The trimumvirate marches on, as Bayern, Dortmund and Leverkusen have opened up a 10(!) point gap on the rest of the field. That pretty much puts a lock on the three direct Champions League qualifiers, and everybody else has to fight for the scraps.

All eyes were of course on the famed “Revier-derby” as Schalke hosted Dortmund. The Neons were the better team and come away with a deserved victory. Schalke gave a good effort, but never looked like they could fully come back. They’ve had the upper hand in the last couple (indeed for first 3 game streak since 1969), but were really too weak in front of goal. Dortmund was strong on the ball and finished when needed, grabbing an early lead and then keeping the pressure.

Leaders Bayern München had a hard time with Hertha. The upstart Berliners jumped into a lead, and it took a while for Bayern to get rolling. When the champs finally broke through and looked like they would roll on to another rout, Hertha struck back and kept the match interesting. The Berliners can look to a positive performance, Bayern of course gets the win to keep the lead. This was Frank Ribery’s 39th straight match win as a starter, breakig the old record from HSV’s Holger Hieronymous in the early 1980s.

Leverkusen kept pace with a win over stubborn Augsburg. The Fuggers grabbed an early lead, and then withstood constant Aspirin pressure. Bayer was beginning to get a bit desperate, but were ultimately rewarded with a late goal that gives them a deserved win. Good effort by Augsburg, but they never seem to get much against the Aspirins.

Interesting match in Hannover, as the 96ers went down in flames against Hoffenheim. Hannover’s Mame Diouf should change the spelling of his name to “Doof”, which seems more appropriate (if you don’t speak German, “Google Translate” can help out). First he complained too much, as Hannover felt that an early Hoffenheim penalty was somehow “make-up” for the Hoppers bad call against Leverkusen last week (yeah, right). Besides, we all know how many times a ref changes his mind after a player argues with him…exactly. Then a few minutes later Doof gets another yellow for some crap foul. Actually, this is legendary, as Doof now is in the history books as the fastest double-yellow in Bundesliga history. Well done! BTW, Marcelo apparently was upset that Doof got all the accolades, so after about an hour of simmering, when he got called for a foul blabbed so much that the ref tossed his ass too.
Meanwhile, Hoffenheim was running rampant and ripped the home side’s ass, their first home loss of the season. The Hoffenheimers were certainly a hated team because of their “money”, but things seem to be changing, as they’ve jettisoned their spendthrift ways and brought in hungry players and a young coach, playing attractive football (Well, basically with best attack and worst defense).

Nürnberg featured their new coach, Dutchman Gert Verbeek, and FCN did manage to grab a draw at Stuttgart. The home side looked stronger and probably should have won given recent form, but der Club defended well. VfB wasted too many chances, so they really can’t complain too loudly about dropping points. Nürnberg is still looking for it’s first victory. Verbeek is known for being a disciplinarian, despite his “wild man of wongo” hairstyle. He’s done some impressive things in Dutch football, but usually ends up with a player revolt. Kind of like a poor man’s Felix Magath? Perhaps this is what der Club needs now, but it doesn’t seem like this is a match for the ages.

Braunschweig is going down and looking to take someone with them. Mainz has been struggling and is certainly a candidate. The home side suprisingly decided not to take the initiative, allowing Braunschweig to control the pace and midfield. Instead Mainz relied on counters. Coach Tuchel showed why he is considered a major talent, as his plan worked to perfection, with Japanese import Shinji Okazaki notching a double. The win gives Mainz a needed boost. Braunschweig looks a lot like last season’s Greuther Fürth: the will and fight is there, but there just ain’t enough talent.

The northern derby in Wolfsburg ended with a clear win for the VWs. Bremen looked total crap, and can thank their GK Sebastian Mielitz that it wasn’t an embarassment. Wolfsburg showed clever combinations and pressed forward, and if they show this consistently, should be able to challenge for the Euroliga. (And of course the 4th Champions League spot is also up for grabs).

Frieburg GK Oliver Baumann is on suicide watch, probably the worst game of his career against Hamburg. First, he pulled a “Neuer”, running out of his goal and missing the ball, then he had one go through his hands, and finally a lame defense of a harmless shot knocked right to van der Vaart about 5 meters in front of goal. 3 goals to Hamburg, and a critical relegation battle defeat. HSV was basically gifted the game, but at least they said “thankyouverymuch” and went about their business.

Gladbach showed why they are good at home, as they ripped Frankfurt. However the match was pretty even, with Eintracht having a slight edge in possession and attack. Problem was, Gladbach was rock solid in defense and launched dangerous counters, which ultimately finished off the Frankfurters.

Total attendance 388,676 (avg 43,187), sellouts in München, Schalke and Freiburg

VfB Stuttgart	      -   1. FC Nürnberg	1:1 (1:1)   48,640

                     1:0  Ibisevic (3., penalty, Maxim)
                     1:1  Drmic (6., Chandler)

Bayern München	      -   Hertha BSC	        3:2 (1:1)   71,000 *

                     0:1  Ramos (4., Skjelbred)
                     1:1  Mandzukic (30., Ribery)
                     2:1  Mandzukic (51., Schweinsteiger)
                     3:1  M. Götze (54., Rafinha)
                     3:2  Ben-Hatira (58., Ramos)

FC Schalke 04	      -   Borussia Dortmund	1:3 (0:1)   61,973 *

                     0:1  Aubameyang (14., Reus)
                     0:2  Sahin (51., H. Mkhitaryan)
                     1:2  M. Meyer (62., Szalai)
                     1:3  Blaszczykowski (74., H. Mkhitaryan)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen   -   FC Augsburg	        2:1 (1:1)   25,000

                     0:1  Hahn (24., To. Werner)
                     1:1  Rolfes (34., Boenisch)
                     2:1  Can (83., R. Kruse)

Hannover 96	      -   1899 Hoffenheim	1:4 (0:2)   44,500

                     0:1  Salihovic (10., penalty, Modeste)
                     0:2  Herdling (18., Beck)
                     1:2  Sané (56., Bittencourt)
                     1:3  Roberto Firmino (62., Polanski)
                     1:4  Roberto Firmino (64., Schipplock)

1. FSV Mainz 05	      -   Eintr, Braunschweig	2:0 (1:0)   30,657

                     1:0  Okazaki (8., Junior Diaz)
                     2:0  Okazaki (68., N. Müller)

VfL Wolfsburg	      -   Werder Bremen	        3:0 (1:0)   29,488

                     1:0  Arnold (7., Olic)
                     2:0  Olic (72., Perisic)
                     3:0  Perisic (89., Evseev)

SC Freiburg	      -   Hamburger SV	        0:3 (0:1)   24,000 *

                     0:1  Beister (37., Badelj)
                     0:2  Lasogga (47., van der Vaart)
                     0:3  van der Vaart (63., Beister)
Bor. Mönchengladbach  -   Eintracht Frankfurt	4:1 (2:1)   53,418

                     1:0  Arango (11., direct freekick)
                     1:1  Aigner (15., Kadlec)
                     2:1  Wendt (18., Raffael)
                     3:1  Herrmann (60., M. Kruse)
                     4:1  Raffael (66., Herrmann)

 1  Bayern München (M, P)	10    8  2  0 	  22:6 	 +16 	  26 
 2  Borussia Dortmund	  	10    8  1  1 	  25:8 	 +17 	  25 
 3  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	10    8  1  1 	  22:10  +12 	  25
 4  Bor. Mönchengladbach	10    5  1  4 	  23:15  +8 	  16 
 5  Hertha BSC Berlin (N)	10    4  3  3 	  17:12  +5 	  15
 6  VfL Wolfsburg	  	10    5  0  5 	  14:12  +2 	  15
 7  FC Schalke 04	  	10    4  2  4 	  18:22  -4 	  14
 8  VfB Stuttgart	  	10    3  4  3 	  20:14  +6 	  13 
 9  1899 Hoffenheim	  	10    3  4  3 	  25:23  +2 	  13 
10  Hannover 96	  	        10    4  1  5 	  12:16  -4 	  13 
11  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	10    4  1  5 	  15:21  -6 	  13 
12  Hamburger SV	  	10    3  3  4 	  23:22  +1 	  12
13  Werder Bremen	  	10    3  3  4 	   9:15  -6 	  12 
14  Eintracht Frankfurt	  	10    2  4  4 	  13:18  -5 	  10 
15  FC Augsburg	  	        10    3  1  6 	  11:19  -8 	  10 
16  1. FC Nürnberg	  	10    0  7  3 	  11:19  -8 	  7
17  SC Freiburg	  	        10    0  5  5 	   9:21  -12 	  5 
18  Eintracht Braunschweig (N)	10    1  1  8 	   7:23  -16 	  4

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

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