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Joachim Löw at Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund 2015/16

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Joachim Löw at Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund 2015-16 1 Joachim Löw at Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund 2015-16 2 Joachim Löw at Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund 2015-16 3

Bundesliga MD32 2015/16

With just two games left after this one the season is almost at an end but the drama is far from over. The 2.Bundesliga title race is all wrapped up but Bayern are being forced to wait until the very last minute before they can celebrate what will be their fourth title in a row. A win against Gladbach would have seen them confirmed champions but once again they failed to wrap it up with Gladbach again proving to be a thorn in their side. No big surprise really considering Gladbach were the first team to beat them this season. With that draw Gladbach now extend their unbeaten run against Bayern to amusingly enough four in a row. At first it seemed like it would be Bayern’s day with them scoring their quickest goal all season when they took the lead after just six minutes through Thomas Müller. But as it turns out it just wasn’t to be. Dortmund on the other hand had an excellent day, beating Wolfsburg 5-1. They too got off to a flying start against Wolfsburg, scoring two goals in the opening ten minutes.

MD32 was a special weekend and not just because it could have seen Bayern confirm a record breaking fourth title in a row. The other reason it was special is because of the Monday night game, a rare occurrence in the Bundesliga and only the 15th such game. It was a game well chosen, Bremen v Stuttgart, their 100th encounter. Two teams who have the second worst and worst defensive record in the league. A fixture which guaranteed goals, though just how many there were was quite a surprise. I thought Bremen could beat Stuttgart but I hadn’t expected them to score six goals in the process. Having lost four games in a row all of a sudden Stuttgart find themselves back in trouble. Bremen on the other hand move up to a place of safety. To make things worse for Stuttgart on Saturday Eintracht Frankfurt beat Darmstadt, meaning they move up to the play-off place. The only thing for sure is that nothing will be decided until the final day, just like last season it goes right down to the wire. Last season Stuttgart saved themselves by defeating Paderborn on the final day of the season. This year they end their season against Wolfsburg and with the form they’ve been in Stuttgart pulling off a similar feat wouldn’t be completely impossible. The one to watch however on the final day is Bremen v Eintracht Frankfurt. It’s a good thing in one way that H96 are already relegated, because on the final day of the season they face Bayern. That would be a horrible game to face at the end of the season knowing you needed to get something from it, not that I have any sympathy for them either way. I shall enjoy watching Bayern beat them on the final day of the season, hopefully they can correct their goalscoring problem by then. I wouldn’t mind watching Bayern put a few past them. With the title race being a lot closer this time round Bayern certainly won’t be taking it easy on the final two match-days.

Bundesliga MD32 2015-16 results Bundesliga MD32 2015-16 table 1 Bundesliga MD32 2015-16 table 2

Videos, matches first:

Bayern München v Borussia Mönchengladbach MD32 2015-16

Borussia Dortmund v VfL Wolfsburg MD32 2015-16

Werder Bremen v VfB Stuttgart MD32 2015-16

Highlights:

Bayern v Gladbach

Dortmund v Wolfsburg

Bremen v Stuttgart

Leverkusen v Hertha

H96 v Schalke 04

Mainz v HSV

Darmstadt v Eintracht Frankfurt

Hoffenheim v Ingolstadt

Pictures from Bayern’s game:

Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 1 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 2 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 3 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 4 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 5 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 6 Thomas Müller – Bayern v Gladbach 1 Thomas Müller – Bayern v Gladbach 2 Thomas Müller – Bayern v Gladbach 3 Thomas Müller – Bayern v Gladbach 4 Thomas Müller – Bayern v Gladbach 5 Thomas Müller – Bayern v Gladbach 6 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 7 Thomas Müller – Bayern v Gladbach 7 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 8 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 9 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 10 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 11 Thomas Müller – Bayern v Gladbach 8 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 12 Manuel Neuer – Bayern v Gladbach 13

Bundesliga MD31

Fresh off their disappointment in the DFB Pokal Hertha were handed the unenviable task of facing almost champions Bayern. A win for Bayern would have sealed the title this weekend but only if Dortmund lost to Stuttgart. Bayern managed to find their way past Hertha in an efficient but most unsatisfying way. Dortmund however prevented them from being able to celebrate just yet. Unlike Bayern they had no trouble getting past Stuttgart and there was no luck involved with any of their goals. Indeed after the third it seemed as if Stuttgart had all but given up. Last week Jogi Löw said he was sure that Stuttgart would avoid relegation but then he said the same thing about Freiburg last year and look how that turned out. I’m not so sure he’s right this time either, Stuttgart usually do get away with it by the skin of their teeth but their luck has to run out sometime surely. I wouldn’t make any predictions as regards who’s going to survive, with just two points between them and Bremen and only three separating them from Frankfurt I really wouldn’t. I guess next week will be the telling one, not just because there’s only two games left after that but because Bremen face Stuttgart on Monday night. The final day of the season offers up a relegation clash too with Bremen hosting Eintracht Frankfurt. I hate the fact that’s the case because those are the two teams I would hate to see getting relegated.  I hate it even more because I’m not sure I can watch it, I’m set on watching Bayern play H96 on the last day of the season just so I can watch them get relegated, getting revenge I guess. I don’t really need to watch it, I mean they are all ready relegated because of their draw against Ingolstadt and Eintracht Frankfurt’s victory on Friday. I’ve just been set on it ever since seeing the schedule, even before they were in actual danger of being relegated.

Bayern needed the first half and a little bit to get past Hertha’s defence and an impressive Thomas Kraft upon his return from injury, when they did finally do so it involved a bit of luck, Arturo Vidal’s shot taking a slight deflection on it’s way into the net. It wasn’t a pretty game to watch but their second goal certainly was, no luck involved there from Douglas Costa:

Douglas_Costa_goal_Hertha_v_Bayern_15_16Dortmund’s game was a lot more watchable thankfully, especially seeing as how it’s the one I chose to watch live. It was a game which was guaranteed goals, neither side really the goalless draw kind of team. Unfortunately for Stuttgart it was for the most part one way traffic, after dominating for the opening twenty minutes Dortmund finally got off the mark through Shinji Kagawa. From then on you got the feeling it wasn’t a question of whether Dortmund would win or not but by how many. A little over twenty minutes later on the stroke of half-time Christian Pulisic made it 2-0, a goal which makes him the youngest ever player to score two goals in the Bundesliga apparently. Dortmund killed off the game eleven minutes into the first half with the goal coming from Henrikh Mkhyitaryan. It was a particularly cruel goal for Stuttgart’s keeper Przemyslaw Tyton to let in. He was unable to get hold of the header from Ramos and could only push it out into the path of the waiting Mkhyitaryan who was never going to miss from there. My favourite moment of the match however is reserved for Thomas Tuchel, the game was highly entertaining but Thomas was almost equally as fun to watch. Once more he provides another fun GIF for my collection. The funniest thing about his reaction is all he’s arguing over is a throw-in, as if that really matters:

Thomas_Tuchel_Stuttgart_v_DortmundThe real highlight however is Jogi related and happened by accident, I hadn’t planned on watching the repeat of Leipzig’s game on Monday night but given the result I just had to. It’s a good thing I did because I got three awesome pictures of Jogi as a result, they aren’t from that game. I don’t even know what game they’re from or when. All I know is it’s a Stuttgart game:

Joachim Löw – Stuttgart game 1 Joachim Löw – Stuttgart game 2 Joachim Löw – Stuttgart game 3The rest of the weekend was very entertaining too with Köln beating Darmstadt 4-1 and Leverkusen orchestrating an impressive comeback against Schalke. Going into the game Leverkusen were in better form, in particular their keeper Bernd Leno who hadn’t conceded a goal in five games. Yet it was Schalke who took the lead, though they didn’t convert the penalty they were gifted early in the first half. The way Schalke let themselves get overrun is a fair reflection of their entire season, losing puts their Champions League ambitions in doubt, leaving them with the more realistic prospect of the Europa League again. Sunday afternoon provided more entertainment with Gladbach erasing the memory of their truly awful performance against H96 last week. It was the second game which was of more interest to me, Eintracht Frankfurt playing host to Mainz. I don’t care so much about the latter’s European ambitions but I do care whether or not Eintracht Frankfurt get relegated. It wasn’t the most attractive game you’ll ever see, not by a long shot but they got the job done. Getting just their second victory under new coach Niko Kovac, funnily enough the scorer of the winner was Anis Ben-Hatira who scored the winning goal in the other victory since Kovac replaced Armin Veh. Technically it’s an own goal because it took a deflection off Stefan Bell but that won’t matter to Eintracht Frankfurt I suppose.

Bundesliga MD31 results Bundesliga table MD31 1 Bundesliga table MD31 2Videos, interviews first:

Highlights:

Hertha v Bayern

VfB Stuttgart v Dortmund

1.FC Köln v Darmstadt

Schalke v Leverkusen

Wolfsburg v Augsburg

Gladbach v Hoffenheim

Eintracht Frankfurt v Mainz

Pictures from Bayern’s game:

Manuel Neuer – Hertha v Bayern 1 Thomas Müller – Hertha v Bayern 1 Thomas Müller – Hertha v Bayern 2 Manuel Neuer – Hertha v Bayern 2 Robert Lewandowksi – Hertha v Bayern 1 Manuel Neuer – Hertha v Bayern 3 Thomas Müller – Hertha v Bayern 3 Robert Lewandowksi – Hertha v Bayern 2 Manuel Neuer – Hertha v Bayern 4 Manuel Neuer – Hertha v Bayern 5 Thomas Müller – Hertha v Bayern 4 Manuel Neuer – Hertha v Bayern 6 Manuel Neuer – Hertha v Bayern 7 Thomas Müller – Hertha v Bayern 5 Mario Götze & Thomas Müller – Hertha v Bayern 1 Manuel Neuer – Hertha v Bayern 8 Robert Lewandowksi – Hertha v Bayern 3 Manuel Neuer – Hertha v Bayern 9 Robert Lewandowksi – Hertha v Bayern 4 Manuel Neuer – Hertha v Bayern 10 Manuel Neuer – Hertha v Bayern 11Pictures from Dortmund’s game:

Roman Bürki – Stuttgart v Dortmund 1 Roman Bürki – Stuttgart v Dortmund 2 Matthias Ginter & Erik Durm – Stuttgart v Dortmund 1 Matthias Ginter – Stuttgart v Dortmund 1 Erik Durm – Stuttgart v Dortmund 1 Matthias Ginter – Stuttgart v Dortmund 2 Matthias Ginter – Stuttgart v Dortmund 3 Matthias Ginter – Stuttgart v Dortmund 4 Matthias Ginter – Stuttgart v Dortmund 5 Thomas Tuchel – Stuttgart v Dortmund 1 Thomas Tuchel – Stuttgart v Dortmund 2 Thomas Tuchel – Stuttgart v Dortmund 3 Roman Bürki & Matthias Ginter – Stuttgart v Dortmund 1 Matthias Ginter – Stuttgart v Dortmund 6 Matthias Ginter – Stuttgart v Dortmund 7 Matthias Ginter – Stuttgart v Dortmund 8 Roman Bürki – Stuttgart v Dortmund 4 Roman Bürki – Stuttgart v Dortmund 5 Roman Bürki – Stuttgart v Dortmund 6

Bundesliga MD30 2015/16

After their disappointment in the Europa League it was back to the Bundesliga for Dortmund and the task of hosting HSV. In the reverse of the fixture they lost 3-1 and even though the title race is all but over they would have been keen to avenge their earlier loss, not to mention maintain their record as the best second placed Bundesliga team of all time. But before that was the rest of the weekend, first up on Friday night 2.Bundesliga bound H96 playing host to Gladbach. The latter are a team which have struggled on their travels, almost making them easy pickings for a somewhat revitalized H96. Despite picking up more points in their last two games than in the previous eleven relegation still seems a foregone conclusion, it would be nothing short of incredible where that not to be the case. Elsewhere in the relegation battle Bremen took full advantage of Wolfsburg’s terrible away record and picked up what could prove to a very valuable three points in a thrilling 3-2 win, not to mention putting a dent in the latter’s hopes of playing in Europe next season. Schalke, Mainz and Gladbach all have a six point gap over them in the fight for Europa League places. The two Champions League spots are beyond them with Hertha and Leverkusen having ten and eleven points more than them.

On the subject of things being out of reach survival is slipping away from Eintracht Frankfurt after losing 3-0 to Leverkusen who with that victory displace Hertha from third place. With four games left to play they’re six points from safety and with Bremen and Stuttgart above them it doesn’t look good for them. Mainly because whilst Bremen are inconsistent they are still capable of getting a result and Stuttgart have an infuriating tendency to turn things around right at the last minute. Despite them being winless in five games I can see them scraping through yet again. Frankfurt on the other hand have won just twice in the last twelve, the first of those back on MD18 when they beat Wolfsburg 3-2. They’ve won just once under new coach Niko Kovac and it’s most likely not a good sign that the win in question came against H96 on MD27. They’re not playing particularly badly, they just seem to be unlucky.

Luck is something HSV certainly did not have any of on Sunday afternoon, despite being the better team in the opening minutes of the game they went into half-time 2-0 down. After keeping Dortmund plenty busy for the majority of the first half they then conceded two goals in quick succession. In the 38th minute seventeen year old Christian Pulisic scored his first ever Bundesliga goal which gave Dortmund a little bit of confidence and before you knew it Adrian Ramos made it two just before the end of the first half, HSV’s luck did not get any better in the second. Just seven minutes after the restart their keeper Adler found himself on the receiving end of a red card for what the referee judged to be an ill-timed tackle against Shinji Kagawa. The only saving grace for HSV was the fact it happened just outside the box, meaning it was only a free-kick and not a penalty. It made no difference however because Dortmund made it 3-o anyway just four minutes before the end of the game with Adrian Ramos getting his second. Bayern also beat Schalke 3-0 in a game which was not nearly as entertaining as Dortmund’s was. Watching Bayern break down what is essentially a ten man defence was never going to be a lot of fun. The only saving grace of the afternoon was the Jogi video I got from the match, no half-time interview but then you can’t have everything.

The title race could be decided this very weekend if Bayern win against Hertha but everything else other than second place is still up for grabs. The battle for survival is proving to be every bit as tight as it was last season and could go down to the very last day again. At least this time I can watch from a distance and not have to worry about Freiburg, instead of fighting against relegation they are fighting for promotion from the 2.B. I say fighting but really the battle is over, with their 3-0 win over Duisburg yesterday evening they’ve secured their promotion status.

Bundesliga MD30 15-16 results Bundesliga MD30 15-16 table 1 Bundesliga MD30 15-16 table 2Highlights:

Bremen v Wolfsburg

Darmstadt v Ingolstadt

Leverkusen v Eintracht Frankfurt

Bayern v Schalke

Dortmund v HSV

Mainz v Köln

Thomas Tuchel – Dortmund v HSV 1 Thomas Tuchel – Dortmund v HSV 2 Thomas Tuchel – Dortmund v HSV 3 Thomas Tuchel – Dortmund v HSV 4 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 1 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 2 Sokratis – Dortmund v HSV 1 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 3 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 4 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 5 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 6 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 7 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 8 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 9 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 10 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 11 Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v HSV 12

Bundesliga MD29 2015/16

No doubt Thomas Tuchel had Liverpool in mind when he picked his team for the match against Schalke, that seems to have been the general consensus anyway. It’s also probably recognition of the fact that the Bundesliga title race is all but wrapped up by now. No team has ever overcome such a gap in the last four weeks of the season and Bayern seem unlikely to drop any points between now and then. With that in mind it seemed Dortmund were putting all their eggs into the Europa league basket so to speak. If that’s the case it’s a move which didn’t quite work out, in more ways than one. They did get a point at Schalke which is in all honesty a fair result but resting the number of players they did turned out to make no difference in the end as regards the Europa league.

The first half was largely uneventful for both sides, though overall Schalke had a few more chances. Dortmund’s best chance came in the 22nd minute for Christian Pulisic, he had just the keeper to beat but his shot went just wide. The second half things got better and fast. A fact which most likely had a lot to do with the appearance of Henrikh Mhkitaryan who replaced Mats Hummels at the start of the second half. Whatever the reasons anyway the game started to liven up and in the 49th minute Dortmund took the lead through a cheeky little goal from Kagawa. It was one of those goals which impressed everyone, even Thomas Tuchel. It was just perfect, both the lay-off from Moritz Leitner and the goal itself. Schalke had an answer almost immediately however because just three minutes later Leroy Sane pulled them level. After a largely dull first half it was a very lively and entertaining start to the second half. And things were about to get even better, not to mention stranger. Matze Ginter is becoming quite the derby expert. He scored in the reverse of the fixture too, back in November. Though his goal then was a lot more straightforward than this one. This time it was a deflection from a free kick which somehow landed perfectly for him to head into the net. Strangely enough Shinji Kagawa scored the first goal in that game too. Unfortunately for Dortmund that wasn’t the end of the goals, their lead lasted all of ten minutes. Sokratis was a bit unlucky to give the penalty away, I don’t know if it was a penalty or not. One commentator says no, the other says yes. I’d say it wasn’t but then I have to admit I’m slightly biased. If it was a penalty than Sokratis is at least lucky he only got a yellow card, since Ginter was covering Hunterlaar too, otherwise it would have been a red. Either way Hunterlaar had no problem converting said penalty, thus once again leveling the score. Despite Thomas Tuchel sending on an extra sharpshooter in the form of Aubaymeyang 2-2 is how it ended. Though not without a few more tussles and a couple more yellow cards, including one for Belhanda for elbowing Matze Ginter in the face.

Friday night saw another 2-2 draw and one which was an extremely surprising result. I know it’s not uncommon for a team who’ve sacked a coach and brought in a new (in this case temporary) one to benefit from a false revival of sorts but I didn’t think such a thing could or would happen to H96. Nor did I think Hertha would be in any danger of dropping points against them. Elsewhere in the relegation battle fellow strugglers Eintracht Frankfurt and Bremen both lost, both of them in a somewhat cruel fashion. Late goals it seems are becoming a feature for Hoffenheim under new coach Julian Nagelsmann. For once Bayern provided the entertaining game of the weekend, usually it’s their game which is a little dull to watch and Dortmund that provide the fun. Not so this time around, Bayern’s defeat of Stuttgart was plenty to fun to watch and the 3-1 scoreline flattered them a little in fact. Stuttgart may still be close to getting entangled in the relegation battle but they certainly gave Bayern a run for their money.

Bundesliga results MD29 Bundesliga table MD29 1 Bundesliga table MD29 2Stuttgart v Bayern highlights

Bremen v Augsburg highlights

Eintracht Frankfurt v Hoffenheim highlights

Schalke v Dortmund highlights

Schalke v Dortmund – 1st & second half & post-match interviews

Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 1 Sokratis – Schalke v Dortmund 1 Erik Durm – Schalke v Dortmund 1 Erik Durm – Schalke v Dortmund 2 Sven Bender - Schalke v Dortmund 1 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 2 Erik Durm – Schalke v Dortmund 3 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 3 Roman Bürki – Schalke v Dortmund 1 Roman Bürki – Schalke v Dortmund 2 Kagawa, Ginter & Ramos – Schalke v Dortmund 1 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 4 Kagawa, Ginter & Ramos – Schalke v Dortmund 2 Kagawa, Ginter & Ramos – Schalke v Dortmund 3 Kagawa, Ginter & Ramos – Schalke v Dortmund 4 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 5 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 6 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 7 Roman Bürki – Schalke v Dortmund 3 Sokratis – Schalke v Dortmund 2 Erik Durm – Schalke v Dortmund 4 Sokratis – Schalke v Dortmund 3 Matthias Ginter – Schalke v Dortmund 9 Erik Durm – Schalke v Dortmund 5Matthias Ginter - Schalke v Dortmund post-match interview 1Matthias Ginter - Schalke v Dortmund post-match interview 2Matthias Ginter - Schalke v Dortmund post-match interview 3Matthias Ginter - Schalke v Dortmund post-match interview 4

Bundesliga MD28 2015/16

The Bundesliga certainly wasted no time getting back into the swing of things after the international break.The weekend kicked off with Leverkusen v Wolfsburg in an encounter amusingly dubbed “El Plastico.” That’s even funnier when you consider Wolfsburg’s next opponents were Real Madrid who the same weekend beat Barcelona 2-1 in the real “El Classico.” Strange indeed, Real Madrid beat Barcelona 2-1 yet a few days later lose 2-0 to Wolfsburg, and the latter find themselves outclassed by a team that got knocked out of the Europa League.

The real excitement was on Saturday though with Dortmund hosting Bremen. They have a pretty good record against Dortmund, though admittedly not at Signal Iduna Park. Regardless one thing was for sure, this was a fixture which guaranteed goals. The best attack in the league up against the worst defence in the league, you wouldn’t expect anything else. Say what you like about Bremen, more often than not they are good value for money as regards entertainment. Even when they lose they manage to be watchable and exciting. It was a big game for both teams but for very different reasons, Dortmund looking to keep up the pressure on Bayern and Bremen doing their best to distance themselves a little bit further from the relegation struggle.

It was as promised a very entertaining game, even though all the drama came in the last 25 minutes. Given their respective strengths it’s a surprise that Bremen started slightly better. Even with their obvious defensive emphasis (not taking any chances they lined up with five at the back) they managed to get a few chances early on. Dortmund were a team frustrated. After a slow start they managed to get going and pretty soon it was raining down on Felix Wiedwald’s goal but he denied them, several times. He’s been unable to keep a clean sheet all season, in fact he’s the only keeper in the league not to have done so but he was world class on several occasions in this game. Even Zieler with already condemned H96 has managed to keep at least one clean sheet, ironically enough against Bremen was the first time he did so. Here’s one of those saves from the first half:

Wiedwald_save_1_Dortmund_v_BremenWiedwald_save_replay_1_Dortmund_v_BremenWiedwald_save_replay_2_Dortmund_v_BremenIt’s thanks to such efforts that Bremen went into the break with the scores at 0-0. Considering it’s Dortmund they were up against that’s an achievement in itself. Though obviously it couldn’t last forever. Sure enough just seven minutes after the restart Aubameyang made it 1-0 to Dortmund. He had little trouble outrunning the last two defenders, for Vestergaard it was a case of almost but not quite. He just got there but too late to do anything and Aubameyang put the ball over a helpless Felix Wiedwald. The drama was not done however and the game far from over. The next goal did not as you might expect come from Dortmund, though I suppose in a sense it did seeing as how the next goal was an own goal scored by Gonzalo Castro. A stroke of luck for Bremen but they wouldn’t have cared, the celebrations would suggest so. It enlivened them and gave them the confidence to look for an equaliser. Dortmund were once again frustrated and more than a little rattled. Which may have had something to do with Bremen taking the lead in the 73rd minute. Not to take anything away from Zlatko Junuzovic, it was an excellent goal. Unluckily for them however Dortmund had not one ace up their sleeve but two in the form of Shinji Kagawa and Adrian Ramos. The latter rescued them against Augsburg and he did so again here, getting the winning goal. Dortmund left it late to get their result but then it’s not the first time they’ve done so this season. Better late than never and the three points meaning they at least theoretically have a chance of winning the title. It would be incredible were it to happen but I’m not sure it will. I just can’t see Bayern dropping any points between now and the end of the season, maybe against Gladbach but that’s all. Dortmund on the other hand, it’s not unthinkable to think of them doing so.

On the subject of Bayern they had a fairly uneventful game against Eintracht Frankfurt, winning 1-0 with a pretty awesome goal from Franck Ribery. It wasn’t a great game to watch, no doubt Bayern were saving their energy for their impending Champions League clash against Benfica. Niko Kovac said they were going to Munich with the intention of trying to win, brave words indeed but not as foolhardy as they may sound. Eintracht did draw 0-0 with Bayern earlier in the season after all. As it stands they of course lost but only 1-0, that could prove to be important in their fight against relegation. Speaking of relegation H96 continued their inevitable slide down into the 2.Bundesliga with a 3-0 loss to HSV. I don’t think anyone was surprised on Sunday morning when they announced the sacking of Thomas Schaaf. I got the impression his time was up from his post-match interview and his comments after the game. I guess the only question was would he leave of his own accord or be fired. As it turns out H96’s problems are too big for even him to solve. Meanwhile elsewhere on Sunday Hoffenheim made inroads to safety with an important 1-1 draw against Köln. They left it late, very late in fact, Kevin Volland scored the equaliser in the 90th minute. In the other game Gladbach humiliated Champions League hopefuls Hertha BSC 5-0 in a hugely entertaining affair making the battle for the Champions League spots just that little bit more interesting.

Bundesliga - MD28 results Bundesliga table 1 - MD28 Bundesliga table 2 - MD28Highlights:

Bayern v Eintracht Frankfurt

Dortmund v Bremen

Mainz v Augsburg

H96 v HSV

Darmstadt v VfB Stuttgart

Ingolstadt v Schalke

Picturesfrom Dortmund’s game:

Thomas Tuchel - Dortmund v Bremen 1 Erik Durm & Matthias Ginter - Dortmund v Bremen 1 Roman Bürki - Dortmund v Bremen 1 Sven Bender - Dortmund v Bremen 1 Matthias Ginter - Dortmund v Bremen 1 Sven Bender - Dortmund v Bremen 2 Erik Durm - Dortmund v Bremen 1 Thomas Tuchel - Dortmund v Bremen 2 Erik Durm - Dortmund v Bremen 2 Erik Durm - Dortmund v Bremen 3 Erik Durm - Dortmund v Bremen 4 Matthias Ginter - Dortmund v Bremen 2 Roman Bürki - Dortmund v Bremen 2 Matthias Ginter - Dortmund v Bremen 3 Thomas Tuchel - Dortmund v Bremen 3 Erik Durm - Dortmund v Bremen 5 Matthias Ginter - Dortmund v Bremen 4 Matthias Ginter & Roman Bürki - Dortmund v Bremen 1 Roman Bürki - Dortmund v Bremen 3

Forever Seeking Clarity

I’m forever trying to make sense of things, to work out exactly what something means. It seems like I’m forever destined to be searching for some sense of clarity. A lot of the time I have no idea what I’m doing or why but then does anyone? This is precisely where I’m going wrong, expecting everything to make sense, some things just are. Unfortunately it’s in my nature to analyse and pick everything apart. In particular when it comes to other people. Now there’s are another place I’m going wrong, expecting other people to make any sense at all. But then I probably don’t make much sense to them either. Some questions I had to answer yesterday made me realise that whilst I don’t get that much about other people they probably feel the same way about me. The questions were in relation to a relative’s child who’s recently been diagnosed with autism. The gist of it was they wanted to know what the difference is between a NT nine year old and an autistic one. They’re trying to learn how best to interact with them and to figure out what’s just normal nine year old weirdness and what’s because of the autism. A little bit naive perhaps, thinking you can work that out and separate the two that way. Even more naive was them thinking I would be able to answer their question. Because as it turns out I really don’t know anything about kids. The other day I read something which said that kids with Aspergers are adults waiting to happen. That’s a perfect phrase and in a way sums me up pretty well. As it turns out I couldn’t really answer any of their questions but we had a fascinating conversation nevertheless.

Things make no more sense than they did at the start of the week but they’re getting there. Helpful on that count is Germany’s resounding 4-1 defeat of Italy and a few other amusing events this weekend. I know it’s wrong to take enjoyment from someone else’s suffering yet it’s what you do every weekend in football. Freiburg haven’t even played yet there’s still something for me to enjoy, yesterday H96 lost to HSV meaning they are now all but relegated. I mean it’s still mathematically possible for them to survive but no-one believes it’s going to happen. Not only do Eintracht Frankfurt and Hoffenheim have 10 and 11 points more than them they’re also not in nearly as bad form. This illustrates their situation perfectly, so doomed are they to relegation when they show the live table during a match they don’t even bother showing H96 in 18th place:

Blitztabelle – Bundesliga 28. Spieltag 15-16Am I being a little too gleeful about the matter? Maybe I am, but with them taking both Sorg and Klaus I can’t help but take some enjoyment from their predicament. It’s especially ironic in the case of the latter since Freiburg acquired him from Greuther Fürth when they got relegated, meaning he’s getting relegated twice in a row. In a further twist of irony Freiburg play Greuther Fürth tomorrow night. There’s plenty of things to stress out about right now but I’m ignoring all of them. Equally I’m not going to rant about the pointless of autism awareness week when the charity mainly concerned with it seems more interested in sharing misinformation more than anything else and has little interest in helping autistic adults. All I’m thinking about is tomorrow’s game and stickers, everything else can wait. Getting Matthias Ginter’s sticker is a pretty perfect way to end the weekend and just to make it a little more perfect in the same packet was the sticker of Freiburg’s kit:

SC Freiburg Trikots - Bundesliga 2015-16 stickerMatthias Ginter - Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga 2015-16 sticke

Bundesliga MD25 2015/16: Der Klassiker Round 2

Sometimes after midweek games the weekend which follows can be a little slow, lacking in both goals and excitement. That wasn’t the case the weekend just gone, though ironically there were no goals in the biggest game of all. But then it didn’t need any, what it lacked in goals it more than made up for in terms of excitement. In one way it’s a good thing there were no goals because if there had been no matter who the goalscorer was it could not have bettered Pizarro’s goal against H96.

As for the other games on Saturday in total they racked up 26 goals with three high scoring games. Stuttgart’s 5-1 defeat of local rivals Hoffenheim, Bremen beating H96 4-1 and finally Leverkusen drawing 3-3 with Augsburg but only thanks to a last minute penalty. The Stuttgart game is interesting because the last time they scored five goals in a game was also against Hoffenheim, back in 2013 when they beat them 6-2. In charge of Stuttgart at the time was none other than Thomas Schneider. Bremen’s game was special and not just because they totally destroyed H96 which naturally I found most enjoyable. The main reason for it being special is Claudio Pizarro scoring his 100th goal for Bremen, because being the Bundesliga’s oldest scorer of a hat-trick at the age of 37 just wasn’t enough. Not only that but he’s the top scorer of the Rückrunde so far, having scored eleven goals. The only other draw of the weekend was Eintracht Frankfurt’s 1-1 draw with Ingolstadt, a result which turned not to be enough to save Armin Veh’s job. No big surprise there, with seven games without a win and the fans having turned against him weeks ago it seemed all but inevitable.

Ausburg v Leverkusen highlights

Köln v Schalke highlights

Wolfsburg v Gladbach highlights

Bremen v H96 highlights

Stuttgart v Hoffenheim highlights

Eintracht Frankfurt v Ingolstadt highlights

Dortmund v Bayern highlights

Mainz v Darmstadt highlights

HSV v Hertha highlights

Bundesliga MD25 results Bundesliga MD25 table 1 Bundesliga MD25 table 2Getting back to Dortmund the result of their game was anything but inevitable. I knew only two things for certain going into this game, that it wouldn’t end up quite as one sided as last time and it wasn’t going to disappoint. After the quarter finals of the DFB Pokal I was musing whether or not it would be good to see someone else in the final this year, a nice change from the Dortmund-Bayern match-up. I’ve changed my mind on that, I want them to go head to head once more. It’s tricky because I’d love for Bremen to get there too, but I think seeing a replay of this game especially seeing as it’s Guardiola’s last season at Bayern would be epic.

To be honest I wasn’t so concerned with the result as I was Roman Bürki not embarrassing himself like he did in the reverse of the fixture. He had a much better game this time round though he still had a few shaky moments in the opening minutes of the game, making two mistakes just a minute apart. I’ve seen the game twice and yet all that’s sticking in my head is not just Bürki’s mistakes but also the two great saves he made, one denying Costa the chance to score and secondly Vidal. The second one in particular goes some way to making up for the goal he almost gifted Müller in the first half. There is one non-goalkeeper moment I remember and that’s Erik Durm’s nice little turn and subsequent shot on goal in the 18th minute. Had that been a goal it would have been incredible, he scored midweek against Darmstadt but scoring against Bayern would have been a whole other world:

Roman_B_rki_mistake_1_Dortmund_v_Bayern Roman_B_rki_mistake_2_Dortmund_v_Bayern Roman_B_rki_v_Douglas_Costa_Dortmund_v_Bayern Roman_B_rki_v_Vidal_Dortmund_v_Bayern Manuel_Neuer_mistake_Dortmund_v_Bayern Erik_Durm_chance_Dortmund_v_BayernObviously there were other important moments in the game but in the excitement the rest is forgotten and to be honest overshadowed somewhat by Freiburg’s victory over RB Leipzig on Monday night. No matter how great Dortmund’s game was nothing compares to that, not even getting the half-time interview with Jogi. What I lack in words I can more than make up for in terms of videos and pictures, getting nine videos from this week’s game:

Philipp Lahm – Dortmund v Bayern 1 Roman Bürki – Dortmund v Bayern 1 Erik Durm – Dortmund v Bayern 1 Erik Durm – Dortmund v Bayern 2 Mario Götze – Dortmund v Bayern Matthias Ginter – Dortmund v Bayern Robert Lewandowksi – Dortmund v Bayern 1 Thomas Tuchel – Dortmund v Bayern pre-match show 1 Thomas Tuchel – Dortmund v Bayern pre-match show 2 Thomas Tuchel – Dortmund v Bayern pre-match show 3Philipp Lahm – Dortmund v Bayern 2 Philipp Lahm – Dortmund v Bayern 3 Philipp Lahm – Dortmund v Bayern 4 Robert Lewandowksi – Dortmund v Bayern 2 Thomas Müller – Dortmund v Bayern 1 Thomas Müller – Dortmund v Bayern 2 Roman Bürki – Dortmund v Bayern 2 Roman Bürki – Dortmund v Bayern 3 Roman Bürki – Dortmund v Bayern 4 Roman Bürki – Dortmund v Bayern 5 Roman Bürki – Dortmund v Bayern 6 Robert Lewandowksi – Dortmund v Bayern 3 Thomas Müller & Philipp Lahm – Dortmund v Bayern Thomas Müller – Dortmund v Bayern 3 Thomas Müller – Dortmund v Bayern 4 Robert Lewandowksi – Dortmund v Bayern 4 Thomas Tuchel – Dortmund v Bayern 1 Thomas Tuchel – Dortmund v Bayern 2 Robert Lewandowksi – Dortmund v Bayern 5 Manuel Neuer – Dortmund v Bayern 1 Robert Lewandowksi & Manuel Neuer – Dortmund v Bayern 1 Robert Lewandowksi & Manuel Neuer – Dortmund v Bayern 2 Robert Lewandowksi & Manuel Neuer – Dortmund v Bayern 3 Philipp Lahm – Dortmund v Bayern 5 Philipp Lahm – Dortmund v Bayern 6 Philipp Lahm – Dortmund v Bayern 7 Erik Durm – Dortmund v Bayern 3 Roman Bürki – Dortmund v Bayern 8 Thomas Tuchel – Dortmund v Bayern 3 Thomas Tuchel – Dortmund v Bayern 4

Bundesliga MD24 2015/16: Midweek Strangeness

Writing this post before catching up on the others means my Bundesliga posts will be out of order but that doesn’t matter. The only person it bothers is me and I’m being an idiot about it, as I am with most things. I can’t put it off forever after all. MD24 was of course “die englische Woche” and it wasn’t short on drama. Two matches on Tuesday night and then seven on Wednesday. The big result of Tuesday night was Wolfsburg beating H96 4-0 with Andre Schürrle getting his first Bundesliga hat-trick. The fourth goal was scored by Julian Draxler and was nothing less than they deserved. I got a kick out of the result because the day after Freiburg beat Arminia Bielefeld 4-1. I like it, that Freiburg win by 4 and H96 lose by 4. H96 seeming to be rooted to the bottom of the table with just ten games left to play. Their chances of being relegated looking increasingly likely despite the bringing in of experienced coach Thomas Schaff. I wonder if at this point he wishes he’d stuck with Eintracht Frankfurt. No doubt they too are similarly ruing their bad luck in not being able to hold onto him. For the first time all season they’ve slipped into the bottom three thanks to Bremen beating Leverkusen 4-1 thus repeating their feat of defeating them in the quarter finals of the DFB Pokal. One fact worth mentioning about Bremen is they haven’t managed to keep a clean sheet all season, they are the only team in the Bundesliga to not have done so. This is particularly important in light of this week because were it not for an own goal by Papy Djilobodji they would have likely kept their first clean sheet of the season.

With Hoffenheim continually improving under new coach Julian Nagelsman it’s not at all difficult to picture Eintracht Frankfurt falling into 17th place and getting stuck there. As far as Bremen goes I wouldn’t dare to make any such predictions, I could see them getting stuck in the relegation battle as easily as I could see them just scraping through again.

I know some people think the Bundesliga is kind of boring, that it’s just a case of watching Bayern win yet another title. This season it’s a case of Bayern v Dortmund and then the best of the rest, Dortmund have a 15 point lead on third placed Hertha. This season it’s looked like a case of Bayern well on their way to yet another title. But this week has added a little bit of intrigue to the story. For the first time all season Bayern lost at home, losing 2-1 to Mainz. The game went as you would expect it to, Bayern completely dominating yet unable to make the most of their considerable chances. Mainz being forced to pretty much defend for close to 90 minutes on the other hand did make the most of their limited chances. Elsewhere in the league Dortmund ground out a 2-0 win away at Darmstadt, meaning the gap between them and Bayern is reduced to just five points. The final twist in the tale is that this weekend der Klassiker round two takes place with Bayern visiting Dortmund who will be looking to defend what Bayern just lost, an unbeaten home record. Dortmund unlike Bayern still remain unbeaten at home, given the 5-1 thrashing Bayern handed out in the reverse of the fixture there’s a good chance that will no longer be the case come Saturday.

I wonder who’s going to start in goal for Dortmund on Saturday, the last time round Bürki played as he’s done for every league game so far baring Thursday night. But he did not have a great game, that’s putting it mildly, it was awful in truth. It’s kind of ironic I got Roman’s sticker today, Bürki that is. Weidenfeller isn’t in this season’s album. Ironic because it’s the day after the one league game Bürki didn’t play. I also got Thomas Müller’s sticker:

Roman Bürki – Borussia Dortmund – Bundesliga 2015-16 sticker Thomas Müller - Bayern München – Bundesliga 2015-16 sticker

Videos, post-match interviews from both Bayern and Dortmund’s games with Manuel Neuer, Robert Lewandowski, Erik Durm and Thomas Tuchel:

Highlights:

Bayern v Mainz

Darmstadt v Dortmund

Leverkusen v Bremen

H96 v Wolfsburg

Pictures from Bayern’s game, first two GIFs of a very angry Manuel Neuer:

Angry_Manuel_Neuer_Bayern_v_Mainz_1Angry_Manuel_Neuer_2_Bayern_v_MainzManuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 1 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 2 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 3 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 4 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 5 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 6 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 7 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 8 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 9 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 10 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 11 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 12 Robert Lewandowski – Bayern München v Mainz 1 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 13 Robert Lewandowski – Bayern München v Mainz 2 Robert Lewandowski – Bayern München v Mainz 3 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 14 Manuel Neuer – Bayern München v Mainz 15 Robert Lewandowski – Bayern München v Mainz 4 Robert Lewandowski & Thomas Müller – Bayern München v Mainz 1 Robert Lewandowski & Thomas Müller – Bayern München v Mainz 2Some pictures from Dortmund’s game:

Matthias Ginter - Darmstadt v Dortmund 1 Matthias Ginter - Darmstadt v Dortmund 2 Thomas Tuchel - Darmstadt v Dortmund 1 Thomas Tuchel - Darmstadt v Dortmund 2 Matthias Ginter - Darmstadt v Dortmund 3 Erik Durm - Darmstadt v Dortmund 1 Erik Durm - Darmstadt v Dortmund 2 Roman Weidenfeller - Darmstadt v Dortmund

More Mini Men/Rückrunde 2015/16

I want to start the post the same way I did last year, with a picture of some more mini-men. Though these are a different kind, compared to the Jogi and Klinsi ones I got last year they really are mini. That is in size, they aren’t actually called mini-men like the others. The other difference is that they’re of Manuel Neuer and Jogi. I’m not sure the Jogi one is a good likeness but Neuer’s isn’t bad.Though the height of them is all wrong, Neuer is way taller than Jogi and pretty much everyone else (except for Mertesacker of course). For fun I added a picture of last year’s mini men too:

IMG_20160122_210706IMG_20150130_114505I also got another Manuel Neuer collectible recently, his shiny sticker from the new Champions League album. To make it even more perfect in the stickers I bought on Thursday I got the shiny sticker of none other than Robert Lewandowski. I kept them to open just before the game started, for good luck. He really does have excellent timing:

Manuel Neuer - shiny Bayern CL 15-16 sticker Robert Lewandowski - shiny Bayern CL 15-16 stickerThe first day of the second half of the season went much better than the first, not so much for Bayern but for me. I learnt my lesson from that day to always have a back-up plan and this time around I got the video of Jogi’s half-time interview plus a short video of him with Pep Guardiola. At least I know that if I don’t get much sleep tonight that won’t be the cause, I won’t spend half the night trying and failing to get that video like I did back on MD1. I can have no complaints about how today went, not everything went perfect but that’s not so important for once. What matters is the things that were most important went right, and as a bonus I got a new Hansi video too.

The game may not have been much fun and Bayern certainly aren’t at their best yet but at least Jogi was right this time around in his prediction as to who would win. Last year he predicted Wolfsburg and Bayern would draw 2-2, in reality Wolfsburg won 4-1. This time he was right but only just, he said Bayern would hold on to their lead if they didn’t lose concentration. They managed to pull one back after Xabi Alonso’s own goal not long after the first of the second half and that’s how the score stayed, 2-1 thanks to Lewandowski’s second goal. He scored their first as well which was a penalty, given after Adler brought down Müller in the box in the 36th minute. So it’s Robert Lewandowski who gets the honour of scoring the first goal of the Rückrunde. The second goal I particularly like because the first move was a long and(as usual) exceedingly accurate pass from Manuel Neuer to Thiago. Neuer was where he’s often to be found, up near the half-way line. The goal itself was excellent, as was the final pass from Müller, in both cases showcasing their quick thinking. But it’s Neuer’s part in it that I like. Firstly because I always enjoy watching his terrific ability to pick out a pass and secondly because the last time Bayern played HSV in Hamburg he was involved in another incident in the same place. He got a yellow card for a tackle made just before the half-way line. It’s good that this time I’m writing about something positive and not another incident like that.

Robert Lewandowksi penalty – HSV v Bayern – first goal of the Rückrunde 2015-16

Robert Lewandowski goal – HSV v Bayern 2015-16

Manuel Neuer - HSV v Bayern 1 Manuel Neuer - HSV v Bayern 2 Robert Lewandowski - HSV v Bayern 1 Robert Lewandowski - HSV v Bayern 2One final picture I have to add to this post to make it just like last time is a screenshot from YouTube. Last year I was obsessed with one of my Jogi videos beating a Kretschmann one in my stats. Now of course TK has been outnumbered by Jogi several times over. But both of them have been overtaken by the man of the hour Robert Lewandowski, that’s thanks to his two post-match interviews after the Wolfsburg game in the first half of the season. With those two videos alone he racked up precisely 232,846 views. So it’s fitting that he’s at the top of this week stats:

screenshot-www youtube com 2016-01-23 05-00-42On the subject of videos I made and uploaded a special one to celebrate the return of the Bundesliga, one which contains some of my favourite Jogi & Hansi moments:

As expected I got close to nothing done today but I did come up with a few interesting ideas and make some notes. The most important of these being a new alternate time-line. I currently have two Jogi & Hansi time-lines for their adventures, one starting in 2014 and one starting in 2008. I now have another one which starts in 1996 thanks to a very random conversation which I had earlier. Originally I hadn’t planned on talking to anyone at all today but they drew me in talking about some thoughts they had on a story. So intriguing was the following idea I had to make a note of it right there and then, before I even had breakfast. You know an idea’s a good one when it’s more important than getting something to eat. I just wish I could remember the conversation which led to it. I have all of the idea down on paper, all of my thoughts. But I’d really like to know what they said which led to me coming up with this idea. It’ll have to wait, they’re not going to be pleased if I wake them up at 6:00am to ask them about it. Waiting patiently is certainly not going to be easy, it’s hard enough to switch off as it is without that on my mind. I am way too excited right now, mostly because of the prospect of the Gladbach game and also because I can’t wait to get started on my new idea. But I have to get some sleep, at least four hours. I promised myself at the end of the summer that I wouldn’t let what happened on the first day of the season happen again.