This week saw the return of Jupp Heynckes to the Bayern coaching bench, Hertha Berlin made international headlines and RB Leipzig were the first team to beat Borussia Dortmund. Here are our match day 8 takeaways.
Terry’s take – BVB and Leipzig give us the best of the Bundesliga
On Saturday evening, two of the best clubs in the Bundesliga produced an uncompromising display of attacking football that should go down as one of the best games of the year. The match between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig took place amidst the backdrop of more protests from Dortmund fans against their opponent’s owners. It was also an important game for the title race, particularly in view of Bayern’s thrashing of Frieburg under returning coach Jupp Heynkes.
You would not expect BVB to surrender a 41 game undefeated home streak easily and the shift that Leipzig had to put in to earn the 3-2 win will win them grudging respect despite the club’s controversies. The way Bruma nearly skinned Jeremy Toljan for his assist to the second Leipzig goal tells you all you need to know about the club’s approach to playing the game. It also tells you where Dortmund’s weakness lie. Peter Bosz has injury problems with his full back with Łukasz Piszczek, Marcel Schmelzer, Erik Durm and Raphaël Guerreiro currently on the treatment table. It also illustrates what some regard as a tactical failing on the part of the coach who likes to keep the team as high up the pitch as he dare.
The result moves Leipzig up to third and reduces the gap at the top of the table to just two points between Dortmund and Bayern Munich. The leaders need not panic as they will not play Leipzig every week. However, the neutral can sit back and look forward to a real title race in the Bundesliga this season.
Nik’s take – Werder in deep trouble
Alexander Nouri gets to stay in charge of Werder Bremen. This match day highlighted why the Green and Whites struggle at the bottom of the table once again. Against Gladbach Nouri’s team managed to create 3 good chances, but in the end the Riverislanders were toothless for most of the 90 minutes. Not taking the few chances they created, being horrifyingly bad at the back at times and lacking aggression throughout the entire match paints a dire picture of how bad things have gotten at the Weserstadion after the lackluster start to the season.
Up top Fin Bartels is clearly missing Max Kruse and seems like a different man compared to the great player he was last season. New signing Ishak Belfodil has had a tough start to his career in the Bundesliga and so far he seems like a foreign element in Werder’s set up. Even mainstays like Thomas Delaney have struggled to lift the team at times of dire need. Ahead of the match the officials at the club were hoping that the return of former Austrian international Zlatko Junuzovic could work wonders for the team, but this time around the 30-year-old midfielder showed clear signs of lacking playing time of late due to injury.
Not everything has been bad so far this season. The team held its own against tough opponents like Hoffenheim and Bayern and it could have been victorious in some of their matches if they had taken their chances. However, these ifs and buts don’t put points on the book and that is the only thing that can help Werder at the moment. The match against 1. FC Köln next week seems likely to be a make or break game for Alexander Nouri’s future at the club. If the team manages to pull off a win he is likely to stay for a couple more weeks at least. If not, there’s going to be some disruption at the Weserstadion.
1. The national anthem isn’t playing at the start of Bundesliga matches, but the nevertheless Hertha BSC and its players managed to show solidarity with the ongoing feud between the NFL players and president Donald Trump. Taking knee showed solidarity with the NFL players fight to highlight racial inequality and the police brutality faced by some black communities in the United States. The idea came from the club officials and the players themselves agreed straight away according to the club.
2. If you were to award a weekly impact player award then Michael Gregoritsch of FC Augsburg would be a front runner for the last matchday. The Austrian replaced Alfred Finnbogason after 62 minutes and thirteen minutes later his first touch to control Philipp Max pass was perfect. It set him up for the first equaliser against high flying Hoffenheim. The game finished 2-2 and Augsburg continue their upward trajectory under Manuel Baum.
3. Eintracht Frankfurt are on their way up the table. After some initial doubts after the first two match days the Eagles have managed to get 4 wins from their last 6 matches. This time around a later winner by Ante Rebic meant that all three points were abducted from Hannover and taken back to Germany’s financial capital.
4. Four draws on the bounce after Martin Schmidt took over as coach and Wolfsburg are still struggling at the bottom of the table, but the Swiss sees the positive sides in his team’s performances so far. “We are hard to beat”, Schmidt told the press after the 2-2 draw against Leverkusen. If his team gets another draw next weekend against Hoffenheim the Swiss manager would be the fourth coach in Bundesliga history who would start his career at a club with 5 draws on the bounce(which to date is the Bundesliga record).
5. The DFB didn’t necessarily take the pressure of its referees when the officials stated that VAR would be implemented seamlessly and without any problems. The next problem arose when ref Benjamin Cortus decided to award 1. FC Köln a penalty in extra time, before taking the decision back after a lot back and forth. The decision itself was rather doubtful and it goes to show that the system does more harm than good whenever there is a borderline call.