Bundesliga, Round 28

Some wild matches in this round, as Bayern creeps closer to Dortmund and Kaiserslautern fans purchase their Bundesbahn 2.Liga train tickets…

Borussia Dortmund	-    VfB Stuttgart	4:4 (1:0)    80,720

                       1:0  Kagawa (33., Kehl)
                       2:0  Blaszczykowski (49., Hummels)
                       2:1  Ibisevic (71., Niedermeier)
                       2:2  Schieber (77., Ibisevic)
                       2:3  Schieber (79.,  Kuzmanovic)
                       3:3  Hummels (82., Kehl)
                       4:3  Perisic (87., Schmelzer)
                       4:4  Gentner (90. + 2, )

1. FC Nürnberg	        -    Bayern München	0:1 (0:0)    48,548

                       0:1  Robben (69., Ribery)

1. FC Kaiserslautern	-    Hamburger SV	0:1 (0:1)    44,745

                       0:1  Jansen (28., Ilicevic)

Werder Bremen	        -    1. FSV Mainz 05	0:3 (0:1)    40,132

                       0:1  Szalai (19., Ivanschitz)
                       0:2  Choupo-Moting (48., Zabavnik)
                       0:3  Choupo-Moting (74., Baumgartlinger)

Bayer Leverkusen	-    SC Freiburg	0:2 (0:1)    28,342

                       0:1  Schuster (8.)
                       0:2  D. Caligiuri (60.)

FC Augsburg	        -    1. FC Köln	        2:1 (2:1)    30,660

                       1:0  Koo (19., Bellinghausen)
                       1:1  Podolski (42., penalty, Podolski)
                       2:1  Rafael (45., penalty, Baier)

Hertha BSC Berlin       -    VfL Wolfsburg	1:4 (1:2)    46,388

                       1:0  Kobiashvili (13., Rukavytsya)
                       1:1  Janker (29., own goal, Dejagah)
                       1:2  Helmes (34., Dejagah)
                       1:3  Mandzukic (77., Träsch)
                       1:4  Helmes (81., Mandzukic)

Hannover 96	        -    Bor. M'gladbach	2:1 (0:0)    49,000

                       1:0  Ya Konan (57., Rausch)
                       2:0  M. Diouf (76., Schlaudraff)
                       2:1  Nordtveit (78., Arango)

1899 Hoffenheim	        -    FC Schalke 04	1:1 (1:0)    30,150

                       1:0  Salihovic (30., penalty, Schipplock)
                       1:1  Huntelaar (80., penalty, Obasi)

 1  Borussia Dortmund (M)	28    19    6 	 3 	63:21  +42    63 
 2  Bayern München	  	28    19    3 	 6 	67:18  +49    60 
 3  FC Schalke 04 (P)	  	28    17    3 	 8      61:35  +26    54
 4  Borussia M'gladbach	  	28    15    6 	 7      41:20  +21    51
 5  Hannover 96	  	        28    10   11 	 7 	37:39  -2     41 
 6  VfB Stuttgart	  	28    11    7 	10 	48:38  +10    40 
 7  Bayer Leverkusen	  	28    11    7 	10 	39:38  +1     40
 8  Werder Bremen	  	28    11    7 	10 	41:43  -2     40 
 9  VfL Wolfsburg	  	28    12    4 	12 	40:49  -9     40 
10  1899 Hoffenheim	  	28     8   10 	10 	32:39  -7     34 
11  1. FSV Mainz 05	  	28     8    9 	11 	42:44  -2     33 
12  1. FC Nürnberg	  	28     9    4 	15 	25:39  -14    31 
13  SC Freiburg	  	        28     8    7 	13 	37:53  -16    31 
14  FC Augsburg (N)	  	28     6   12 	10 	30:42  -12    30 
15  Hamburger SV	  	28     7    9 	12      32:50  -18    30
16  1. FC Köln	  	        28     8    4 	16 	35:58  -23    28
17  Hertha BSC Berlin (N)	28     6    8 	14 	30:52  -22    26 
18  1. FC Kaiserslautern	28     3   11 	14 	17:39  -22    20

Dortmund will kick themselves for not finishing off Stuttgart when they had the chance, and VfB demonstrates that when they are firing on all cylinders, they have an attack to be feared. The Neons once again dominated with their “pretty” football, creating loads of chances – I believe the official count was 27 (!) shots on target – but as usual wasted most of them. Nevertheless, after scores by Kagawa and Kuba, they seemed to be sailing to a solid victory. They seemed to take their foot off the gas just a bit, and within 10 minutes, Stuttgart took advantage of the unusually chaotic Dortmunde defense and completely turned the match on it’s head. To their credit, Dortmund revved up their engines once more and pressed to again “win” the match, but in injury time, they fell asleep once again and Stuttgart achieved a a somewhat lucky, but not totally undeserved, draw.

Bayern had a difficult time in the Bavarian derby at Nürnberg. The Müncheners controlled the match and pressed hard, but FCN was fighting for every ball and was well organized in defense. It took a long time for Bayern to break through (and once again it was “Robbery”), and till the end, der Club made it difficult. By no means undeserved win, but FCB is probably happy to escape with the points. Of course this means they are within striking distance of Dortmund, with that show down still to come. Nürnberg remains in a precarious position, but at least they’ve shown they’re capable of fighting.

A desperate relegation battle in Kaiserslautern, and FCK and HSV both looked nervous and crap. Neither club looked good, but both demonstrated an urgency to win the ball and boot it out of danger. A score by Marcel Jansen put HSV in the drivers seat. Hamburg hadn’t won in 6 matches, so this this lifts a huge burden off their shoulders. They still suck, but at least they haven’t collapsed. HSV is the only club that has been in every Bundesliga season since foundation in 1963, and I feel they’ll muddle through somehow. I fear the game is now over for FCK. They can’t score and they suck, which is a dangerous combination. New coach Krassimir Balakov probably wants to don a jersey and show how it’s done, because the Devils have forgotten, and relegation seems inevitable.

Bremen fans were stunned as Werder looked incompetant and Mainz ran rings around them. Werder hopes to sneak into Europe, and the visitors are trying to avoid relegation, but it certainly looked the opposite. Bremen sucked in all categories and Mainz helped themselves, kicking the Greens in the nuts and gathering some critical points. Bremen really looks like a boat without a rudder.

In an interview earlier this week, Bayer Leverkusen president Werner Holzhauser (or whatever his name is) floated the idea that Germany should switch to some sort of playoff system with a final to determine the champion. His argument was that would create more excitement, “just look at the Cup final”….SHUT UP YOU WANKER!!! That’s what the “Cup” is for. The Champion should be the best team, period. You’re just looking for a way to sneak in, ya bastard. And Luserkusen is never the best team, so put a sock in it. And if you need more excitement, then fire Robin Dutt and your players, then your matches wouldn’t be so boring. To demonstrate that, the Aspirins went out and stunk up the joint against relegation threatened Freiburg. SCF ran rings around them, with a tightly organized defense and clever counterattacks. Dutt probably wished he was back in Freiburg, because the Alka-Seltzers looked horrible. Great win for Freiburg though. I kinda thought they would drop, but they seem to have other ideas and recently have demonstrated true grit. (Note: After the match, Dutt was fired and replaced by Sami Hyppiaa)

Augsburg picked up a huge victory in a relegation 6 pointer against Köln. It was fully deserved, as the visitors showed nothing. FCA doesn’t have much talent, so they basically run around and try and kick anything that looks round, but they’re proof that fighting spirit has it’s place. They worked hard and Köln sucked. If the Fuggers had some decent talent, they probably would have won in a rout, but they struggled to get the win. Köln recently elected former great Karl-Heinz Thielen as President (replacing the legendary Wolfgang Overath), and he really has his work cut out. Köln, like Hamburg, should be a power, but they’ve sucked for quite a while, and have been chaotic for over a decade. Once again they’re in a relegation spot, and with the inevitable sale of Lukas Podolski in the summer, they’ve got some serious rebuilding to do. I’m not sure coach Stale Solbakken is right, but he has nothing to work with, so it would be unfair to blame him for the sucking.

Hertha BSC started off brightly against Wolfsburg, and grabbed an early lead. They became a bit unglued as an own goal gave the VWs an equalizer, but were still playing well. However, as the match went on, they seemed to get more incompetant, and Wolfsburg smelled blood. As it was, a revived Patrick Helmes put the Berliners to the sword, and relegation looks more likely than ever. Otto Rehagel has quite a problem to solve, as his reputation is making the best of what he has. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like he has anything, and Hertha needs some wins. The Wolfs are actually in contention for the Europa-liga now – and with only Stuttgart coming strong, Hannover indifferent and Luserkusen and Bremen sucking wind, their chances are not unreasonable.

Hannover and Gladbach were mired in a dire defensive struggle, as both teams wanted to counterattack. As a result, not much was happening. The 96ers looked more engaged and a bit more aggressive in the 2nd period, and were rewarded with a couple of goals. This woke Gladbach up, and they immediately attacked and got back in the game. However, it was too late, and they were unable to re-establish equality, as Hannover’s tight marking clamped down. A big win for the 96ers, as they vault over 4 clubs into a Europa-liga spot. Gladbach loses

Hoffenheim and Schalke put in a good match for the fans, with lots of end-to-end action. The Hoppers looked the better team, more aggressive, in the 1st half. Schalke put more effort in the 2nd period as they were chasing the lead. In the end, a fair representation of play.

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