BUNDESLIGA, Round 9: Dortmund in crisis

Some interesting games this round, following some decent European action midweek. Crap teams are generally continuing to be crap, but a few sides are beginning to get noticed.

Dortmund is in crisis. The team that has been dominant in the Champions League (a midweek 4-0 thrashing in Istanbul over Turkish giant Galatasary good evidence) is flailing in the Bundesliga. Against Hannover, things again dodn’t go right. Despite a ton of chances, BVB was unable to score. The 96ers didn’t create much, but a direct free kick by Hiroshi Kiyotake gave them a stunning win. This is already 6 losses for Dortmund (in the last 4 years, they’ve only lost 7,6,5 and 3 matches the whole season). What are they going to do? It doesn’t appear that injuries is the main excuse any more, as players are coming back. It just seems like lack of focus. Hannover hardly deserved the win, but they came with a plan to escape with a draw and then take whatever they were given. A nice win for the 96ers, but really Dortmund needs to look into the mirror to figure out why.

Bayern München made massive news in the Champions League, as they came away with a legendary 7-1 win at AS Roma. Nevertheless, Pep Guardiola said his side could play better. Well, they needed it at Gladbach. The hosts showed no fear against the champs, and came close to victory in the latter stages. Only some fine saves by Bayern GK Manuel Neuer held the draw. Still, it could have been the usual Bayern script, as they completely controlled the match early on and piled up decent chances. Gladbach didn’t panic and held firm, until their strong effort down the stretch. They clearly deserved a point and demonstrated that they’re the top contender for 2nd place…

Wolfsburg is officially a “contender” (for 2nd place). The VWs have quietly moved up the table, and now showed their strength as the bitch-slapped unbeaten Mainz all over the field. The visitors were only able to keep pace at the start, and when they fell behind, they were simply outplayed and overrun. Mainz was clearly shown their limits, but have a decent squad and should be able to ride home strength to decent results

Huge match in Bremen, with Werder desperately needing a result against Köln. The signs were good, as they’ve beaten Köln nine of the last ten times at home. But this was not to be, as the visitors stood firm and let Bremen run around aimlessly. Then they delivered a deadly counter and ended up with the win. This was the end of the line for coach Robin Dutt, who was fired the next day. U23 coach Viktor Skripnik takes over as interim boss. With Werder dead last and still without a win, he certainly has his work cut out. For Köln, this is a nice win that establishes them neatly in mid-table.

Leverkusen completely dominated against Schalke, which was attempting a catenaccio point robbery. The Blues looked completely lame going forward, and you have to wonder what Roberto di Matteo was thinking with this plan. It’s pretty clear that RDM hasn’t figured out what he is going to do with this side. The Aspirins wasted quite a few chances, but a direct free kick from Hakan Calhanoglu (I bet HSV could use him now) was enough to get the win. Leverksuen looks once again to be a potential challenger for the “Vize” spot.

Augsburg has survived by playing hard and getting results at home. There’s little reason to doubt that they won’t do the same this season. FCA was completely in control against Freiburg, who really couldn’t mount much of anything. SCF looked pretty week, ready to get relegated.

Hoffenheim was dominant against Paderborn, but wasted lots of chances. The Hoppers did finally break through, but it was never easy sailing. The guests might have escaped with a draw late, but luck wasn’t on their side. Overall, Hoffenheim deserved the win, and they remain a surprise unbeaten side. Paderborn exhibited good fight. They’re very much like Augsburg in their first season, so as long as they keep plugging away and collect points at home, they’re in good shape.

Hertha was completely in control against a lame Hamburg side. HSV has been showing some fight, but they were crap here, perhpas a sign that the coach firing effect is wearing off. Berlin was a bit cautious in the first half, but then when they really started to pressure, the guests cracked and Hertha skated to an easy win. Berlin looks capable of more, but they seem a bit tentative. For HSV, the next few matches are crucial, because they are dangerously looking like falling into their earlier sucky pattern.

An insane match in Frankfurt. Stuttgart looked to have things in firm control, jumping to a 3-1 lead, and looking the better side. But Eintracht came roaring back to take the lead, before VfB turned thing in their favor in the end-spurt. Overall, VfB seemed slightly better, but Frankfurt will certainly feel hard done by that they didn’t manage a point after seizing the lead. Stuttgart had been looking like a prime relegation candidate, but they showed that they have plenty of will and skill to pull themselves out. With other teams sucking in the drop zone, they could soon find themselves in safety with a few more solid performances.

Total attendance 395,729 (avg 43,970), sellouts in Bremen, Dortmund, Leverkusen and Gladbach.

Werder Bremen	     -   1. FC Köln	   0:1 (0:0)   42,100 *

                    0:1  Ujah (59., Svento)

Borussia Dortmund    -   Hannover 96	   0:1 (0:0)   80,667 *

                    0:1  Kiyotake (62., direct free kick)

FC Augsburg	     -   SC Freiburg	   2:0 (1:0)   28,324

                    1:0  Verhaegh (11., penalty, Klavan)
                    2:0  Halil Altintop (66., Esswein)

TSG Hoffenheim	     -   SC Paderborn 07   1:0 (0:0)   25,712

                    1:0  Volland (73., Beck)

Hertha BSC	     -   Hamburger SV	   3:0 (0:0)   58,768

                    1:0  Ben-Hatira (59., Stocker)
                    2:0  Heitinga (65., Hosogai)
                    3:0  Ben-Hatira (85., Skjelbred)

Eintracht Frankfurt  -   VfB Stuttgart	   4:5 (1:2)   49,700

                    1:0  Madlung (21., Seferovic)
                    1:1  Harnik (34.)
                    1:2  Harnik (36., Maxim)
                    1:3  Gentner (51., Maxim)
                    2:3  Meier (57., Aigner)
                    3:3  Aigner (61., Russ)
                    4:3  Madlung (65., Stendera)
                    4:4  Ti. Werner (81.)
                    4:5  Gentner (84., Kostic)

Bayer 04 Leverkusen  -   FC Schalke 04	   1:0 (0:0)   30,210 *

                    1:0  Calhanoglu (53., direct freekick)
VfL Wolfsburg	     -   1. FSV Mainz 05   3:0 (1:0)   26,238

                    1:0  Naldo (15., M. Schäfer)
                    2:0  Perisic (59., Naldo)
                    3:0  D. Caligiuri (87., Junior Malanda)

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

 1  Bayern München (M, P) 	9    6 	3  0 	  21:2 	 +19 	  21 
 2  Bor. Mönchengladbach 	9    4 	5  0 	  12:4 	 +8 	  17 
 3  VfL Wolfsburg 	  	9    5 	2  2 	  16:9 	 +7 	  17
 4  TSG Hoffenheim 	  	9    4 	5  0 	  13:7 	 +6 	  17
 5  Bayer 04 Leverkusen 	9    4 	4  1 	  17:14  +3 	  16 
 6  1. FSV Mainz 05 	  	9    3 	5  1 	  12:10  +2 	  14
 7  Hannover 96 	  	9    4 	1  4 	   6:11  -5 	  13 
 8  SC Paderborn 07 (N) 	9    3 	3  3 	  13:12  +1 	  12 
 9  FC Augsburg 	  	9    4 	0  5 	  11:11   0 	  12 
10  1. FC Köln (N) 	  	9    3 	3  3 	   7:7 	  0 	  12 
11  Eintracht Frankfurt 	9    3 	3  3 	  17:18  -1 	  12 
12  FC Schalke 04 	  	9    3 	2  4 	  13:13   0 	  11 
13  Hertha BSC Berlin	  	9    3 	2  4 	  14:16  -2 	  11 
14  VfB Stuttgart 	  	9    2 	3  4 	  14:19  -5 	  9 
15  Borussia Dortmund 	  	9    2 	1  6 	  10:15  -5 	  7
16  Hamburger SV 	  	9    1 	3  5 	   3:12  -9 	  6
17  SC Freiburg 	  	9    0 	5  4 	   8:14  -6 	  5 
18  Werder Bremen 	  	9    0 	4  5 	  10:23  -13 	  4

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

M = Meister, defending Champion
P = Pokalsieger, Cup winner
N = Neuling, just promoted

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