GERMANY: Bundesliga Week 23 review

Germany

Freiburg 0-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

Friday night’s game pitted 2 of the surprise packages of the season against each other with Freiburg in 5th hosting 4th placed Frankfurt. The visitors dominated the first half and had a goal disallowed for offside on 12 minutes when Stefan Aigner was rightly judged offside. Aigner then shot into the side netting as his side continued to dominant the hosts. Midway through the 2nd half the hosts came close twice in quick succession with first Jan Rosenthal and then Matthias Ginter having efforts cleared off the line by Stefano Celozzi. It was Freiburg who finished the game the stronger and Max Kruse was denied by Kevin Trapp in the Frankfurt goal with 15 minutes remaining and then the best chance of the game was missed on 84 minutes by Johannes Flum who headed over when it seemed easier to score. The point apiece leaves both sides with realistic European ambitions for the remainder of the season

Bayern Munich 6-1 Werder Bremen

Munich continues to dominate the domestic season with a demolition of a Bremen side that could not live with the Champions elect. With Wednesday night’s cup clash with Borussia Dortmund in mind Jupp Heynckes made 5 changes to his side. Arjen Robben, who had been recalled to the side, opened the scoring on 25 minutes and the lead was quickly doubled when Javi Martinez headed home. Bremen held on until half time although any chance of a recovery was ended when Sebastian Prödl was sent off for pulling down Mario Gomez in the 44th minute. The slim chances of a recovery became none existent within 6 minutes of the restart, when first Theodor Gebre Selassie put through his own net and then Gomez gave the home side a four nil lead. Kevin de Bruyne scored the first goal Munich keeper Manuel Neuer had conceded in the league in 2013 on 58 minutes but it was nothing but a consolation. Munich then scored twice in the last 5 minutes to round off a comfortable afternoon in style. First Franck Ribery scored a good volley for number 5 and finally Gomez got his second of the game on 89 minutes.

Stuttgart 1-1 Nuremburg

Nuremburg gained a point for the third successive game with a 1 all draw away to Stuttgart. Stuttgart looked tired after the midweek game against Genk in Belgium and seemed content to allow the visitors to control the play. However in a dull first half neither side were able to break the deadlock. Ibrahima Traore broke the deadlock on 51 minutes for the hosts when he grabbed his fourth goal of the season, all of which have come in home games. Der Club levelled with 13 minutes remaining when Markus Feulner scored his third of the season to leave both clubs with a point and nearer to the drop zone than they would both like.

Augsburg 2-1 Hoffenheim

Augsburg leapfrogged the visitors with only their third victory of the season in this relegation six pointer. The hosts started the game much the better and created the better goal scoring opportunities with both South Korean’s Dong-Won Ji and Ja-Cheol Koo missing good chances to take the lead. The breakthrough came on 44 minutes when Ji, a January arrival from Sunderland, found the net to give the hosts a deserved half time lead. The second half followed the same pattern with the home side, who have only lost once in 2013, dominating and the points were wrapped up when Sascha Mölders scored on 79 minutes. The visitors mustered a late rally but were only able to get a consolation goal from substitute Igor de Camargo deep into injury time. The defeat leaves both sides deep in relegation trouble with the best possible result for the season a relegation play off place.

Hannover 5-1 Hamburg

Hannover showed no ill effects to going out the Europa League on Thursday night with a comprehensive victory over Hamburg. The hosts took a 7th minute lead through Mame Diouf, who nodded home a cross from Szabolcs Huszt. However the visitors replied within 6 minutes when Rafael van der Vaart scored a penalty past home keeper Ron-Robert Zieler. The hosts were given a penalty of their own on 39 minutes and it was Huszt who slotted this home and they extended the lead right on half time when Didier Ya Konan scored. Van der Vaart missed a good opportunity to reduce the home sides lead on 65 minutes and 3 minutes after that miss the game was all over when Ya Konan grabbed his second and Hannover’s fourth. The rout was rounded off on 85 minutes when Mohamed Abdellaoue scored from a tight angle. The win moved Hannover to within one point of the visitors and leaves both teams chasing a Europa League spot for next season.

Mainz 1-1 Wolfsburg

Mainz were held at home to Wolfsburg and will feel it was two points dropped as the visitors played for an hour with 10 men after Alexander Madlung was red carded in the first half. By the time Madlung was sent off the two teams had traded goals with the hosts taking the lead on 5 minutes through Niki Zimling, with his first Bundesliga goal and then Wolfsburg equalised on 15 minutes through Naldo. The second half saw Mainz dominate the game without creating too many clear cut chances. Hungarian Adam Szalai missed the best of the few opportunities that did present themselves although the hosts did not do enough against 10 men to deserve the victory.

Schalke 2-1 Fortuna Dusseldorf

Schalke maintained an outside chance of getting back into the Champions League next season with a deserved victory over the inconsistent Fortuna Dusseldorf. Joel Matip gave the home side the lead on 29 minutes when he followed in a Jermaine Jones header to knock the ball over the line. Although Schalke continued to dominate they could not extend their lead before half time. The visitors made them pay after 11 minutes of the second half when Axel Bellinghausen scored from close range to make it one all. After Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and substitute Raffael had gone close it was Matip who grabbed the winner with 10 minutes remaining to leave the hosts with the slim chance of pushing for a Champions League spot.

Borussia Monchengladbach 1-1 Borussia Dortmund

The battle of the Borussia’s was an entertaining one all draw on Sunday at Borussia Park. All eyes were on Marco Reus on his first return since his summer move to Dortmund. In the first half he was overshadowed by Mario Gotze who scored a penalty to give the visitors the lead after he had been fouled by Marc-Andre ter Stegen on 31 minutes. The second half saw the hosts press for an equaliser. Amin Younes brought a save from Dortmund keeper Weidenfeller on 55 minutes and then beat the stopper on 67 minutes to bring the hosts level. The final 20 minutes saw both sides pressing for a winner but neither side were able to create any clear cut chances and a draw left Dortmund 17 points behind Bayern Munich and leaves the possibility of 3 successive titles looking extremely unlikely.

Greuther Furth 0-0 Bayer Leverkusen

The final game of the weekend saw bottom side Furth hold Leverkusen to a goalless draw. The draw leaves Furth 14 points from safety at the bottom of the table and left Leverkusen sitting in third place behind Dortmund and Champions elect Munich. Leverkusen had the better of the first half with Daniel Carvajal, Andre Schurrle and Gonzalo Castro all going close for the visitors. The second half followed much the same pattern with Furth having a couple of chances on the break. The result did neither side any favours with the hosts now looking likely to achieve a relegation play off place at best in their first season in the Bundesliga.

Andrew Waite

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