BUNDESLIGA, Round 18, Restart

The Bundesliga restarted after winterbreak. Before we get to the games, maybe a review of things that happened during the break, which was largely nothing, unless you count Bayern winning the worthless FIFA World Club title. There was an interesting “Fankongress” in Berlin, which was basically a bunch of fan groups and some officials getting together to discuss “fan issues”, mostly surrounding new proposals to enforce greater security. This is largely supported by the clubs and police, and opposed by the fan groups. The meeting was supposed to be a summit, but started on the wrong foot when one major police official refused to attend and instead sent a telegramm bsaically stating that “Organized perpetrators travel throughout the land and cause problems”. The “Fan representatives” declared that this was outrageous, so of course on the opening of the congress, at a “friendly” between Koln and Schalke, some 300 hooligans fought and somebody ended up in the hospital with life threatening injuries. Just goes to show that the fans can organize all they want, but there are enough idiots to spoil it for everybody…(For some further background, you can see an older article here: http://www.abseits-soccer.com/essays/fans.html)

Anyway, the Bundesliga started pretty much the way it ended, Bayern winning and everybody else sucking. Many hoped that in-form Gladbach could stop the Bavarian juggernaut, but in reality, it went to form. To be sure, Gladbach tried hard, and forced Bayern GK Manuel Neuer into some sharp saves (plus they almost had a goal from another “Neuerism”). However, in general Bayern dominated the game and when Mario
Götze scored after only 7 minutes, you really knew what would happen. Gladbach just needs to forget about this and move on.

Dortmund is self destructing, the incredible injury toll continues to mount, and after only 6 minutes, it was Jakub Blaszczykowski (“Kuba”) who went down with looks like a severe knee injury. (He wasn’t really touched, must have just twisted it.). Now the Neons did go ahead and grab the lead, and continued to pressure Augsburg, who couldn’t get into the game. But unlike Bayern, Dortmund can’t kill off a game, and wasted enough chances for two or three wins, and basically lost their way. Augsburg fought back in to tie and withstood desperate BVB attacks to steal a point.

Leverkusen is another that got bitch slapped. The Aspirins were clearly in control at struggling Freiburg. They gave up a goal, but had the lead at half and were dominating. What could could be easier? Well, the Breisgauer came out breathing fire in 2nd half, running around like wild-men and fighting for every inch. The Aspirins looked like they just wanted to go home. So SCF managed to fight their way to a draw and then actually won the match in the last second. Hurray for them and critical points in their relegation battle. Shame on Luserkusen, once again demonstrating that they have the technique, but seem to lack heart.

Wolfsburg hadn’t lost in 9 matches, and looks like one of the teams that will challenge for Europe. Hannover is in crisis and hadn’t won on the road all year. The VWs dominated the match in this derby. So the result? Of course the 96ers win! As mentioned, Wolfsburg dominated, but committed capital crimes on defense and were duly punished by Hannover.

Stuttgart has no one to blame but themselves for their loss to Mainz. They jumped out to an early lead and looked confident, but then dicked around and Mainz struck back. Despite some continued VfB pressure, Mainz was in good shape and then countered near the end to get a nice away win, their first ever Bundesliga win in Stuttgart.

They finally did it! Nürnberg got their *first* win of the year. OK, it was their first game of 2014…but the minor problem they faced is that the Bundesliga season is 2013-14, and they hadn’t won any in the 2013 part. Der Club blasted Hoffenheim, albeit the scoreline was a bit too high. The Hoppers attacked and created chances, but FCN was well organized and countered with deadly effect. This is a huge result, as now perhaps with the monkey off their back, FCN might be able to climb out of the depths, as several other clubs are sucking.

Frankfurt was somewhat lucky to get a win against Berlin. Hertha looked the better team, but Eintracht’s best player, Alex Meier, pulled out a win after a defenders fell asleep.

Hamburg is in total crisis, and they got their ass ripped by Schalke. HSV was lame from the start and the visitors ran around and did whatever they pleased. Schalke decided to score a couple of goals – they must be thrilled that Huntelaar is back after injury and opened the scoring – and basically just kicked HSV in the balls.

The northern derby between Bremen and Braunschweig was pretty entertaining, despite the scoreless result. Partially incompetance, as both sides missed chances, but the refs also denied a Bremen goal on “offsides” and the Lions hit the post. Probably fair that they both get goose eggs though…

Total attendance 391,070 (avg 43,452), sellouts in Gladbach and Dortmund

 	
Bor. Mönchengladbach   -   Bayern München	0:2 (0:1)   54,010 *

                      0:1  M. Götze (7., T. Müller)
                      0:2  T. Müller (53., Hand penalty)

Borussia Dortmund      -   FC Augsburg   	2:2 (1:0)   80,645 *

                      1:0  S. Bender (6., Reus)
                      1:1  S. Bender (56., own goal, Hahn)
                      2:1  Sahin (66., direct freekick)
                      2:2  Ji (72., Hahn)

VfB Stuttgart	       -   1. FSV Mainz 05	1:2 (1:1)   38,000

                      1:0  Abdellaoue (11., Ibisevic)
                      1:1  Okazaki (40., Moritz)
                      1:2  Saller (87., Park)

VfL Wolfsburg	       -   Hannover 96	        1:3 (1:1)   28,139

                      0:1  Rudnevs (28., M. Diouf)
                      1:1  Olic (35., Arnold)
                      1:2  Bittencourt (50., M. Diouf)
                      1:3  Bittencourt (72., Huszti)

1. FC Nürnberg	       -   1899 Hoffenheim	4:0 (2:0)   36,079

                      1:0  Chandler (23.)
                      2:0  Drmic (41.)
                      3:0  Ginczek (49., Frantz)
                      4:0  Drmic (70., Kiyotake)

SC Freiburg	       -   Bayer 04 Leverkusen	3:2 (1:2)   22,100

                      0:1  L. Bender (4., Can)
                      1:1  Mehmedi (27., Sorg)
                      1:2  Rolfes (35., KCastro)
                      2:2  Schmid (53., direct free kick)
                      3:2  Klaus (90., Schmid)

Eintracht Frankfurt    -   Hertha BSC	        1:0 (1:0)   41,600

                      1:0  Meier (36., Russ)

Werder Bremen	       -   Eintr. Braunschweig	0:0 (0:0)   41,040

Hamburger SV	       -   FC Schalke 04	0:3 (0:1)   49,457

                      0:1  Huntelaar (34., Farfan)
                      0:2  Farfan (53., Felipe Santana)
                      0:3  M. Meyer (56., Farfan)



 1  Bayern München (M, P)	17   15  2   0 	   44:8   +36 	  47 
 2  Bayer 04 Leverkusen	  	18   12  1   5 	   34:19  +15 	  37 
 3  Borussia Dortmund	  	18   10  3   5 	   40:22  +18 	  33
 4  Bor. Mönchengladbach	18   10  3   5 	   35:21  +14 	  33
--------------------------------------------------------------------
 5  FC Schalke 04	  	18    9  4   5 	   35:28  +7 	  31 
 6  VfL Wolfsburg	  	18    9  3   6 	   29:22  +7 	  30
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 7  Hertha BSC Berlin (N)	18    8  4   6 	   27:21  +6 	  28 
 8  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	18    8  3   7 	   27:32  -5 	  27 
 9  FC Augsburg	  	        18    7  4   7 	   23:27  -4 	  25 
10  Hannover 96	  	        18    6  3   9 	   26:32  -6 	  21 
11  Werder Bremen	  	18    5  5   8 	   22:37  -15 	  20 
12  VfB Stuttgart	  	17    5  4   8 	   30:33  -3 	  19 
13  1899 Hoffenheim	  	18    4  6   8 	   36:42  -6 	  18 
14  Eintracht Frankfurt	  	18    4  6   8 	   21:29  -8 	  18 
15  SC Freiburg	  	        18    4  5   9 	   19:33  -14 	  17
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16  Hamburger SV	  	18    4  4   10    33:41  -8 	  16
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17  1. FC Nürnberg	  	18    1  11  6 	   21:33  -12 	  14 
18  Eintracht Braunschweig (N)	18    3  3   12    10:32  -22 	  12


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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