At the end of the season, Matchday 21 might prove to be a huge turning point for sides at both the top and the bottom of the Bundesliga. All you need to know about the latest from Germany’s top flight.
Good week for: Comebacks, the title race, Hannover, Leverkusen, Milot Rashica, Julian Brandt
Bad week for: Defenses, Nuremberg, Schalke, Markus Weinzierl
– This was Borussia Dortmund’s first wobble at the top. Blowing a three-goal lead with 25 minutes to go is a concern for the league leaders, however good they have been in recent weeks. It’s a psychological blow, and one that came without the presence of Lucien Favre who was in bed with a cold. The Swiss’ absence was not the reason for Dortmund drawing 3-3 with Hoffenheim instead of beating Julian Nagelsmann’s side – cavalier defending was. However good this team is going forward, and they were good again in this game, the fear is this will be more than blip.
– With Dortmund drawing, Bayern knew a win would reduce the gap to just five points. They swept aside a Schalke side who were second best for most of evening. There were some defensive frailities on show, but Domenico Tedesco’s side converted only one of the chances. In truth, most of the talk wasn’t even about the game or the title race. Hasan Salihamidzic’s response to Didi Hamann’s criticism of Robert Lewandowski (see the quotes section below) raised familiar concerns about Bayern and criticism.
– Peter Bosz and Leverkusen seem a perfect match. His all-out attack approach saw Leverkusen sweep Mainz aside, scoring five goals and allowing Julian Brandt to show off all his qualities in one game. Quietly, Leverkusen move into the top six and Europe is suddenly realistic for Bosz.
– Werder Bremen sealed a superb week by smashing Augsburg 4-0. Having won at Dortmund in the German Cup, Florian Kohfeldt’s team saw their southern visitors with ease – and in an anniversary kit that was a bold fashion choice. Milot Rashica stole the show, scoring early and then curling in a beauty. He had to go off with with an injury soon after, but not even that could stop Bremen’s fans bouncing their way home on Sunday. What a way to celebrate 120 years of existence.
– After surging into a position where they were level on points with Bayern Munich last week, Gladbach were brought back down to earth with a bump when Hertha Berlin came in to town to score three goals and take all three points. Pal Dardai’s side thoroughly deserved the win, with Davie Selke and Salomon Kalou impressing.
– Hannover got a huge win in their fight against Nuremberg, thanks to a brace from Nicolai Müller. The experienecd Bundesliga player was the difference in a relegation battle, but Nuremberg going down to 10 minute early in the game didn’t help. Nuremberg are drifting away from any hope of survival, whereas Hannover have put the pressure back on the sides above them.
– Markus Weinzierl might have only been in charge for 15 games, but he’s already on the hot seat. Stuttgart made the worst kind of history after their defeat to Dusseldorf (see The Stats below) and with just 10 points since arriving, Weinzierl might be the one to pay the price. Dusseldorf, in the meantime, can’t believe (neither can we) they’re 10 points clear of the relegation. Fantastic Mr. Funkel.
– Dortmund weren’t the only side to enjoy a six-goal thriller on the weekend. Wolfsburg took the lead three times, but three times Freiburg came back. Freiburg even scored again in added time but the goal was ruled out for an offside. With Frankfurt and Leipzig somehow playing out a goalless draw, this result wasn’t the only surprise of the weekend.
“No WhatsApp or Twitter – we just called Lucien Favre the old-fashioned way.” Dortmund’s assistant coach Edin Terzic on how they communicated with Lucien Favre
“There have been no talks with Bayern. Nothing has happened. I’ve watched him – the whole time.” Christian Heidel on 18-year-old talent Ahmend Kutucu, who is reportedly of interest to Bayern
“I don’t think Robert Lewandowski is a problem for Bayern Munich. Didi Hamann is a problem for Sky… What he is doing is a campaign.” Hasan Salihamidzic in reaction to former player Didi Hamann’s criticism of Lewandowski.
“It shouldn’t happen but it did happen and that’s brutal.”
Stefan Reuter on Augsburg’s poor run of form of late
With 15 points after 21 games, this is the worst Bundesliga season in Stuttgart’s history.
Jadon Sancho is the youngest ever (18 years, 321 days) player in the league to score eight goals.
Only once before has a side with 50+ points after 21 games (Dortmund’s current total) not gone on to win the Bundesliga title (Schalke in 1971 after also being five points clear of Bayern).
Joshua Kimmich now has 100 Bundesliga appearances.
Mario Götze scored his 50th Bundesliga goal.
Schalke have now not beaten Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga in the last 17 games (the last win came back in 2010).
Werder Bremen’s birthday celebrations were, as is usually the case for Bundesliga clubs, pretty epic. Fans marched to the stadium (despite the rain), the team wore a special kit and the pre-game choreography demonstrated the evolution of the club’s badge over the years. Fantastic support.