Saturday was just not Freiburg’s day, Nils Petersen missing right in front of the goal in the 32nd minute, Mensur Mujdza getting two yellow cards and then Marc Torrejon seeing a straight red, not a few minutes after he’d just pulled one back for Freiburg. At first glance and looking at only the scoreline (3-1 in Bochum’s favour) it seems terrible, a reason to despair. And yet I’m not. Not only that but it’s not the worse thing that happened this weekend, nor is it the worst thing that could have happened. For me personally the worst thing was missing the Jogi interview on ARD. Looking at the bigger picture, you want to know how it could be worse, well ask Paderborn who got knocked for six by SV Sandhausen. And that’s not a metaphor, they really did concede six goals.
Karlsruher on the other hand after conceding an absurdly early goal to Frankfurt, I think it was about 27 seconds went on to pick up their first three points of the season. After their disastrous league start and getting knocked out of the DFB Pokal, a little rebuilding time is in order for them. Though that’s not bad thing from Freiburg’s perspective, I mean it’s one less direct competitor for the all important promotion spots.
Whilst the scoreline of the Paderborn game is a fair reflection of how badly they played, that is not the case with Freiburg because they were the better team until the sending off completely altered the dynamic of the game. Up until then they’d been the one creating chances and looking dangerous, though admittedly their finishing let them down. A little more precision in front of goal and things could have been very different. Nils Petersen’s chance right in front of goal in the 32nd minute being the key opportunity. A great ball in from Grifo, any other day and Petersen would have put it away, no doubt. Him and Grifo are combining to good effect so far, a fact which certainly takes the sting out of losing Mehmedi. Though seeing him in a Leverkusen shirt on Saturday was a painful reminder, made worse by him going on a great run to set up Julian Brandt for Leverkusen’s second goal. Seeing that you can’t help but think, how come you couldn’t deliver a little more quality like that last season. Pointless I know, but I can’t help it. Not that I make a habit of watching Leverkusen anyway but they’ll be a team to avoid unless absolutely necessary for the time being in terms of picking games to watch.
After Mujdza was dismissed in the 57th minute Bochum started to take advantage of their numerical superiority and were a little less conservative than they’d been in the first half. They didn’t have to wait long to get their first goal, just eight minutes. Misery was added by two goals from Simon Terodde in the 70th and 75th minute. Marc Torrejon’s goal in the 83rd minute was to prove a mere consolation goal. At the time though it seemed like pulling another two back wasn’t impossible, unlikely but not impossible. At least that was the case until Torrejon’s dismissal in the 89th minute. I’m not going to waste time arguing the rights or wrongs of either of the red cards. Firstly because it’s pointless to do so and secondly because in the case of Torrejon, there’s no argument to make. In the heat of the moment you feel hard done by, when it comes to your own team and especially in a tense match like this one, any sense of reason tends to disappear. But after watching the replays I can see how high his boot was. Mujdza on the other hand, that I’m less sure about. Terodde is convinced it was the right decision but then he would be, wouldn’t he. It didn’t look like he elbowed him to me, I’m even less convinced because of the way they managed to take Mujdza down with them. I know there’s no point obsessing over it, so I’m not. It’s not another Kacar situation, this is not something I’m going to be talking about or even thinking about three months from now.
With that defeat, Freiburg obviously don’t get to hang on to their position at the top of the table and after results elsewhere, they slip down to fifth place. Disappointing but not the end of the world, far from it in fact considering the company they are in at the moment. Bochum and Sandhausen (the three points docked from them before the season started for licensing irregularities coming in useful here) are mid table strugglers normally, St Pauli only just avoided getting relegated last season. In the top five only Leipzig are a direct competitor for promotion.
I know it’s just superstition and is completely meaningless but I’ve just seen the schedule for the rest of the season and on the last day of the season they’ll be away from home, playing Union Berlin. It’s the fact they’re away from home I’m unhappy about and it’s not because I’m thinking that if everything were to go right, they’ll be celebrating their return away from home. No, I’m thinking that they were away from home on the final day of last season and look how that turned out. Though obviously that’s not going to happen again. Just like Saturday’s defeat however, it could be worse. Spare a thought for Duisburg who have to face Leipzig on the final day of the season. Of course if they continue struggling the way they are, it may not matter. Their 2-2 draw against Bielefeld might indicate some signs of improvement but I wouldn’t draw any hasty conclusions from that. They went 2-0 down and only managed to get back on level terms after Bielefeld had a man sent off.
Fortuna Düsseldorf are up next for Freiburg and they are without a win so far, here’s hoping Nils Petersen can enjoy some target practice and have some fun in his usual manner. Seeing as how they’re away it would be cool if my new shirt were to get here in time, though I think that’s unlikely give that the eight days for the custom printing are up tomorrow. Plus one to two days for dispatch time, it and the rest of my order will be dispatched by the end of the week at least. But then again, my home shirt miraculously arrived on the day of their first game of the season, so maybe there is some hope.
The week after is a Baden-Württemberg derby because they’ll play host to SV Sandhausen. Not only that but it’ll be Jogi’s team vs Hansi’s team. Speaking of that scenario MD1 of the Bundesliga offered such a match-up, Stuttgart vs Köln. Stuttgart have a terrible record against them, all the more so at home. They haven’t won any of the last ten games again Köln at home. And saving the best fact till last, the last time they beat Köln at home was in the 1996/97 season when they won 4-0. A very special fact because that was Jogi Löw’s first season in charge of Stuttgart. And a fact I’m not so fond of, the first goal was scored by one Thomas Schneider. The reverse of the fixture that season was no doubt spectacular too, Stuttgart won 5-1.
It’s strange, Freiburg and Stuttgart have something in common this weekend, something beyond both being south-western teams and being a former team of Jogi Löw. In both games one event completely changed the way the game was going and ended up in the result not really reflecting the overall balance of play. In Stuttgart’s case it was a penalty, for them it all went downhill from there. Just like Freiburg they lacked that killer instinct in front of goal and also had the misfortune of some near misses. It’s not how they would have wanted to start the season but there are some positives they can take from the game, their improved organization defensively speaking for one thing, lack of which cost them dearly last season.
On MD2 they face HSV which should prove interesting but it’s MD3 that I can’t wait for, then they play Eintracht Frankfurt. Both matches last season provided plenty of goals, nine in Frankfurt and four in Stuttgart, the results being 5-4 and 3-1 in Stuttgart’s favour. It’s an encounter made all the more interesting by who Frankfurt’s current coach is, one Armin Veh who left Stuttgart prematurely last season of his own accord. Funnily enough Stuttgart will be facing a familiar face on MD2 as well, because Bruno Labbadia who’s currently in charge of HSV was in charge of Stuttgart from 2010 to 2013. And continuing the trivia, he was replaced by Thomas Schneider in 2013 who was fired after seven months in the job. Stuttgart’s saviour that season was of course Huub Stevens who did the same job last season. That was a little longer than I’d intended and technically should be in the MD1 Bundesliga post, but it may as well stay here. As for the diversion, well I am a sucker for random trivia, what can I say, I couldn’t help myself, all those random facts served up like that.
To finish up, the video of the highlights.Then the post match interview with Nils Petersen:
And whilst there are obviously no celebratory pictures this week, I can at least include one nice picture of him from before kick-off: