Matchday 27 of the newly restarted Bundesliga may have lacked fans (aside from the cardboard ones), but it did not lack for excitement and talking points. The race for the title continues in earnest, the fight for European places is hotting up, while the battle to beat the drop is intensifying. So, who were the winners and losers from matchday 27?
Hertha had a point to prove in the Berlin Derby after their rather abject showing in the first clash at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei back in November. And prove a point they certainly did with a 4-0 win at the Olympiastadion.
New trainer Bruno Labbadia will be more than pleased with the win achieved on Friday thanks to four second half goals and another inspired performance from veteran Vedad Ibisevic who provided a goal and two assists. The night was doubly special for Brazilian Matheus Cunha who scored the third goal and then welcomed the birth of his first child later that evening in a Berlin hospital.
The doom and gloom haven’t been permanently lifted from Werder, but a desperately needed three points were secured against Freiburg on Saturday. A sublime pass from Davy Klaasen fed Leonardo Bittencourt, who made up for his profligate shooting against Bayer Leverkusen in the previous match to score the only goal of the game.
Florian Kohfeldt’s side had been winless in the last seven Bundesliga matches and were doing their best to replace Paderborn at the bottom of the table. They are by no means out of the woods, but at least it shows there is a spark that could catch and help fire them out of the danger zone.
Although not exactly a play-off to decide Champions League places, Saturday’s derby between Gladbach and Leverkusen will go a long way to deciding the final league positions of the respective sides. It was the Werkself who triumphed at a cardboard cut-out filled Borussia Park with Kai Havertz once again instrumental.
Peter Bosz’s side made it two wins from two since the restart and leapfrogged the Foals into the top four as a result. The run-in will be a tight-run thing, but the ball is now very much in Leverkusen’s court.
Bayern Munich/ Thomas Müller
Another win for Bayern as they march towards yet another Bundesliga title and it was Thomas Müller, who was singled out at the end for special praise by trainer Hansi Flick. “Today we also have to mention Thomas Müller, who used space very intelligently and was involved in some of the goals” he said
The attacking midfielder scored one and provided an assist in the 5-2 win over Frankfurt. With his 17th assist, he beat his personal best from the 2017/18 season and equalled another record: Since the beginning of detailed data collection in 2004/05, only Kevin De Bruyne, in 2014/15, and Jadon Sancho, in 2019/20, have had as many assists after 27 matchdays.
Speaking after the match Müller looked forward to another title-winning party in the city’s Marienplatz. “It was an absolutely crucial Bundesliga match for us. We wanted to follow suit after Dortmund’s victory. Hats off to the team, we displayed a certain doggedness. We must push to our limits. We did that quite well. The two goals we conceded don’t look so good of course but taken altogether our performance was pretty good.
“Against Dortmund we’ll show we can play with an extreme amount of passion, even without spectators. It’s a crucial week for us. We’ve set out to achieve three victories. We’re marching on. Dortmund are marching on. We have reason to look forward to Tuesday. We want the title in Munich, where it belongs.”
Having scored a hat trick and providing three assists in Leipzig’s 8-0 win over Mainz in the Hinrunde, Timo Werner must have been confident of ending his goal drought when die Roten Bullen visited Mainz on Sunday. The RB striker had previously only found the net once in his previous eight Bundesliga outings
That confidence was well-placed as the 24-year-old helped himself to another hat trick to keep up the pressure on Robert Lewandowski in the race for the Bundesliga Torschützenkanone for the league’s leading scorer. The Bayern striker has 27 with Werner now just three behind on 24.
Another pretty dismal performance from Schalke saw them slump to a 3-0 home defeat to Augsburg extending their run of games without a win in the Bundesliga to nine. In that time, they have conceded 22 goals and scored a measly four.
They never looked like changing that poor run with just two shots on target all game against Fuggerstädter. David Wagner’s side have gone from the fifth best in the Hinrunde, to the worst so far in the Rückrunde.
Hoffenheim’s central defender undid all the good work done by Robert Skov’s 4th minute opener at Paderborn by making a right hash of a simple pass allowing Dennis Srbeny to equalise. Talk about serving it up on a plate.
Words don’t do it justice, so watch, and see for yourself the mess he got himself into.
The defender was man enough to face the cameras after the match saying: “My mistake before they levelled the score at 1-1 was obviously totally frustrating. I controlled the ball but then it unfortunately got stuck in the turf. That’s why I didn’t make proper contact with the ball. And then of course Srbeny had to go and hammer it home like that.
Felix Klaus/ Phillip Bargfrede
The first red cards since the Bundesliga restart, we shown this weekend to Wolfsburg’s Felix Klaus and Werder Bremen’s Philipp Bargfrede. Klaus was given a straight red by referee Daniel Siebert for catching Manuel Akanji on the calf. It was a foul that looked much worse in slow-motion, a fact that did him no favours when VAR was consulted.
Bargfrede was shown a second yellow right at the end and it was that free kick that led to Freiburg’s disallowed late equaliser. As he disappeared down the tunnel, he thought he had cost his side a vital win.
Freiburg/ Var (again!)
For the second weekend in succession, Christian Streich’s Freiburg were denied a last-minute goal by VAR. Last weekend against Borussia Dortmund the Video Assistant cancelled out Robin Koch’s potential winner and the Breisgauer were on the wrong end of an offside decision once again at home to Bremen on Saturday.
This time it was Nils Petersen denied in the 89th minute by yet another VAR-assisted offside decision. Again, a correct decision, but that doesn’t make it any easier to take for Freiburg fans.
As bad weeks go, it’s been pretty bad for Schalke keeper Nübel. The news that Manuel Neuer had signed a new three-year contract extension at Bayern Munich threw his future next season into disarray. His chances of instantly moving to the Allianz Arena as number one look extremely thin and he looks set to be no more than Neuer’s understudy (the new Sven Ulreich).
Then to make matters worse, he was again only named on Schalke’s bench for their game at home to Augsburg, despite Markus Schubert having a far from impressive game last week against Dortmund. Do Amazon sell time machines?
While not a complete surprise, the news that Mario Götze was going to leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season, still had a strange feel about it.
Prior to kick-off against Wolfsburg BVB sporting director Michael Zorc told Sky Deutschland: “I have had a very good conversation with Mario in the past few days. We have agreed that we will not continue our cooperation after the season.
“I think that is in the best interests of both parties. Mario is a really good boy and I think this season he will still be important to us.”
The midfielder was an unused substitute in the 2-0 win and must now try to find a new employer for next season.