VfB Stuttgart 1 Nurnburg 1
Nurnburg boss Gertjan Verbeek saw his new team cling on for a seventh draw in ten games on Friday night against an impressive Stuttgart side.
Verbeek’s new side were up against it from the start, Stark brought down the tricky Maxim in the area after just 3 minutes, and Bosnian forward Vedad Ibisevic cooly slotted home his seventh goal of the season to give the hosts the lead.
In fairness, the visiting fans couldn’t have asked for a better response. Drmic caught a long ball forward from Chandler, and still with work to do, stroked the ball in for the equaliser after just six minutes.
It was the Reds that upped the tempo after that equaliser though, Ibisevic coming close again when his audacious bicycle kick hit the side netting. Ibrahima Traore then went one closer when his shot thumped the woodwork, as the visitors went into the break happy to be level.
Alexandru Maxim was turning into the star of the show for Stuttgart, and he twice provided inch-perfect balls into the area, only to see headers flash wide both times.
After six draws in nine games, it was no surprise Nurnburg were happy to settle for a point, but they nearly took the game on the counter, Daniel Ginczek probably should’ve done better when one-one-one, but couldn’t find a way past the keeper.
There is clearly a lot of work for Verbeek to do with a side that is now without a win in 10, and in danger of falling off the pace already at this early stage. Stuttgart have now drawn four of their last five games, and will be frustrated at dropping points against beatable opposition yet again.
Bayern Munich 3 Hertha Berlin 2
Pep Guardiola’s side edged a five-goal thriller on Saturday, as they kept up their unbeaten record this season.
They were made to work for their victory though, they fell behind as they did last week against Mainz, giving away a goal after just three minutes, when Ramos was found in space just yards out following a corner from Skjelbred.
Hertha had started the season well, and nearly went further in-front, a 25 yard effort from Ben-Hatira had Neuer grasping at air, but only to see the ball cannon back off the bar.
It takes a brave manager to change things so early, and Guardiola did that, Götze and Mandzukic entered proceedings after just 25 minutes for Kroos and Robben, and the changes paid off almost immediately. Franck Ribery’s whipped free-kick was nodded in from Mandzukic, for his sixth goal of the season on 29 minutes.
The visitors did well to go into the break at half-time, and couldnt force any openings of their own, and slowly being pinned further in their own half.
It was the Croatian again who got Bayern’s second, after a free-kick was half-cleared, Mandxukic used his 6ft2 frame perfectly, as he rose to head home and put his side in the lead.
The Blue-whites clearly hadn’t learnt the lesson from Mainz last week, and conceded again just three minutes later, and it was a header yet again. This time, Rafinha put in a delightful delivery, and substitute Götze powered the ball home.
Luhukay’s side could have crumbled into submission then, but they made it 3-2 before the hour mark. Neuer did well to save Cigeri’s original effort, but Ben-Hatira was on hand to head in the rebound.
Any hope of a late comeback was dashed though, as a Bayern defence finally stood strong and held off any attack that came at them in the final minutes.
Hannover 1 Hoffenheim 4
Mirko Slomka’s team suffered a crazy first 20 minutes which saw them lose their unbeaten home record in calamitous circumstances.
As versus Dortmund, Hannover gave away a penalty within the first 10 minutes as Schulz brought down Modeste in the area, and Salihovic smashed home the spot-kick.
Mame Diouf was booked arguing about that penalty, and Hannover’s problems went from bad to worse when Diouf appeared to be felled in the area, but was booked for simulation by the referee, reducing the hosts to 10 men just 12 minutes in.
Slomka will have called for calm after the goal, eager to grab a foothold in the game, but before they could, Hoffenheim pounced and made it 2-0, when Herdling accurately headed the ball into the corner, leaving Zieler with no chance.
After four wins from five home games, the Reds weren’t going to give in easily. 96 started the second-half the better, and summer signing Leo Bittencourt angled a set-piece onto the head of Sane, who nodded home past Casteels, who really should have done better.
The home crowd were up, and it was nearly 2-2 minutes later, Bittencourt was visibly up for it, and when he found his way into the area minutes after, Casteels had to be equal to the effort.
96 looked the more likely to score, but after some continued pressure, the visitors put daylight between the teams, Andreason lost the ball in midfield, and Firmino was sent through on goal, and expertly finished off.
The 10-men were visibly demoralised after the goal, and just two minutes later, Firmino added a fourth. That wasn’t the end of the pain for the home side though, Marcelo was given a straight red for arguing with the referee, and confirmed it as a day to forget for the Hannover faithful
Leverkusen 2 Augsburg 1
Leverkusen made hard work of the Fuggerstädter on Saturday afternoon, scraping a 2-1 win thanks to a late goal from Emre Can.
The home support would’ve hoped their side could use their 4-0 midweek win against Shakthar as a platform for this game, but they nearly fell behind when Hong smashed a volley against the woodwork.
Then, just minutes later, Tobias Werner’s long-ball found its way through to Hahn, who volleyed home superbly into the corner to put a shock on the cards as Augsburg took the lead.
Bayer 04 may well have been nursing a European hangover, and couldn’t put together any of the free-flowing football that served them well against the Ukranian side, but managed to find a way through before the break, with Rolfes poking home from inside the area.
Hyypia’s team took the initiative second-half, and Kießling – scorer of the phantom goal last week – should’ve done better when sent clear on goal. The game seemed to be petering out into a draw, but Leverkusen kept pressing, and got their reward seven minutes from time as Kruse delivered a beautiful ball for Emre Can, who made the finish look easy as he put his side ahead.
The win keeps them in touching distance of the top two, and tightens their grip on third place even at this early stage.
Mainz 2 Braunschweig 0
The Lions remained bottom of the Bundesliga this weekend after falling to their eighth defeat in ten games. Mainz themselves had failed to win in six, losing five of them, but never looked in danger of dropping points against the newly promoted side.
They were at it from the off too, Shinji Okazaki on hand to lob the ball over Davari after just eight minutes to set the ball rolling. The summer signing was the man on form in the first half, again going close with an audacious diving header.
Braunschweig were looking to loanee Bellarabi for inspiration, and he went close either side of half-time, his second effort stinging the palms of Müller who did well to keep out.
It was a limp attempt to get back level from the visitors though, and the 0-5s class showed as they doubled their lead through a brisk counter Okazaki again in the right place to hit the net and put the game beyond doubt.
Lieberknecht’s side did carry on pressuring during the final 20 minutes, with substitute Kumbela twice going close, but in reality, it was a confident win for the home side.
Schalke 1 Dortmund 3
The Revierderby certainly didn’t disappoint on Saturday, as Klopp’s team travelled to Gelsenkirchen to collect an eighth win in ten games, and remain hot on the heels of Bayern Munich ahead of their clash next month.
It took just 14 minutes for BVB to take the lead, some crisp passing football, led by Marco Reus, ensured Aubameyang had little work to do when he slotted home from about 10 yards.
Schalke were certainly not here to make up numbers, and were probably guilty of chasing the game too early, as they were carved open again and again, but Timo Hildebrand was in top form to deny Lewandowski and others.
However, the pressure of the Royal Blues paid off after half an hour, when they awarded a contentious penalty when Fuchs went down under Subotic’s challenge. This time, Weidenfeller was the hero, as he guessed right and beat Boateng’s penalty away, to ensure Dortmund’s lead. It was the ‘keeper’s fourth penalty save in his last eight faced – a tremendous record.
Keller’s side struggled with the high-intensity passing of the visitors, and their lead doubled just after the restart, when summer acquisition Mkhitaryan squared for Sahin, who angled a superb effort into the top corner from outside the box.
The response came in the form of substitute Max Meyer, and the highly rated 18 year old brought his side back into the contest within a minute of coming on. Picking the ball up, he danced around two challenges before setting up Szalai, whose shot was beat away back towards Meyer, who finished off to make it 2-1.
It was clear there was another goal in the encounter, and it was another invigorating breakaway that sealed the three points for the Prussians. Mkhitaryan dispossessed Draxler, before sprinting 70 yards and laying off Blaszczykowski, who struck his shot out of the grasp of Hildebrand to make it 3-1, and ended the game as a contest.
Wolfsburg 3 Werder Bremen 0
The Wolves cruised to an easy victory on Saturday evening, in what many billed as a close encounter pre-match. Hecking’s side were the only ones out of the blocks though, and they never looked back after Arnold stroked a ball into the Bremen net with just seven on the clock.
The visitors had Mielitz to be thankful to that they weren’t further behind, as he foiled Perisic and Olic more than once to keep the score at 1-0.
Wolfsburg were well on top, but still had to be tight at the back, and the two times Bremen got a chance, Benaglio was equal to it. First, he was equal to a Hunt free-kick that looked destined for the top corner, before he had to react quickly when Junuzovic shot on the turn.
Robin Dutt’s team had inched their way back into the game, but nearly saw all that work undone when Arnold was sent clear again, only to see his shot saved superbly by Mielitz again.
With the game heading into a tense finale, Benaglio nearly dropped the ball at the feet of a Bremen attacker, only to recover superbly, with the home fans hearts in mouths. Finally Wolfsburg got their second though, Mielitz finally beaten again when Olic angled a header into the corner, as the Wolves breathed a sigh of relief.
Mielitz hadn’t finished with his display though, keeping out an Arnold strike acrobatically, but was beaten for a third time when Perisic drilled home with their 20th attempt.
The result was harsh on Mielitz in goal but not on a Bremen team that have now won just once in their last eight matches.
Freiburg 0 Hamburg 3
Freiburg slipped to a fifth defeat of the season on Sunday as they remained one of just two sides without a win as we ticked onto the ten game mark for the season.
Despite the visitors deserving the victory, they were helped on their way through a couple of horrendous blunders from the home ‘keeper, starting after just nine minutes.
van Marwijk’s side had already gone close through the in-form Lasogga in the early minutes, but the post and the ‘keeper foiled his efforts.
Baumann quickly wiped out what plaudits he wouldve received for that save when he launched himself out the area and misjudged the bounce of a ball forward, leaving Beister to slot home one of the easier goals of his career.
You have to applaud the Freiburg fans, erupting into song in support of the ‘keeper, but his day was only going to get worse. Again, he was caught out when collecting a ball, this time fumbling as he misjudged his area, and the ball squirmed into the path of Lasogga, who couldn’t miss.
The game looked over as a contest, and there was no doubts on 63 minutes when Hamburg scored their third – from another Baumann error. This time he got his hands to Beisters shot, but couldn’t hold onto the ball, allowing van der Vaart to pounce and deliver the killer blow.
Moenchengladbach 4 Frankfurt 1
The Foals reclaimed fourth place as they dismantled Frankfurt in front of 53000 fans on Sunday afternoon.
Juan Arango got the home team underway early on, as he swung a fantastic free-kick into the corner after just 11 minutes. However, just four minutes later, an error from ter Stegen gifted the Eagles an equaliser.
His pass out was intercepted by Meier, and as the ball reached to Kadlec, ter Stegen upended the man, but before the referee could award the spot-kick, Aigner tapped down, and the scores were level.
Moenchengladbach were not keen to give up their 100% record, and were back ahead within five minutes. Raffael played a clever ball through the Wendt, whose effort nearly broke the Frankfurt net.
Both sides exchanged efforts for the remainder of the half, but it was the visitors who had the best chance of the first period, when Kadlec leapt to reach a header, only to see ter Stegen atone for his earlier error, as he tipped the effort away superbly.
Favre’s team new they needed a third goal, and quickly gained the impetus, with Xhaka clipping the post with an effort just before the hour mark. It was on that hour mark that the visitors gave way though, Kruse doing all the hard work before assisting Herrmann, who made no mistake from close range.
Herrmann then turned provider minutes later, when he broke clear of the defence, and squared the ball for Raffael, who finished off the game with a smart finish.
There was to be some fight in the final minutes from Frankfurt, who could’ve, and should’ve made the score more respectable, but the Foals defence remained firm – as they have done all year.
The win left Frankfurt without a win in five, and slipping five points off the European positions that they will be aiming for come May.
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