Four-midable Bayern are unstoppable, Week 21 Report

Bundesliga

Mainz 2 Hannover 0

The 0-Fives continued their assault on the top six as they brushed aside Hannover on Friday night. Korkut’s team have now lost 10 of their 11 away games, but went into this on the back of two wins from three in 2014.

A scrappy first half gave no sign of a winner, both sides limited to half-chances, with Bell going closest for the hosts, forcing Zieler to turn his effort over.

It took just five minutes of the second period for Mainz to change the scoreline though, Muller set Malli up, before he put a superb effort out of the keepers grasp from all of 20 yards. That lead nearly became two just a minute later, Choupo-Moting drilling a ball inches wide of the upright.

The visitors pressed but to no avail, and it was the sub Choupo-Moting who had the final say, finishing easily from close range as the clock ticked to 93’, to secure a win that puts his side just a point outside the European spots

Hoffenheim 4 Stuttgart 1

Despite tipping the home win, no-one expected the win to be this comfortable, as they went someway to repairing the damage done by the 6-1 loss they suffered in the reverse fixture in September. A lot has happened since then though, and its now eight losses in nine games for Stuttgart.

Just 12 minutes passed before Schipplock heaped more pressure on the away side when he converted a Firmino cross. The game became more even, but it was clear VfB were missing the strike power of Ibisevic, and their task became harder on 49’ when Volland held off a defender, and struck his shot sweetly into the corner.

After 66 minutes, Schipplock chipped home to make it three, before Rudiger pulled one back on 78 from a delightful Maxim ball. However, any glimmer of home was washed away two minutes later, when Leitner was shown a second yellow to reduce the visitors to 10 men.

The game was put to bed in injury time when Firmino stroked home a penalty to make it 4-1, and a win which puts seven points between his side and the bottom three, and was the 88th goal their fans had seen in just 21 games this season in what has been a remarkable season.

Dortmund 4 Frankfurt 0

Jurgen Klopp’s side set themselves up perfectly for their Champions League tie with a professional performance over Frankfurt on Saturday.

The in-form Aubameyang scored twice within the first 20 minutes to set his side well on the way to victory, Weidenfeller largely untroubled apart from a long-range free-kick after half an hour which he saved comfortably.

Lewandowski had been denied well twice in the first half, but got his perfect chance just after half-time when he was hauled down in the area. The Polish international dusted himself down and fired the ball home.

It wasn’t just the usual suspects on the scoresheet though, Jojic came on with twenty minutes remaining, and scored within 17 seconds of being on the pitch.

The win was BVB’s third straight, and leaves them just one point behind second placed Leverkusen in the Champions League race.

Bremen 1 Moenchengladbach 1

The Foals stopped a run of three straight defeats but are now six without a win as they drew with a resilliant Bremen side on Saturday.

The away side couldn’t have got off to a better start, when the Bremen side committed a horrendous error, a misplaced pass saw Rafael given the easiest of goals to set them on their way after just six minutes.

Favre’s side missed a few half-chances to double their lead, and were nearly made to pay when Zlatko Junuzovic unleashed a rocket that beat the keeper, but cannoned back off the bar.

With about 20 minutes to play it seemed the visitors would try and settle for the 1-0, but, inevitably they couldn’t resist the tide, and the scores were levelled on 88’when Obraniak chipped a set-piece out of the grasp of ter Stegen, leaving Favre looking as glum as ever as his side slipped nine points from second.

Braunschweig 4 Hamburger 2

The definition of a six-pointer here as the Lions managed to grab their third home win of the season, as was tipped in the week. They remain at the bottom but the win put them within a point of Hamburg, who sacked van Marwijk hours after the match.

It was a true spectacle for the neutral though, and a huge surprise given that the home side had only scored more than once on two occasions this season, while the away side had yet to register a goal in 2014.

That changed after 23 minutes though, Lasogga struck his 10th of the season, looping over the ‘keeper to stun the home support into silence.

The half-time team talk worked though, unlike Rene Adler’s gloves, as he spilled a corner into the path of Kumbela, who powered home on 51’ to level. It was to be the start of a mad second half though, 10 minutes later Kumbela put his side in front before somehow being denied a hat-trick by a fabulous save from Adler.

The Lions were stuck between whether to press or defend, and after 76’ they did neither, and could only watch as Ilicevic’s mishit shot sailed into the corner to even the game up. Many had predicted a draw, a result which probably would’ve rang true had Adler not flapped at a corner, again giving Kumbela an easy chance, this time for his hat-trick, and put his side 3-2 with five minutes remaining.

The final nail in van Marwijk’s coffin came on 92’ when Hochscheidt wrapped up the points, sending the home fans into raptures, and a belief that they can escape the drop after three wins from six games at home.

Bayern 4 Freiburg 0

It seems simply a case of how many Bayern will win by now, as they cruised to their 19th win from 21 games on Saturday, as they amassed an unassailable 16 point lead with 13 games remaining.

The defence of Freiburg lasted just 19 minutes before Dante towered to head home a free-kick, a goal which gave him four goals in seven games, a record most strikers would be proud of.

The away side seemed to settle after conceding though, but young prodigy Shaqiri hit two goals in nine minutes to end the contest before half-time.

Our Under 3.5 bet looked all but gone at half-time, but a defensively astute second-half meant the score looked to remain respectable. However, with just two minutes remaining, Pizarro rounded off the victory with a smart finish, as Guardiola’s train easily rolled through another station.

Leverkusen 1 Schalke 2

 

Schalke did the business as I expected on Friday night, in a fantastic encounter that was edged by the side from Gelsenkirchen, giving them four wins on the bounce in 2014.

They had to ride their luck though, as the home side had a goal ruled out for a marginal offside just nine minutes in, before Kießling had a shot well blocked in the area.

That made the goal an even bigger hammer blow as it came, 19 year old Goretzka showing some real class, beating Wollscheid before chipping in from an angle. This didn’t look like the same Leverkusen side who had won seven of their first eight home matches, and in fact needed a massive slice of luck to get themselves on level terms.

Felipe Santana first headed brilliantly off the line, before seeing the ball fly in off his knee from the resulting corner to level proceedings.

Hyypia’s side didn’t take advantage of this though, and it was the Royal Blues who again took the game by the scruff of the neck, Huntelaar rising highest to nod home his sides second, and what turned out to be the winner that put Schalke within three points of the hosts in second.

Augsburg 0 Nurnburg 1

With European football in sight, many thought Augsburg would fire to victory on Sunday over a Nurnburg side who had just won twice all season. Those two victories did come back-to-back recently though, and it was clear from the start they would not be willing to give this one up easily.

The visitors dominated possession early on, but struggled to create any real chances of note, Drmic coming closest but could only produce a tame shot.

After a timid start, the hosts grew into the game, and Schäfer had to be at his best to save a treble of chances late in the first half. Nurnburg obviously learnt from this though, and as it looked to be ticking towards a 12th draw for the away side, top scorer Drmic had different ideas as he powered home a header on 65’

It was to be three wins in four though, as they survived a flurry of late goalmouth action to take home an important win which lifted them into 14th.

Hertha 1 Wolfsburg 2

The final leg of our 10/1 treble got off to a torrid start as the hosts dominated the early action in the capital.

Hertha got their reward for that too, Skjelbred the man who directed home after a teasing cross from the usual goal-man, Ramos. The Colombian probably should’ve doubled the lead too, when he eliminated the goalkeeper with a lob, only to see the ball dip over the crossbar, much to the relief of Wolves fans.

After their hard-work to take the lead, some slack defending cost them dearly, as Knoche was left alone in the box just before the hour, as he powered a header past Kraft to tie the contest.

Ramos again looked the most likely for the home side in the second half, as he nearly ended an attack beautifully, only to see some great defending deny him.

It was clear both sides fancied the win though, and it was Wolfsburg who profited, Caligiuri demonstrating some class, cutting inside and smashing past the beleaguered goalkeeper.

The win put the Wolves firmly in 5th position, and with their current form, talk of Champions League football will be circulating, whilst Hertha remain just three points off the pace for Europa League football.

STANDINGS

140217 - Bundesliga

League table courtesy of FIFA.com

BradSmith

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