blankly into space as Bayern struggle to break down lesser opposition are over, as evidenced in their 4-0 thumping of Fortuna Düsseldorf on Matchday 12. Bayern seem to be enjoying themselves again and the win moves them to within just one point of the top spot.
Not one of those four goals arrived via the boot or head of Robert Lewandowski, however. The Bayern Munich goal machine failed to score in the league for the first time this season. He’d managed 16 goals in 11 appearances up until matchday 12 but was unable to find the back of Zack Steffen’s net in Düsseldorf. He’s past it!
RB Leipzig: Deutschemeister? Maybe! The team fans love to hate went second after a dominant 4-1 victory over Cologne at the Red Bull Arena, level on points with Bayern but ahead on goal difference. Who knows if that 8-0 thumping of Mainz on matchday 10 will still be the difference between the teams come the end of the season. Either way, this was another excellent display capped off by a stunning freekick from Emil Forsberg. Cologne remain in the relegation zone with a measly seven points from a possible 36.
Timo Werner scores RB Leipzig’s opener
To rub salt in the wound, Achim Beierlorzer, the coach Cologne sacked after their last defeat, pulled off a stunning 5-1 away victory over Hoffenheim with his new club Mainz despite playing the majority of the match with 10 men. That gives the Zerofivers a five point cushion over Cologne. Is there such a thing as being sacked upwards?
— “We have to apologize to everyone in the stadium for the performance. I have no explanation for the first half…We must never perform like that again. That was shameful.”
Not for the first time this season, Marco Reus is the man put up to face the music at Borussia Dortmund.
— “Lucien who still have our faith but one thing is clear: football is defined by results in the end,”
Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke delivers the dreaded vote of confidence to Favre.
— “The home atmosphere is important. This support is great not just for players but for the coach. They stand behind us. They give us confidence. In tight games, they maybe give us more energy.”
Union Berlin coach Urs Fischer on his side’s fortress in the forest.
— “We have to take responsibility for the fact that we didn’t show up for 60 minutes of the game.”
Werder Bremen’s Florian Kohfeldt doesn’t let his struggling players off the hook.
— “It is definitely fun. We have more control than before. We are higher up on the pitch which helps us.”
Manuel Neuer is enjoying life under Hansi Flick
— Timo Werner became the youngest person to reach 200 Bundesliga appearances. The RB Leipzig striker has packed a lot into his 23 years and 262 days, scoring 75 times in Germany’s top flight.
— The 2-0 loss to Union Berlin was the 400th time Borussia Mönchengladbach have failed to score in a Bundesliga match.
There was an impressive choreo at Union Berlin ahead of the visit of league leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach
Plenty happening off the pitch this weekend. As Urs Fischer alluded to, the atmosphere at Union Berlin’s Stadion An der Altern Försterei was electric, with some impressive choreos, while many Cologne’s fans once again boycotted their side’s trip to face RB Leipzig. But there were ugly scenes in Bremen, where a group of 20 to 30 people, some wearing Bremen scarves, stormed a restaurant and attacked a 20-year-old man and his father, who required hospital treatment. Police arrested 23 people.