The Bundesliga rarely disappoints and despite several teams suffering from a post Europe hang-over this weekend was no exception. This weekend was a little different with no game of the week on Saturday, instead being an aptly named “Super Sunday.” Despite there being no official game of the week Wolfsburg v Bayern was obviously the top game everyone had their eyes on. There was unfortunately no repeat of the Lewandowksi show this time around. He just got the one goal. Wolfsburg battled hard against Bayern, no doubt very motivated to avoid the humiliation they endured earlier in the season.
The real action however was on Sunday with Dortmund playing host to Hoffenheim and as the title suggests two former Freiburg keepers battling it out. Roman Bürki for Dortmund and his predecessor in the Freiburg goal Oliver Baumann.The latter also going up against his former team-mate Matthias Ginter who remained on the bench. As it turns out they came a little closer to going head to head than two keepers usually would. On the subject of former players facing each other the game has another connection of that nature, Thomas Tuchel and Julian Nagelsman have a connection too. Tuchel having worked with him whilst he was the youth coach at Augsburg.
Visiting a high flying Dortmund would be nerve wracking enough for a team battling against relegation, let alone one that’s adjusting to life under new coach Julian Nagelsman. He certainly had a difficult job on his hands yet he didn’t disappoint. It’s ironic that a hard earned 1-1 draw with Dortmund was one of Hoffenheim’s few successes before sliding into the relegation battle. A lot has changed since then with the team on their third coach of the season. Naglesman was meant to take over in the summer but had to take over ahead of schedule after Huub Stevens was forced to step down because of health problems. Since taking over his presence has certainly made a difference and it most definitely showed against Dortmund. Going 1-0 up against Dortmund is incredible enough but holding onto that lead until the 80th minute is all the more so. It looked like Hoffenheim could do the impossible and hold onto what would be a vital three points, that is until Sebastian Rudy was sent off. What a day for him, his birthday, a potentially match winning goal and then a red card.
Mkhitaryan’s equaliser in the 80th minute promised an exciting end to an already pretty exciting game, and it did not disappoint. Those final nine minutes plus extra time provided plenty of drama. A late winner from Adrian Ramos who only came on the pitch ten minutes earlier and then Hoffenheim decided to throw everything at it. Even Baumann got in on the act coming up into the box in the final minutes before having to rush back. That wasn’t the end of the drama, after having a fairly uneventful and quiet game Aubameyang finally got his goal in extra time, making it 3-1. It is a result Dortmund didn’t really deserve but one that’s important for them in terms of keeping in touch with Bayern at the top of the table. It’s even more important considering they were to face Bayern the weekend after.
The latest additions to my Hansi collection, some clippings from Hoffenheim, Köln and Bayern. Plus some die Mannschaft related ones and a few Bayern and Köln team posters:
Can anything be funny, or are some things off limits?
Almost anything can be funny, I have a very dark sense of humor so there’s not many topics that I would consider off limits. There are however one or two topics that are just too painful to even consider joking about. Jokers to name one, to be more specific Russian jokers who score the equalizer just over a minute after Nils Petersen scored what I thought had to be the winner. Petersen’s goal was late, in the 89th minute and with only two minutes of extra time, a minute and 28 seconds of which had already been played, it was too late to respond in kind. I should be grateful that it ended 1-1, on the balance of play KSC deserved to win and if it wasn’t for a little bit of luck, Manzon’s goal would have been the winner. Yet I still feel cheated because for just a minute, literally a minute, I was already thinking of Freiburg returning to the top of the table.
Two Baden derbies in two days and they both ended on a similar note too. Though there is one major difference in that both Hoffenheim and Stuttgart are struggling, whereas with Freiburg and KSC they are at opposite ends of the table. The similarity is that they both ended in a draw and both with a last minute equalizer, plus in both cases it was a header.
In KSC’s case the equalizer was scored by joker Vadim Manzon who had been on the pitch for about seven minutes. And for Stuttgart their equalizer came from Timo Werner. It was not however the best goal of the game, that honour goes to Kevin Volland, but at least half of the credit has to go to former Freiburger Oliver Baumann who with his excellent and exceedingly accurate throw out (Manuel Neuer would be proud) started the move off.
KSC’s equalizer was obviously a big disappointment to me, Stuttgart’s not so much. At least now I don’t have to feel guilty or conflicted at all about rooting for Hansi’s team at the expense of Jogi’s team, or vice-versa.
When it comes to match-day two, I really don’t know where to start. Four 1-1 draws in a row, only one win for a home side, the mistake by Bayern which led to them conceding a goal in nine seconds, Hoffenheim’s missed penalty which could have seen them defeat Bayern for the first time ever or Matthias Ginter’s first goal as a Dortmund player. Only the second week back and there’s already plenty of excitement despite the unusual number of draws this weekend past.
On Saturday Bayern visited Hoffenheim and nine seconds into the game saw a misplaced pass by David Alaba which led to Kevin Volland seizing upon it and putting it past Manuel Neuer. It’s funny because Volland said he wanted to surprise Bayern, or that he thought they could. He did in a way turn out to be right, hence his new name Prophet Kevin. Though I suppose he’s more of an almost prophet now but that’s not as catchy. Hoffenheim were gifted a chance to put the game to bed when Boateng was judged to have handled the ball in the box after a free kick, but the resultant penalty hit the post and was quickly cleared up by Neuer. A Thomas Müller equaliser and a late winner by Robert Lewandowski earned all three points for Bayern.
Last season it was Weidenfeller I got to make a GIF for after he made a somewhat calamitous error, though that’s not what Neuer did. He was caught by surprise but it’s not the same thing. Didn’t stop me from making not one GIF but two though. Apparently some people thought my making a GIF of Weidenfeller’s mistake last season was a little mean-spirited. Well I’m not mocking Neuer here, consider this more of a kind of historical preservation. Things like this don’t happen often and they happen even less often to Manuel Neuer.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga Darmstadt continued their impressive start with a shock 1-1 draw at Schalke. And I was pleased to see Leverkusen beating H96 1-0. In the game of the week, Stuttgart were the visitors in Hamburg and for once I was rooting for them. I don’t normally but I’d root for almost anyone against HSV. But like last week, Saturday was just not their day and as a result, just like the beginning of last season they find themselves at the wrong end of the table. Though obviously it’s early days yet, it doesn’t look good for them. But if last season is anything to go by, they’ll do just enough to scrape by and escape by the skin of their teeth. It’s worth bearing in mind what a commentator said towards the end of last season. HSV have relied upon there always being someone worse than them. Hypothetically if they were to continue improving, and with Darmstadt and Ingolstadt not looking (at least at this early stage) as definite relegation battlers, who would Stuttgart rely on to be worse and unluckier than they are right now?
After Sunday’s games, Stuttgart are in some very strange company for currently propping up the table is Borussia Mönchengladbach after their 2-1 loss to Mainz. How strange it is, a Champions League team at the foot of the table. I bet they are regretting letting Max Kruse go right about now.
The other game on Sunday was Ingolstadt v Borussia Dortmund with the visitors continuing their fantastic start under new coach Thomas Tuchel. With their three points from the victory and their better goal difference they go to the top of the table. A terrific but not exactly unexpected 4-0 win for them against newly promoted Ingolstadt, though if you to judge by the first half and the first few minutes of the second half alone, the result would be a surprise. A result made all the better by former Freiburger Matthias Ginter getting his first goal in Dortmund colours.
There was also a moment of amusement when Roman Bürki almost got into a little bit of trouble on the edge of his box but in a fashion Manuel Neuer would be proud of managed to avert the danger:
No major surprises so far, well unless you count Hoffenheim getting knocked out by 1860 München which wasn’t really a surprise to me since I predicted it would happen. No particular reason why, no reason beyond me wanting it to happen anyway. I may have given them a nickname but that shouldn’t be taken as an indication that I like them. As Toby says in The West Wing, “I’m going to make a suggestion which might help you out. But I don’t want this gesture to be mistaken for an indication that I like you.”
I was just fixed on the idea that they would knock Hoffenheim out, and they did, deservedly so. Their victory wasn’t a fluke, they really were the better team. It’s odd, just last week they were Freiburg’s opponents and this week I’m rooting for them. Even odder is the fact that I was rooting for 1860 against one of Hansi’s teams, in Munich, strange. Hansi’s Hoffenheimers are so far the first and only Bundesliga giant to be slain. I wonder if that will change today because last season’s giant killers Arminia Bielefeld face Hertha BSC whom they knocked out last season. I feel somewhat compelled to root for Bielefeld, partly because of last season, partly because it’s where current Freiburg keeper Alexander Schowlow spent last season on loan and finally because Hertha BSC is where Vladimir Darida went. Also an exciting match-up with some potential for an upset is St Pauli against Gladbach on Monday night.
Two other Bundesliga teams came close to getting knocked out too with both Bremen and Augsburg needing extra time to overcome their opponents. Not only that but Augsburg actually went 1-0 down before equalising in the 83rd minute.
There were some small surprises, Karlsruher continuing their terrible start to the season by losing 3-1 to fellow Baden side SSV Reutlingen. Small in the sense they are a 2. Bundesliga side, the game itself was a huge surprise, three penalties which were all successfully converted and three red cards. It was on my list as a game to see, so I was disappointed to only get to see parts of it on the simulcast. But at least I got to see the best parts. Also knocked out from the 2. Bundesliga are Greuther Fürth and 1. FC Union Berlin. Weird fact, Greuther Fürth and Hoffenheim have something else in common besides both getting knocked out yesterday. They both had a former Freiburg man in goal, Sebastian Mielitz for Fürth (who funnily enough didn’t get one league start last season, only two in the Pokal) and Oliver Baumann for Hoffenheim.
Current champions VfL Wolfsburg beat Stuttgarter Kickers 4-1, former Freiburger and Gladbacher Max Kruse getting his first competitive goal in his new team’s colours. And Admir Mehemdi set up the first goal as Leverkusen beat Sportfreunde Lotte 3-0. Freiburg play today, they got drawn with a team from Hamburg by the name of HSV Barmbek-Uhlmhorst. I know nothing about them other than that they won the Hamburg Cup to qualify for the Pokal. Nothing other than the fact that they would have liked to have been drawn with another club, no doubt they had bigger fish in mind. In the words of their goalkeeper, Freiburg are a “friendly club” and are “more beatable than Bayern.”
It’s funny that he put it that way because just yesterday I got several new DVDs of old Germany matches and I was checking them out, making sure they all worked and I heard words to the effect that Jogi Löw is one of the nice guys in German football but that he rules with an iron fist. Not so long ago some people thought he was too nice in fact. Looks can be misleading. Of course I want nothing more than Freiburg to win anyway, but now I want them to do it just so they can wipe the smirk of that guy’s face.
I’m not going to say anything specific on the matter beyond saying that I’d rather Freiburg to have been drawn with someone else too. I’m not pleased about having been drawn with a side from Hamburg not at all. I have no wish to curse Freiburg and their good start to the season. Jogi Löw may not be superstitious, but I certainly am. All I will say is, Freiburg beat Bayern last season and it’s obvious that whilst he would have preferred a bigger club, truth is they’ll be glad they didn’t get them. It would make for a miserable afternoon, what was it Chandler said in Friends, “your little men are going to get scored on more times than your little sister.”
First up is a video of the complete match of 1860 v Hoffenheim, getting this more than makes up for not being able to watch Eintracht Frankfurt’s match:
Up next is some highlights, not all of them, just the ones that were of interest to me, minus the Hoffenheim ones because annoyingly whilst I have the full match I don’t have the highlights, but then I can’t complain really:
And to finish, pictures of Max Kruse celebrating his first competitive goal as a Wolfsburg player: