BUNDESLIGA, Round 18: Restart

The Bundesliga is back! The top flight restarts earlier than the other leagues, since the stadiums usually have good undersoil heating. No real surprises, although Dortmund’s rout of Bremen could perhaps raise some eyebrows. The title is firmly in Bayern’s pocket, but there are lots of interesting races going on.

And things started off with a crazy match in Gelsenkirchen, as Schalke and Hannover forgot how to even spell the word “defense” (Well, to be fair, I suppose “Verteidigung” is a bit more difficult). Jens Keller made his debut as Schalke boss, and he can’t be too happy about his back line, which was known to be suspect as the Blues have fallen off the rails. But he should be encouraged by his attack, especially since Huntelaar was suspended and they still lit it up. After a somewhat normal first half, both clubs looked like they were playing a training match and goals began falling like rain. Interesting that Hannover, which was known as a tight defensive club now has the 2nd worst defense (only Hopp-en-heim is worse). On the other hand, with 36 goals, they’ve got the 3rd offense after Bayern and Dortmund.

Leaders Bayern had no trouble with Greuther Fürth, who basically hunkered down and tried to avoid a massacre. Bayern pressured, but without much urgency, since they knew that they would get the goals sooner or later. Somewhat of a surprise that it was only a double from Mandzukic, who continues to hold down the starter role over Mario Gomez. Obviously the Greithers were going to get nothing from this match, and are probably just happy they didn’t get slaughtered.

Leverkusen put in a good performance, but it wasn’t easy against Frankfurt. The guests missed a good chance to take the lead, but the Aspirins weren’t as wasteful and had the lead. The main thing this game will be remembered for is that the ref stopped the match and sent the players into the lockerroom, as Frankfurt fans fired rockets onto the pitch. Overall, probably a fair result, as although the guests tried hard to fight back, it was actually some good saves by their GK Kevin Trapp that prevented more Bayer goals.

Dortmund looks ready for a strong second half. The Neons were brilliant as they ripped Bremen’s ass. Werder actually didn’t play horribly, and tried pretty hard, but were clearly missing Arnautovic up front. Meanwhile BVB was ruthlessly efficient and seized control from the start. They’re too far behind from Bayern to realistically challenge, but they look to cut the gap significantly. Nuri Sahin came on late to applause from the visiting Dortmunders.

Wolfsburg and Stuttgart didn’t offer much, as they were bottled up in the cold weather. New VW coach Dieter Hecking had to happy though with a decent defensive effort, since the Wolfies usually are more like a sieve. Playmaker Diego was the difference, deciding the match with a long shot and an assist.

Marco Kurz was probably one of the few satisfied customers in the Rhein-Neckar. Hoffenheim had dropped six in a row, so a null sheet is an improvement for the Hoppers new coach. Gladbach showed little, apparently the players wanted a longer vacation.

Mainz and Freiburg are surprises from the first round, but showed little to justify their standings. Both teams did run around a lot, and in the end created some decent chances. Overall Mainz probably felt they should have won, and complained about the ref denying them a late penalty.

SUNDAY MATCHES:

A somewhat ho-match in Nürnberg, as coach Michael Wiesinger makes his debut for der Club. HSV was content to let the hosts control the 1st half, and indeed Nürnberg probably should have had the lead, but they blew a couple of good chances. In the 2nd period, Hamburg switched up and seized control, and eventually took the lead. But they quickly fell apart and conceded a quick equalizer. Despite continued pressure down the end stretch, FCN was unable to get the winner, so overall they might be a bit disappointed.

Augsburg got their first away win, but was made to suffer. FCA was in control for the whole match against Düsseldorf. Fortuna was completely lame, and when the guests went up 3-0 with less than 20 minutes, it was all over. But the Fuggers apparently don’t like riches. Instead, Riesinger led a desperate charge for Düsseldorf, scoring twice to make it a wild scramble at the death. In fact, Reisinger scored a third right at the whistle, but the ref called it off for an alleged foul. However, in all fairness, it would have been hard on Augsburg to surrender the victory. This at least gives them some hope of wrestling the relegation playoff spot from Hoffenheim, as it appears direct salvation is too tall an order. Fortuna can only blame themselves for 70+ minutes of sloppy play.

 	
FC Schalke 04	      -   Hannover 96	          5:4 (1:0)   60,811

                     1:0  Farfan (44.)
                     2:0  Draxler (49., Holtby)
                     2:1  da Silva Pinto (55.)
                     2:2  Huszti (59., Chahed)
                     3:2  Höger (64., Holtby)
                     4:2  Marica (67., Neustädter)
                     4:3  Huszti (68., M. Diouf)
                     5:3  Holtby (88., Farfan)
                     5:4  M. Diouf (90. + 2, Eggimann)

Bayern München	      -   SpVgg Greuther Fürth	  2:0 (1:0)   71,000 *

                     1:0  Mandzukic (26., T. Müller)
                     2:0  Mandzukic (61., Kroos)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen   -   Eintracht Frankfurt	  3:1 (2:0)   28,767

                     1:0  Boenisch (31.)
                     2:0  Kießling (33., Castro)
                     3:0  Schürrle (58., Kießling)
                     3:1  Meier (78.)

VfL Wolfsburg	      -   VfB Stuttgart	          2:0 (0:0)   24,125

                     1:0  Diego (51. )
                     2:0  Madlung (67., Diego)

1899 Hoffenheim	      -   Borussia M'gladbach	  0:0 (0:0)   26,750

1. FSV Mainz 05	      -   SC Freiburg	          0:0 (0:0)   28,000

Werder Bremen	      -   Borussia Dortmund	  0:5 (0:2)   42,100 *

                     0:1  Reus (9.)
                     0:2  M. Götze (19., Großkreutz)
                     0:3  Felipe Santana (48., Reus)
                     0:4  Lewandowski (81., Piszczek)
                     0:5  Blaszczykowski (85., Piszczek)


Sunday:

1. FC Nürnberg	      -   Hamburger SV	          1:1 (0:0)   42,601

                     0:1  Rudnevs (70., Aogo)
                     1:1  Pekhart (75., Gebhart)

Fortuna Düsseldorf    -   FC Augsburg             2:3 (0:2)   40,623

                     0:1  Mölders (40., Baier)
                     0:2  Koo (45., Werner)
                     0:3  Mölders (71., Gesäß)
                     1:3  Reisinger (73., Kruse)
                     2:3  Reisinger (90. + 1, O. Fink)


 1  Bayern München	  	18   14   3   1     46:7   +39 	  45 
 2  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	18   11   3   4     36:23  +13 	  36 
 3  Borussia Dortmund (M, P)	18    9   6   3     40:20  +20 	  33
 4  Eintracht Frankfurt (N)	18    9   3   6     34:30  +4 	  30
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 5  FC Schalke 04	  	18    8   4   6     32:29  +3 	  28 
 6  SC Freiburg	  	        18    7   6   5     24:18  +6 	  27
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 7  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	18    8   3   7     24:21  +3 	  27 
 8  Borussia M'gladbach	  	18    6   8   4     25:26  -1 	  26 
 9  Hamburger SV	  	18    7   4   7     19:22  -3 	  25 
10  VfB Stuttgart	  	18    7   4   7     21:30  -9 	  25 
11  Hannover 96	  	        18    7   2   9     36:36   0 	  23 
12  Werder Bremen	  	18    6   4   8     28:34  -6 	  22 
13  VfL Wolfsburg	  	18    6   4   8     19:27  -8 	  22 
14  Fortuna Düsseldorf (N)	18    5   6   7     22:25  -3 	  21 
15  1. FC Nürnberg	  	18    5   6   7     18:23  -5 	  21
--------------------------------------------------------------------
16  1899 Hoffenheim	  	18    3   4  11     23:41  -18 	  13
--------------------------------------------------------------------
17  FC Augsburg	  	        18    2   6  10     15:31  -16 	  12 
18  SpVgg Greuther Fürth (N)	18    1   6  11     11:30  -19 	  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

7 thoughts on “BUNDESLIGA, Round 18: Restart

  1. Nice to be back in action…but as a Schalke fan, I never looked forward to a re-start LESS…frightening to imagine how a club with SERIOUS firepower who have lit up the defense this round. None of the reinforcements are defensive, so this club is going to have to score a LOT of goals to get into CL range for next season.

    • Well the way Schalke has played recently, going to Europe at all would be fortunate. Trouble is, the difference in money is SO great that failing to go to the CL for this club becomes a disaster.

      • Yeah, even if they get their act together, CL seems a bit of a stretch. Of course, they could just win it this year, hehehe. I suppose the Europaliga is better than nothing, but not that much better :) Schalke is basically in the same boat as Dortmund was a few years ago. They took on a ton of debt on the stadium, and they’re paying the price. However, if they can keep selling out (and I don’t see why not, with their strong fanbase), they could start climbing like Dortmund into the elite class. But not sure they have the smarts to do it…

        • We’re still talking about Schalke, right? Well, once they climb into the elite class, maybe they can also manage to win the Bundesliga…

          In worse news, Schalke thought it had the easier CL draw – and then Galatasaray get Sneijder and Drogba. Of course, it’s still very doable, but not the way they played the last two.

  2. SGE faces trouble due to a few dozen fans’ bad behaviour. They burned the usual pyrotechnics but also and, worse, fired a rocket onto the field. Well, that’s really unacceptable. Now SGE might have to play one home game in front of empty seats… that could cost ‘em up to a million €. Not so good.
    Hope the ultra scene can handle the problem itself asap or tough measures are ahead (like clearing a whole fan block next time it happens, more camera observation etc.).
    Some other clubs face similar problems: Aachen, Nürnberg, Dresden, Dortmund.

    • Yeah, bad apples spoil the barrel. The whole “Fan experience” initiative that is being pushed by the DFL promises some dramatic changes, and nobody except Bayern seems to like it :) I’ve pretty much ignored it, but I suppose at some time I’ll have to delve into it.

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