Matchday 11 Takeaways – Der Asskicker

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This weekend saw the big game in the Ruhr between Dortmund and Bayern, Schalke enter the top four, Hamburg of the rise and more misery in Bremen and Cologne. Here are Terry and Nik with their takes of Matchday 11.

Terry’s Take – Bayern pay the cost to Peter Bosz

At the beginning of October, Bayern Munich were six points behind Borussia Dortmund at the top of the table. Drastic action was called for in Säbener Strasse and Jupp Heynkes was called out of retirement for one last big score. One month later and the margin is reversed, thanks in large part to Bayern’s impressive 3-1 at Dortmund in what the marketing men at the DFL like to call der Klassiker.

The players are once again galvanised by Don Jupp, in particular Arjen Robben who was mostly unplayable. Moreover, James Rodriguez looks settled in the side. However, the stand out player for me was Joshua Kimmich who was supposed to be absent through injury but was more or less everywhere on the pitch during the match. Direct comparisons with Philipp Lahm are crude in the playing sense. However, his ever presence in the side and growing authority mark him out as a future captain and ambassador for the club.

For Dortmund it was more der Ass-kicker than der Klassiker. The early season optimism has evaporated after a dismal October. Christian Pulisic summed it up after the game when he said that it “just wasn’t enough.” Also of concern to BVB fans is the coach Peter Bosz inference that the reason behind these disappointing results is more down to the players that his tactics. The Dutchman would do well to reflect on his own shortcomings and be careful how he manages the dressing room, lest he lose it.

Nik’s Take – Werder in need of new impulses

Werder’s season has been dire so far. Under Alexander Nouri the team fell into a repetitive pattern that didn’t yield any success and at the end of his stint Nouri resorted to the same old tactical solutions time and time again when his team was in trouble. In the end The Riverislanders became too predictable, too complacent and the spark of last season was clearly lost. The team obviously liked its coach, but what the players showed on the pitch highlighted that the squad had lost faith in his approach. Former assistant Florian Kohfeldt was given the chance to prepare the Green and Whites for their important away match against Eintracht Frankfurt. Despite a very spirited performances Werder lost once again, extending the gap to safe spot in the table to five points.

It seems clear that something needs to change. A new start is needed and new ideas have to implemented. The team needs guidance and clear cut vision that pulls the squad together. After the 2-1 loss to Frankfurt it is tempting to say that Kohfeldt might not be the man best suited to bring that change to Werder. However, if one takes a look at the solutions currently touted as the most likely scenarios things don’t bode well for the future. According to Bild the frontrunners for the vacant spot at the Weserstadion are Bruno Labbadia and Maik Walpurgris. Labbadia has been a player at the club, but despite his ties to Werder there is the matter of him coaching HSV on two occasions. Add to that his tendency to burn out after one or two seasons and one wonders whether or not his record merits a hire. At best this solution is a stop gap solution and at worst one might consider it to be a rather desperate solution. Walpurgris on the other hand has one season with Ingolstadt and a mixed records from the lower league to his name. He would definitely be the cheaper solution, but given his record he’s also the riskier pick. None of the two solutions at hand bode well for Werder’s future.

If this new coach doesn’t work out for Werder Bremen Frank Baumann’s judgement needs to be questioned. His transfer policy over the summer saw no new significant new signings, which means that he thought that the squad in place was good enough to finish mid-table in the Bundesliga. If he doesn’t find a coach suited to get the best out of the team it shows a lacking vision for how Werder can survive and develop its team in the Bundesliga.

Talking Points

  1. Are we seeing a new HSV emerging under coach Markus Gisdol? The Hanseatic club registered an impressive 3-1 against 10 man Stuttgart. Seventeen year old Jann-Fiete Arp was on the mark for the second time in consecutive games. Twenty year old Tatsuya Ito has also broken into the first team squad, making his seventh appearance and staying on the pitch for 68 minutes. His longest stint so far for the Japanese winger.
  2. The VAR was up to its usual tricks again. This time at Wolfsburg where it, correctly, disallowed two Wolfsburg goals for offside during their entertaining 3-3 draw with Hertha BSC. Both were tough calls to spot. This begs the question, is it right to overrule close decision that probably couldn’t be reasonably spotted by humans? There was also the slightly farcical situation of Yunus Malli’s muted celebration when he finally scored an equaliser that counted, uncertain as to whether ot not the goal would count.
  3. The most entertaining match of the weekend was the Sunday evening clash between Wolfsburg and Hertha. The Wolves have found some measure of stability under Martin Schmidt, but so far Schmidt’s team have failed to do anything else than produce draws. The ongoing Bundesliga record of draws on the bounce has now been extended to 7 draws in a row. This time around the team from Germany’s car capital failed to win the match despite leading 2-1 and 3-2.
  4. The 9th loss of the season on match day 11 – the current record of 1. FC Köln is dire. Against Hoffenheim the Billy Goats were simply outplayed by a much better team that barely needed to get out of second gear to produce a convincing 3-0 win. After the recent shake up at the club one does wonder if Peter Stöger might be the next Bundesliga coach in line to get sacked.
  5. Gladbach has now 6 goals scored by defenders. This time around it was Jannik Vestergaard who saved Gladbach from a defeat against FSV Mainz 05.