The best of German football from the Bundesliga and beyond
You may remember The Fundesliga's recent remark regarding the Bundesliga, and how it is definitely not boring and predictable. Well, thanks to another superb weekend of godly German football, that remark once again rings true.
That said, though, The Fundesliga must hold its e-hands up and admit that its prediction for the Wolfsburg vs Hertha Berlin game was as off-target as the home team's shooting – but results like their 5-1 hammering show the quality and entertainment that the Bundesliga provides week in, week out. Absolutely top notch.
RESULTS Fri Mar 19 FC Köln 1-1 Borussia M’gladbach Sat Mar 20 Borussia Dortmund 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen, Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 FC Bayern München, FC Nürnberg 0-0 1899 Hoffenheim, SC Freiburg 1-0 FSV Mainz, VfB Stuttgart 2-0 Hannover 96, Werder Bremen 3-2 VfL Bochum Sun Mar 21 Hamburger SV 2-2 Schalke 04, VfL Wolfsburg 1-5 Hertha Berlin
After a simply shocking performance by league leaders Bayern München, one might have expected to see either Schalke or Leverkusen in pole position come Sunday evening.
But no; while Bayer Leverkusen were busy bottling it against bitter rivals Borussia Dortmund at Saturday lunchtime, last weekend's momentary table-toppers from North Rhine Westphalia were preparing themselves for a trip to Hamburg. Could die Königsblauen inflict upon their opponents a second successive league defeat for the first time this season?
No. Despite going into the final 15 minutes 2-1 up, courtesy of goals by the resurgent Kevin Kuranyi and a penalty from Croat Ivan Rakitic, they managed to throw it away and allow the hosts to take a point from the game.
But the equaliser wasn't Hamburg's highlight. With the score still at 1-2 and Schalke having carved open the HSV defence with a sumptuous move down the right, Hamburg's Venezuelan defender Rincón produced what can only be described as a goal-line block and writhing header. While laying on the ground. Behind the goal-line.
If there's been a better goal-saving effort than that, we're all ears: Post a clip in the Comments section below.
But the weekend's most eye-catching result was elsewhere. Isn't it funny what a few hundred pole-wielding maniacs can do to a team's performance? Perhaps the Wolfsburg-Hertha Berlin encounter ought to be put into a bit more context.
The home team are the current Bundesliga champions, top of the form table (and facing Fulham in Europe). The capital-city visitors were facing former manager Dieter Hoeneß with current manager Friedhelm Funkel having already accepted that they are going down.
Just one week ago Hertha had their home pitch at the Olympiastadion stormed by furious fans after they lost to fellow relegation candidates FC Nürnberg. This weekend, though, those same fans were jubilant, rejoicing in a victory against all the odds.
A wonderful hat-trick by Greece striker Theofanis Gekas put Wolfsburg to the sword, and the victory provided Hoeneß with enough evidence that perhaps his team's relegation isn't done and dusted just yet.
“We've got nothing left to lose," he told Bild (Germany's version of The Sun). "We've now got a chance once again – there are now 'just' five points between us and the final relegation place.”
And it's getting very interesting at the bottom. FC Köln and VfL Bochum's results – respectively, a home draw with Borussia Monchengladbach and an unlucky defeat at Werder Bremen – draw them ever closer to the drop zone, especially with SC Freiburg and FC Nürnberg both picking up points. Is Lukas Podolski heading back to the second league with Köln?
Meanwhile, Stuttgart, adrift below the European slots with pretty much nothing to play for but pride, cantered to a 2-0 win at home to strugglers Hannover. Next up for the away team is a home match against FC Köln – a home win next Saturday and Poldi's goal-shy team could potentially be just two points off 17th place. It's all getting a bit tense down there...
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