Bundesliga – Week 22 Wrap

14 Feb

FC Bayern München 4-0 1899 Hoffenheim

Bayern, with Robben and Ribery finally together in the starting line-up, strolled to a seventh straight home win over Hoffenheim at the Allianz arena.

Mario Gomez gave the home side the lead within eighty seconds with his 17th of the season after good work from Thomas Müller. And it was Müller himself who doubled Bayern’s advantage after 15 minutes. His tidy finish after good work from Ribery led to a period of play where Bayern invited 1899 onto them and almost paid for it when Salihovic dragged his shot wide.

After the break, it was all about one man. Arjen Robben. In the 63rd minute, the flying Dutchman, in trademark style, cut in from the right, leaving many a defender in his wake before finally pulling the trigger in clinical style. Late on, with the game seemingly done, ‘Robbery’ combined with Ribery finding Robben who curled in a wonderful fourth for Bayern past the helpless Starke.

FC Schalke 04 1-0 SC Freiburg

Jefferson Farfan’s early second-half goal moved recently goal-shy Schalke into 10th, and ended Freiburg’s seven-game unbeaten run.

Raul, guilty of missing two second half chances, fed Farfan who blasted into the far corner to give Schalke the lead. The home side then went close to a second when Mario Gavranovic blasted a shot against the post.

Freiburg rarely threatened and only had one shot on target throughout, giving the hosts a comfortable victory.

VfB Stuttgart 1-4  1. FC Nürnberg

Nurnberg made it three wins on the bounce as they mounted pressure on Bruno Labbadia’s Stuttgart.

After Timmy Simons struck early following a mistake by home left-back Molinaro, Julian Schieber’s header doubled the away side’s lead after 28 minutes. Patrick Funk’s deflected strike pulled one back in first half injury-time but Timothy Chandler and Mehmet Ekici extended Nurnberg’s lead to give them an easy win at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.

Elson hit the post for Stuttgart in the 65th minute, but from that point on, Nurnberg saw the game out with ease.

VfL Wolfsburg 0-1 Hamburger SV

Pierre Littbarski made a losing start to his Wolfsburg tenure at home to Hamburg on Saturday.  It was a third straight defeat for VfL who are now precariously close to the relegation play-off spot. HSV, meanwhile, continue their upward trend after Mladen Petric’s 33rd minute penalty moved them up to 7th with the derby to come on Wednesday. Tuncay, Jan Polak and Patrick Helmes all made home debuts but Frank Rost was largely untroubled in a lacklustre affair.

Eintracht Frankfurt 0-3 Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Leverkusen maintained their grip on second place and closed the gap on leaders Dortmund to 10 points thanks to a convincing win away at hapless Frankfurt, who continued their poor form this calendar year with a 3rd successive home defeat.

Simon Rolfes opened the scoring for Leverkusen, latching on to Sami Hyypiä’s flick from Arturo Vidal’s pinpoint freekick to bundle in from close range on 9 minutes. The home side offered little in the way of a response and Renato Augusto doubled the visitors’ lead after half an hour with a low drive into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Whilst the hosts did improve after the break, they never really looked like getting back into the game and with 6 minutes remaining, Hanno Balitsch wrapped up an easy win for Leverkusen, who recorded their 8th win in 11 league away games this season.

Unfortunately for Leverkusen, however, is that Michael Ballack has aggravated an old knee injury and could be out for a week, despite being left on the bench at Frankfurt.

FC St Pauli 3-1 Borussia M’Gladbach

St Pauli recovered from going behind early to claim only a 4th home win in 12 home games, seeing off ‘Gladbach 3-1 in a game which both left them rooted to the foot of the table and cost Michael Frontzeck his job. 

It was a mixed afternoon for Igor de Camargo, being the hero as his early goal – the result of a horrible defensive backpass by Moritz Voltz – put ‘Gladbach ahead and seemingly in control of the game. 12 minutes later, though, he made himself the villain of the piece, reacting badly to a strong challenge from Matthias Lehmann by appearing to headbutt the same player in full view of the referee and getting a red card for his troubles. Whether there was enough contact to warrant the rolling around from Lehmann is debateable, and at second glance the red card did seem harsh, but Camargo really should not have given the referee a decision to make as his angry reaction and charge at Lehmann was completely unnecessary.

After that, there was only ever going to be one winner and St Pauli fully made their numerical advantage pay by completely bossing the rest of the game. 37 minutes into the game, a precise pass from the lively Gerald Asamoah found its way to Max Kruse on the edge of the ‘Gladbach area, and he finished with aplomb, a beautiful right-foot volley across goal from 12 yards wrong-footing Heimeroth and finding the far corner. Though they went in level at 1-1 at half-time, you felt it was only a matter of when, and not if, St Pauli would score again.

The goal which effectively ended the tie as a contest came 15 minutes into the second half. A nice move again involving Gerald Asamoah culminated in Pauli going ahead for the first time in the match. His pass to Bartels was dinked beautifully first time into the box, eluding the ‘Gladbach defence long enough for Charles Takyi to control the ball and slide it across the 6 yard box to Asamoah, who got the goal his play had deserved, sliding in from close range.

If that goal killed the game, the icing was put firmly on the cake just five minutes later when the heavily involved Matthias Lehmann found himself all alone after he had been picked out by Max Kruse’s raking cross-field pass, and after controlling with his chest he made no mistake, slamming the ball home from inside the box and giving St Pauli their 3rd of the afternoon.

The only saving grace for ‘Gladbach is that they managed to make it out of the game without conceding again, as it could quite conceivably have been 5 or 6 but for some wasteful finishing from the cult favourites. They continued to drive forward and it was only heroics from Heimeroth which kept them at bay as they tried in vain to boost their goal difference.

For St Pauli, this result was massive. Not only does it leave them in 12th place ahead of the big derby on Wednesday night, it also eases their relegation fears and shows that they have added a lethal goalscoring side to their game. 10 of their 26 goals this season have been scored in their last 4 games, with 8 points and no defeats in the process. They are definitely headed in the right direction, and if they can maintain this form, the only way is up for them.

‘Gladbach, on the other hand, look doomed. Managerless, 7 points off of even the relegation playoff, comfortably the worst goal difference in the Bundesliga and the only side in the division without a home win all season, it really is difficult to see any positives for them. What is for certain is that the next few days are crucial for them in their fight for survival; the appointment of a new manager needs to galvanise them and give them some impetus, otherwise the 2. Bundesliga is not far off.

1. FC Kaiserslautern 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

Bundesliga leaders Dortmund had to make do with a second successive league draw, being held 1-1 away at a determined Kaiserslautern side.

Lucas Barrios and Christian Tiffert traded long-range strikes off the woodwork, the latter seeing a 30-yard thunderbolt crash back off the underside of the bar, but good chances were hard to come by after that.

It was not until the final 10 minutes of this one that it really burst into life. First, Sven Bender put the disappointment of missing out on a Germany debut behind him as he found the back of the net to give Dortmund the lead after 81 minutes – a scrappy goal which defied Dortmund’s beauty this campaign. 4 minutes later, joy turned to despair as Neven Subotic was sent off after picking up a second yellow card for a foul on Srjdan Lakic. The misery was compounded when, with 90 minutes played, Jan Moravek controlled a half-cleared FCK corner on the edge of the Dortmund box and crashed an unstoppable half-volley high into Weidenfeller’s goal.

1. FC Köln 4-2  1. FSV Mainz 05 

Two goals apiece from Lukas Podolski and Milivoje Novakovic helped Köln to build on last week’s stunning comeback against Bayern with a crucial 3 points lifting them up to 13th in the table, whilst Mainz drop to 4th after being leapfrogged by Bayern.

Podolski opened the scoring after just 3 minutes, his 35-yard freekick evading everybody and curling into the far corner. Despite a promising start, Köln couldn’t add a second and they were punished when a misplaced defensive header fell to André Schürrle, who squared the ball for Sami Allagui to tap home his first goal in 7 games. Another set-piece undid Mainz before the break, though, and Novakovic was on hand to head home from close-range after Martin Lanig’s header was beaten away.

Podolski’s 9th goal of the season on 54 minutes put Köln 3-1 up before a great individual goal by Novakovic – his 9th of the season and 5th goal this week – put Köln in complete and deserved control of the game. Although Sliskovic grabbed an 89th minute consolation for Mainz, it was a rare but dominant performance from Köln and a thoroughly deserved 3 points.

SV Werder Bremen 1-1 Hannover 96

Sunday evening saw Thomas Schaaf take charge of his 400th Bremen game, but his side could not mark the occasion with a win and they now lie just a point above the relegation playoff spot.

A bright start by the hosts was not rewarded with a goal, and when Prödl had a header cleared off of the line for them, it was inevitable that Bremen would go 1 behind. Didier Ya Konan scored his 11th goal of the season for the visitors – aiming to go 3rd at the expense of Bayern with a win – massively against the run of play by beating some very poor Bremen defending and finishing well.

Almost immediately after half time, the giant Mertesacker nodded an equaliser for Bremen following a deflected Hunt freekick, however there was little else in the way of clear-cut chances for the rest of an evenly balanced tie and it finished 1-1, a result which does little to help either side, especially Bremen.

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