The Talking Points – Week 27

20 Mar

‘Gladbach gone?

Logan Bailly’s ill-timed punch in treacherous conditions gave Kaiserslautern all three points as Lucien Favre’s side slipped to their 9th and perhaps most catastrophic home defeat of the season. With 6 of their 7 remaining games against top half sides (the other is at home to Köln), avoiding a return to the 2nd tier after three seasons is fast approaching an impossibility for die Fohlen.

Relegation Rivals

Before the weekend began, I blogged a report on the possible permutations of the three crunch clashes that were to take place in week 27. On Friday night, Kaiserslautern were the first of the bottom 7 to reach 31 points. That put pressure on Werder Bremen (who surprisingly went on to win 3-1 at form side Nürnberg on Saturday), and of course added fire to Eintracht Frankfurt – St. Pauli and Stuttgart – Wolfsburg. 

As it happened, Eintracht won for the first time this year and St. Pauli slipped to their 5th successive defeat. Then on Sunday, Georg Niedermeier’s brilliant control and finish in the 94th minute gave Stuttgart a precious point and spoilt Felix Magath’s Wolfsburg return.

That all meant that with ‘Gladbach adrift at the bottom, Wolfsburg lie 17th with 27 pts, with St. Pauli in the play-off spot on 28. Niedermeier’s crucial goal meant that Stuttgart only slip to a neck-moistening 15th with Eintracht and Kaiserslautern the big winners on 31 pts apiece.

Interfering with play?

Last week, Eintracht Frankfurt finally scored in quite bizarre circumstances when Tzavellas’ long ball forward evaded everybody and everything but the Schalke net. This week, they may again be deemed fortunate to have broken their home duck.

The incident occurred in the 33rd minute when the ball was flicked on into the St. Pauli area. Alexander Meier, returning from an offside position (a good couple of yards too), practically shielded the ball for Theofanis Gekas who got goal-side of Dennis Daube and was subsequently ‘hauled’ down.

Let’s be honest… the ball went so close to Alexander Meier’s chest that it may well have brushed his red and black shirt. He must’ve been interfering because his run actually stopped Daube from reaching the ball. Unfortunately for Pauli, the referee, Günter Perl, somehow interpreted otherwise and booked the impeding Daube.

Make your own mind up here: 0:43 – 1.14

Ze Recordo

Ze Roberto had a good day on Saturday. Not only did he score and his side comfortably gave Michael Oenning the perfect start (along with repairing some of the damage done at the Allianz the week before,) he joined Sergej Barbarez on 330 Bundesliga appearances – the most for any foreign player.

After making his debut for Bayer Leverkusen in 1998, the defensive midfielder had two spells with Bayern Munich before his move to Hamburg in 2009. The 36 year old has been slightly more successful than his Yugoslavian counterpart, with 4 Bundesliga titles, all during his time at Bayern Munich.

Nuri Sahin’s penalties

Not quite sure how Christian Wetklo remained on the pitch after his Harald Schumacher-esque (okay, so it wasn’t that bad) assault on Lucas Barrios, but he did. And then, to add to Jürgen Klopp’s rage, he saved Nuri Sahin’s penalty meaning the young Turk has now been unsuccessful for the third spotkick running. It proved costly aswell, with Petar Sliskovic netting a very late equaliser for travelling Mainz, and then Leverkusen closing what could, at one stage, have been a 12 point gap, to a relatively measly 7 point margin with victory over die Schwatzgelb’s rivals, Schalke.

By James Challinor @JaChallinor @DieBundesligaUK

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