After 161 days at the top of the table, Borussia Dortmund were finally dethroned on Saturday, albeit only on goal difference. That was due to Bayern Munich dealing out a 6-0 hammering to Wolfsburg. In a week that has been dominated by the news of Jérôme Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller having their international careers effectively ended by German National Manager Joachim Löw, the trio were clearly inspired to contribute to their side’s showing. Müller himself was even on the score sheet, with Robert Lewandowski also scoring twice. Serge Gnabry, James Rodriguez and Joshua Kimmich were the other scorers.
Their lead is just two goals, however, as Borussia Dortmund partly put their recent troubles behind them as they prevailed over VFB Stuttgart. The scoreline ended 3-1 but Lucien Favre’s men made a meal of a side who are still in 16th position. The scoring wasn’t opened until the 62nd minute, with Marco Reus scoring from the penalty spot. But the advantage lasted just 8 minutes before Marc-Oliver Kempf pegged Die Schwarzgelben back. Fortunately, Favre has plenty of talent at his disposal, and was able to bring on the outgoing Christian Pulisic. The American assisted Paco Alcacer as Dortmund took the lead, before adding the gloss himself in injury time.
Is there any hope at Schalke? Not after this week, one would have thought. Whilst they were able to offer a better showing against Werder Bremen, it still wasn’t enough to pick up any points, as Florian Kohlfeldt’s side won 4-2. If their fifth loss in six Bundesliga matches wasn’t bad enough, Tedesco and his players were then humiliated last night against Manchester City. Most expected a routine victory for the Citizens, but 7-0 is simply astounding. As it stands, Tedesco still remains at the helm. The question of how long continues to hang over him.
The game between Hannover and Bayer Leverkusen ended 3-2 to the side fighting for the European places, but proceedings were at times farcical. The city of Hannover was in the midst of heavy snowfall, with a noticeable amount building up on the pitch. Sören Storks was even forced to stopped the game no less than four times. One moment in particular summarized the scenes, with the host’s Genki Haraguchi thinking he had scored before seeing his shot held up on the goal line. Despite that, his side were still able to come back from two early Kevin Volland goals. However, Kai Havertz was on hand to grab the points late on with his 10th goal of the season, which makes him the youngest Bayer Leverkusen player in history to score as many in one campaign.
They were only able to come away with a 0-0 draw at home against Inter Milan in the Europa League last Thursday, but Eintracht Frankfurt’s result against Fortuna Düsseldorf was far more convincing. They still needed a stoppage time brace from substitute Sebastien Haller, who was being rested for the return leg in Milan tomorrow, to put the game to bed, but the victory takes them to within three points of fourth placed RB Leipzig.
Hoffenheim were also victorious, winning 2-1 against strugglers Nürnberg, although Julian Nagelsmann will be far from happy with his team’s performance. They dominated the ball but seldom looked dangerous. Fortunately for them, they have Andrej Kramaric up front. The Croatian’s two goals take his tally to 17 in all competitions this season. It wasn’t the perfect afternoon for him, however, as questions will be asked about his simulation in the first half that would have led to a penalty had VAR not intervened.
Mönchengladbach were back to winning ways on Saturday, as they beat Mainz 1-0. Much like Nagelsmann, though, Dieter Hecking will be expecting more from his side in the future. They appeared sluggish at times, and will be grateful that they only needed a Nico Elvedi strike to triumph. Hecking will surely be worried that his team is running out of steam as we the business end of the season.
Mainz’s loss allowed Freiburg to jump above them in the table after they beat Hertha Berlin 2-1 at the Schwarzwald-Stadion. This was a match-up between two of the division’s most stable managers. Christian Streich has been the man at the helm of Freiburg since 2011, whilst Pal Dardai has been in Hertha’s hot seat for four years himself. Streich was victorious here, and it was clear the three points meant a lot to him, celebrating vigorously as soon as the final whistle was blown. He must now surely believe that his side are safe from the dreaded drop.
That is certainly not the case for Augsburg, but they can be happy with their work in the last couple of matchdays. Two week ago, they were victorious against Borussia Dortmund and on Saturday they were able to hold RB Leipzig to a 0-0 draw to take four points from two of the best sides in the Bundesliga. Their opponents will be looking forward to getting back on the road: they have won the last four on their travels, whilst only picking up one point from the last 12 at home.