Another week goes by, and the Bundesliga title race shows little sign of letting up. For Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, it was the comfortable matchday most expected. BVB put five past a passive Hannover, with only one coming in reply, whilst Bayern Munich beat Stuttgart 4-1 despite going in to the break all square. The gap between Dortmund and the Bavarians remains at six points, with neither side yet to blink following the winter break. For André Breitenreiter, the defeat to Dortmund proved to be a step too far. On Sunday, the Hannover manager was no longer in his job.
Just behind, Borussia Mönchengladbach and RB Leipzig both also claimed victories. Dieter Hecking’s side made hard work of strugglers Augsburg, failing to score until the 78th minute before finally winning 2-0. Patrick Hermann’s strike in the 93rd minute is worth a watch if you are yet to see it. There were no such troubles for Leipzig, on the other hand. Their work was effectively done after 20 minutes against Fortuna Düsseldorf, by which time they led 3-0. An fourth goal midway through the second half completed the route, ending Düsseldorf’s series of four successive wins.
When it rains, it pours. At least, that is the case for FC Nürnberg. After a horrendous run of 12 games without a win, it seemed they were about to turn things around when they made it 2-1 against Mainz with roughly 25 minutes left. However, VAR was on hand to correctly rule the goal out for offside. Before too long, they found themselves 2-1 behind courtesy of a Robin Quaison tap-in.
That now makes it 13 winless matches on the bounce. With Werder at home and Hannover away in their next two games, it is vital that their heads do not drop. They can take positives from the fact that all those ahead of them also continue to struggle.
Perhaps a change in manager could help? That may be the case for Bayer Leverkusen, who put in on of their best performances of the season to dispatch Wolfsburg 3-0. Kai Havertz, Julian Brandt and Kevin Volland were all on the scoresheet, displaying the attacking talent that new boss Peter Bosz has at his disposable. With his attacking philosophy, Leverkusen could be one to watch in this Ruckrunde.
In the matches between Hertha and Schalke and Bremen and Eintracht, the score ended 2-2. Whilst Hertha and Schalke were evenly matched, Werder will be disappointed not to come away with all three points against Frankfurt. They missed several good chances, perhaps lacking the clinical ability that their opponents possess, with Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic scoring two of the few opportunities their side created. Frankfurt remain in fifth place, three points behind Leipzig in fourth, whilst Bremen sit in eleventh.
Before every game, we wonder which Freiburg side will turn up. Some weeks, they are fantastic, whilst they flatter to deceive in others. This weekend, against Hoffenheim, they were somewhere in the middle. At times, they looked the most dangerous and had chances to at least earn a point. In the end, however, Hoffenheim were the victors. A brace from Andrej Kramaric, as well as goals from Karem Demirbay and Joelinton helped Julian Nagelsmann’s team to a 4-2 victory. They are now just six points behind the Champions League places as the race for Europe hots up.