The Bundesliga Diaries Editorial – Match Day 28

Expectations for a enthralling game of football were high as Bayern Munich hosted Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena. What we saw, however, was anything but. Other than a Mahmoud Dahoud chance that hit the post in the first 10 minutes, Dortmund were outplayed from start to finish by a Munich side that showed its true worth. The final score was 5-0 and, had it not been for Roman Bürki in the BVB goal, it would have been a lot more. With Reus played out of position at centre-forward due to Paco Alcacer’s injury and three central, defensive-minded midfielders, Lucien Favre’s side buckled under the pressure. Whilst the result only puts Niko Kovac and co one point clear at the top with six games still to go, there is an inevitable feel about where the title will end up.

Bayer Leverkusen versus RB Leipzig did not disappoint. Leipzig eventually ran out 4-2 winners, but not before Leverkusen had twice taken the lead, both times through Kai Havertz, whose second goal was a marvelous finish. So was Timo Werner’s to make it 2-2. With things level, the visitors were awarded a very dubious penalty, which Emil Forsberg put away. The game looked to be ebbing towards a 3-2 victory for Ralf Rangnick’s side when Matheus Cunha produced the moment of the match, scoring a stupendous goal to give his side a two-goal winning margin. As such, Leipzig’s qualification for next season’s Champions League looks as certain as ever. For Leverkusen, meanwhile, it seems Peter Bosz’s honeymoon period is over after a third consecutive loss.

The Eintracht Frankfurt train keeps on rolling forward as they won their sixth consecutive Bundesliga game in a row this weekend, against Schalke. Ante Rebic opened the scoring early on, before Suat Serdar equalized for Schalke. Despite a host of Frankfurt chances, it seemed Die Königsblauen would earn a vital point thanks to the heroics of goalkeeper Alexander Nübel. However, in the 96th minute of injury time, Frankfurt were awarded a penalty as a result of a handball. It took another three minutes for the spot-kick to be taken, but when Luka Jovic finally stepped up, he made no mistake. Schalke boss Huub Stevens was livid after the game and confronted the officials along with several of his players, but he can’t really have any complaints. Frankfurt remain in the top 4, whilst Schalke are still struggling at the bottom.

Bayern’s victory against Dortmund was not the only 5-0 of the weekend. Mainz also inflicted the same margin of defeat on Freiburg. How, though, is another matter. Freiburg dominated almost every stat, but they lacked the efficiency of their opponents. Mainz only had five shots on target, but they scored on every single such occasion, with Jean-Phillipe Mateta scoring a hattrick. This result displays the inconsistency of Christian Streich’s men: last week, they drew 1-1 against leaders Munich.

Could Hoffenheim be making a late charge for Europe? Champions League qualification may be beyond them, but they are well within the race for the Europa League. There 4-0 victory over Augsburg was the second time in a row they have scored four goals, and an advantageous fixture list could help their cause. On matchday 28, Ishak Belfodil was again Julian Nagelsmann’s man main. After being cruelly denied last week by teammate Andrej Kramaric, Belfodil finally got his first career hattrick this weekend to put the gloss on his side’s win.

Hannover are already down, according to the outgoing Martin Kind. That may not be mathematically true, but it might well as be. Their 3-1 loss against Wolfsburg leaves them seven points off 16th place Stuttgart: no teammate has ever recovered from such a deficit with just six games left. Against Die Wölfe, they could have got more out of the game. They went 1-0 up, and even at 1-1, Genki Haraguchi had two fantastic opportunities to supply his teammates with easy tap-ins. The Japanese international decided to shoot on both occasions, however, with both efforts saved. Bruno Labbadia’s side then took advantage of the poor decision-making to keep themselves in the race for Europe.

It was a big weekend at the bottom, with Stuttgart and Nürnberg facing off in a proverbial six-pointed. Nürnberg needed a win to go within a point of the relegation play-off spot, whilst a Stuttgart victory would have closed the gap to those above. In the end, both had to make do with a draw. Nürnberg took the lead through Brazilian Mateus Pereira, before Ozan Kabak levelled proceedings. Der Club’s Virgil Misidjan had two chances late on to grab all three points, but Ron-Robert Zieler was on hand to keep things level. The situation for Nürnberg is now clear; nothing other than a victory against Schalke next week will do.

Mönchengladbach’s poor form in recent weeks has been detrimental to Dieter Hecking. Die Fohle’s boss will no longer be in charge of the club next year, it was revealed last week. Their match against Werder Bremen was their first since the announcement, and his players put in an improved display. They went 1-0 up through Florian Neuhaus, and looked in cruise control. One thing is certain this season, however: Werder Bremen always score. And they did so again, with Davy Klaassen heading in to earn Bremen a point. Mönchengladbach are now four points behind Frankfurt in fourth.

The job Friedhelm Funkel has done at Fortuna Düsseldorf deserves more credit. Since the turn of the year, they have won nine from 14 games, which, across the season, would have earned them Champions League football. Their latest victory came against Hertha Berlin in midweek as they triumphed 2-1. Benito Raman’s hot vein of form continued, as he score both of his team’s goals either side of a Marko Grujic strike. The end of the season can’t come quick enough for Hertha. This is now their fourth loss in a row, and questions are starting to be asked about the capabilities of their manager Pal Dardai.