BUNDESLIGA, Round 17

Half-way mark and the title race seems over as we go into the winterbreak. Still, there are lot’s of other interesting things going on for me to keep blabbing about…

Leaders Bayern München were solid and pressed hard to go into a pleasant holiday. But they had one problem. Gladbach’s GK Marc-André ter Stegen is just another of the fine young German keepers, and he was brilliant in staving off the furious Bayern attack. Great point for the Gladbachers, and I doubt that the Bayern brass are going to lose any sleep over the dropped points.

Leverkusen is…I guess…the official “chaser” of Bayern, which means that the title is Bayern’s, since even if the Aspirins could get close, they would choke and fail. That said, they can’t be too unhappy with how they’ve been playing, and looked very good against Hamburg. The Alka-Seltzers attacked throughout the match, creating lots of chances, and it was only a matter of how-much they would bitch-slap the Hamburgers. HSV players are probably just looking for some nice bikini eye-candy and warm weather to try and forget a rather poor first half.

Excellent win for Frankfurt at Wolfsburg. The VWs kicked themselves in their own ass when Josue got tossed for a dirty foul early. Despite the deficit, the Wolfies tried hard to get back into the match, but Eintracht was solid and kept a solid grip on the match after Meier and Inui had given them the early one-two punch.

Freiburg is one of the surprises this season. They’ve quietly climbed up the table and stunned Schalke. The Blues dominated early on and grabbed the lead, but then completely lost their way. The Freiburgers took advantage of Schalke brain-farts and quickly seized control. Jan Rosenthal led the way with two goals, before getting shown the door for a double yellow. But it was already over, and Huntelaar followed him 60 seconds later anyway. Disgusting Schalke display, at least if you’re a Blues fan. The Breisgauer deservedly win this one and must love looking at the standings…For Schalke, continued disaster, and after the match coach Huub Stevens was apparently canned. Jens Keller, Schalke U17 coach, will become interim coach and try to figure out what to do.

Mainz put in a great performance and beat down in-form Stuttgart. After a ho-hum first half, things heated in the 2nd, and Harnik quickly put the visitors in front. But Mainz has proven to be quite resilient, and Nicolai Müller notched a double that put the Rheinhessen on the road to victory.

Hannover has no one to blame but themselves for the loss at Düsseldorf. Fortuna seemed content to do nothing and let another scoreless draw go across. But the 96ers were so crap they couldn’t even allow that, and managed to give up a goal. The 96ers eventually were able to equalize, but kept dicking around. So Fortuna grabbed their chance, as Danish midfielder Ken Ilsö put in a direct freekick to give the Düsseldorfers additional cushion above the drop zone…probably enough to keep them up.

Greuther Fürth and Augsburg met in a Bavarian cellar-duel. And as befitting of the main relegation candidates, there wasn’t much skill on display, but there was lots of running around. The visitors had the edge in the initial phase, and deservedly led. The Greuther improved after the restart and equalized, but the offensive lameness was evident – so clearly they weren’t going to win this. Both squads are not strong enough, and look at the tie-breaker: exact same W-D-L, even on points, goal difference…Augsburg gets the edge because they’ve score one more goal…

UPDATE:

Dortmund had few problems bringing home the bacon against Hoffenheim. The Hoppers looked better than usual, especially defensively, but the Neons basically overpowered them. The 1st half saw Dortmund control the match, but the hosts looked decent in defense and were able to relieve the pressure with counters. The 2nd half was more of the same, but the champion’s control seemed to increase as time rolled, and after they took the lead, it was basically over. When Lewandowski put Dortmund up two, the Neons basically shut down and ran out the clock, Hoffenheim having nothing to threaten them with.

Wild finish in Bremen, as Werder and Nürnberg split the points. The hosts totally dominated the match, but were being driven to desperation by FCN GK Rafael Schäfer, who was in superb form. Constant Bremen attacks, but the Greens either blew their chance or had it snuffed out by Schäfer. Then near the end, a Club counter, and all of a sudden the visitors looked to be unlikely winners. But Werder threw everything including the kitchen sink and was finally able to get a goal. A somewhat lucky point for Nürnberg, but I’m sure they’re not complaining.

Total attendance: 350,690 (avg 38,966), two sellouts

 	
Bayern München	       -   Borussia M'gladbach	 1:1 (0:1)   71,000 *

                      0:1  Marx (21., penalty)
                      1:1  Shaqiri (59.)

Bayer Leverkusen       -   Hamburger SV	         3:0 (2:0)   29,489

                      1:0  Kießling (26., Castro)
                      2:0  Schürrle (36., Kießling)
                      3:0  Kießling (66., Leno)


VfL Wolfsburg	       -   Eintracht Frankfurt	 0:2 (0:2)   26,452

                      0:1  Meier (12., Schwegler)
                      0:2  Inui (18., Aigner)

1. FSV Mainz 05	       -   VfB Stuttgart	 3:1 (0:0)   31,376

                      0:1  Harnik (48., Traoré)
                      1:1  N. Müller (55., Pospech)
                      2:1  N. Müller (71., Szalai)
                      3:1  Soto (90. + 2, Polanski)

SpVgg Greuther Fürth   -   FC Augsburg	         1:1 (0:1)   16,340

                      0:1  Mölders (9., Werner)
                      1:1  Sobiech (69., Stieber)

Fortuna Düsseldorf     -   Hannover 96	         2:1 (1:0)   47,263

                      1:0  Schahin (39., Balogun)
                      1:1  M. Diouf (69., Schmiedebach)
                      2:1  Ilsö (83.)

FC Schalke 04	       -   SC Freiburg	         1:3 (1:2)   60,620

                      1:0  Farfan (20., Holtby)
                      1:1  Rosenthal (26., M. Kruse)
                      1:2  Schmid (32., M. Kruse)
                      1:3  Rosenthal (61., D. Caligiuri)


Sunday:

1899 Hoffenheim	       -   Borussia Dortmund     1:3 (1:1)   30,150 *

                      0:1  M. Götze (26., Leitner)
                      1:1  Schipplock (35., Volland)
                      1:2  Großkreutz (58., Reus)
                      1:3  Lewandowski (66., Gündogan)

Werder Bremen	       -   1. FC Nürnberg        1:1 (0:0)   38,000

                      0:1  Gebhart (82., Pinola)
                      1:1  Petersen (88., de Bruyne)

	


 1  Bayern München	  	17   13   3   1     44:7   +37 	  42 
 2  Bayer Leverkusen	  	17   10   3   4     33:22  +11 	  33 
 3  Borussia Dortmund (M, P)	17    8   6   3     35:20  +15 	  30
 4  Eintracht Frankfurt (N)	17    9   3   5     33:27  +6 	  30
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 5  SC Freiburg	  	        17    7   5   5     24:18  +6 	  26 
 6  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	17    8   2   7     24:21  +3 	  26
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 7  FC Schalke 04	  	17    7   4   6     27:25  +2 	  25 
 8  Borussia M'gladbach	  	17    6   7   4     25:26  -1 	  25 
 9  VfB Stuttgart	  	17    7   4   6     21:28  -7 	  25 
10  Hamburger SV	  	17    7   3   7     18:21  -3 	  24 
11  Hannover 96	  	        17    7   2   8     32:31  +1 	  23 
12  Werder Bremen	  	17    6   4   7     28:29  -1 	  22 
13  Fortuna Düsseldorf (N)	17    5   6   6     20:22  -2 	  21 
14  1. FC Nürnberg	  	17    5   5   7     17:22  -5 	  20 
15  VfL Wolfsburg	  	17    5   4   8     17:27  -10 	  19
--------------------------------------------------------------------
16  1899 Hoffenheim	  	17    3   3   11    23:41  -18 	  12
--------------------------------------------------------------------
17  FC Augsburg	  	        17    1   6   10    12:29  -17 	  9 
18  SpVgg Greuther Fürth (N)	17    1   6   10    11:28  -17 	  9


M = Meister, defending Champion
P = Pokal, defending Cup winner
N = Neuling, newly promoted

1st line: Champions League
2nd line: Europaliga (+ Cup winner)
3rd line: Playoff with 2.Liga 3rd place
4th line: Relegation to 2.Liga

5 thoughts on “BUNDESLIGA, Round 17

  1. I’m not giving up on the idea that there might be a challenger in the new year, but it is looking less and less likely. Still, love the closeness of the competition compared to La Liga and EPL. Good to see the smaller teams in Freiburg and Mainz making an impact too. Next …. Pokalrunde!

    • It would have to be the mother of all comebacks at this point and I don’t see anyone except Dortmund being even remotely capable of it. Essentially, Dortmund (or Leverkusen :-) would have to get close to full points from the Rueckrunde and hope that Bayern will have a crisis, at least a temporary one.

      Re: the “closeness of the competition”: it kind of contradicts what we just stated doesn’t it. In fact, both EPL and La Liga have tighter races right now. I also think that the much-praised competitiveness of the Bundesliga is something than only Bayern fans can comfortably live with. Any team in any league would love to take every other league title and still call the thing a competition.

      • Mike, sure, agree that the Bayern lead is difficult to surmount. The “closeness” of the competition I was referring to is the balance of the teams. Only a few points between 2nd and 4th and then only a couple of games between 5th and 15th. The spread in the other leagues is greater.

        • Of course, I completely agree with you, at least regarding the Bundesliga’s “2nd power”. It’s very much distributed and to a large extent up for grabs. We’ve had Stuttgart, Bremen, Dortmund, Wolfsburg in just the last decade. We’ve had Kaiserslautern, who were able to do what I think is unheard of in any top European league: win the league right after being promoted. Dortmund, who are now riding high, were pretty recently struggling with relegation. All it took, was a good coach, apparently…

          There is one big caveat and it’s called Bayern Munich. Too many Bundesliga boosters on forums less informed than this disregard the fact that, in Bundesliga times, Bayern has won the league roughly every other year. Personally, I don’t call that competitive, but the word is vague and needs definition. If you devised a formula for determining “competitiveness”, you’d have weights attached and all kinds of other arbitrary decisions, so we’re back to square one. I love to discuss this topic, but I don’t think there is a definitive answer, unless you agree on certain things (which will never happen for a larger group).

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