The Bundesliga Diaries Editorial – Match Day 18

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for. After 26 days of wilderness, the Bundesliga finally returned on Friday night! Hoffenheim and Bayern kicked off the Ruckrunde, just as they did the Hinrunde. The 3-1 Bayern victory was a repeat of that clash, with Leon Goretzka and Robert Lewandowski scoring for the visitors. It was an important victory for the Bavarians, as they continue to hunt down Borussia Dortmund.

Speaking of the league leaders, they earned three points away at RB Leipzig this weekend. The slender 1-0 scoreline could have been more, as BVB missed several chances. But Axel Witsel’s solitary goal proved to be enough. With both of the top two winning, the gap stays at six points.

Bayer Leverkusen entered the second half of the season with a new manager. Unfortunately for Peter Bosz, however, his reign got off to a disappointing start as Leverkusen lost 1-0 to Borussia Mönchengladbach. From a performance point of view, however, there were plenty of positives. They dominated throughout, and really should have come away with at least a point. For their opponents, it was a rare win away from home. Alassane Pléa’s 10th goal of the season means they stay in 3rd.

At the bottom, the relegation contenders appear confirmed. Augsburg, Stuttgart, Hannover and Nürnberg all lost in matchday 18, with them separated by just four points. Fortuna Düsseldorf, one spot above 15th-placed Augsburg, won their fourth match on the trot to steer themselves seven points clear of the play-off position. This result came after a comical few days in Düsseldorf, with Friedhelm Funkel’s future appearing to be up in the air.

At the start of last week, it seemed he would be leaving at the end of season, with a new contract not forthcoming. However, following the backlash from supporters, his employers saw the errors of their ways and tied him down for another year. Provided they stay up, of course. After taking the side from the bottom of the 2.Bundesliga to potential top division consolidation in just under 3 years, it would be mad to let him leave whilst he still has something to give.