The Winners and Losers of Bundesliga Matchday 31

The Winners

Werder Bremen

In their must-win relegation six-pointer against Paderborn, Werder did exactly that and won with a display few saw coming. Their performance which saw them score five against their fellow strugglers was like nothing witnessed in recent weeks with Davy Klaasen scoring twice and substitute Niclas Füllkrug also getting on the scoresheet to end a nightmare 9-month injury layoff.

With Fortuna Düsseldorf also losing to Dortmund, Werder not only moved level on points with the team in the play-off spot, but greatly improved their goal difference, which is now only one inferior to Fortuna’s. They do however have Bayern up next, which should bring them quickly back down to earth.

“The team can enjoy it until we get back off the bus in Bremen” coach Florian Kohfeldt said. “We’re still in an automatic relegation position. Nothing’s done yet. But we can take away from the game that we can perform under pressure. We’ve got Bayern next on Tuesday. That will be difficult enough.”

Dani Olmo

With all eyes on the returning Julian Nagelsmann and Timo Werner in his quest to catch Robert Lewandowski in the scoring charts, few people would have predicted Dani Olmo would steal the show against Hoffenheim. But steal the show he certainly did.

After the home side had been denied a penalty by VAR, the Spaniard score twice in the space of two minutes to stun a trainer-less TSG side, whose overall performance probably deserved a share of the spoils.

“I just feel good. I think the whole team had a very good game and the whole team helped towards the win, not just me” he said in an interview after the game.

“We are happy about this. It feels great to bag my first brace for RB Leipzig. But the win is more important, I’m more pleased about that. It gives us a lift ahead of our remaining games. We want to win every game, take nine points and reach the Champions League!”

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Union Berlin

A 2-1 win at Köln was a huge step for die Eisernen in their quest to prolong their Bundesliga adventure. Their promotion from 2. Bundesliga was seen as a fairy tale at the time, but relegation after just 12 months would not be the happy ending many observers would like to see.

The three points, secured with goals from Marvin Friedrich and veteran Christian Gentner, see Urs Fischer’s side now 14th and a full seven points clear of the relegation places with just three games remaining. A home game with Paderborn in midweek could seal their place in next season’s Bundesliga.

“It was a competitive game, but we were prepared for it” coach Urs Fischer said. “The team implemented our plan over 90 minutes very well. We try to help the boys in difficult phases like last time, but first and foremost the player has to clear his head. And I had a very focused and calm experience before the game. It is now up to us to finish the job against Paderborn and that will be the challenge.”

Erling Haaland

Having sat out the previous two games with the knee injury picked up against Bayern in the Klassiker, Haaland came off the bench against Düsseldorf and did what he does best- scored.

Just when it seemed a plucky display from the home side had won them a deserved point in their fight against relegation, up popped the Norwegian striker with a 95th minute headed winner for the Schwarzgelben at the Merkur Spielarena.

It was Haaland’s 11th league goal of the season (12 appearances) after only joining BVB in January. His goal not only sealed all three points as the club look to keep their slim title chances alive, but also saw the club equal their record goals tally for a single Bundesliga campaign (82) with three matches still to play.

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André Silva

The introduction of the striker at half-time and Adi Hütter’s switch to two striker s was the key to Eintracht’s impressive 4-1 win over Hertha Berlin on Saturday. Silva scored twice and provided an assist to cap a fine personal display.

His vision picked out Bas Dost for the equaliser and then he provided an audacious finish to put the finishing touch on Daichi Kamada’s mazy run. His goal, which made it 4-1 saw him time his run to perfection to beat the Hertha offside line.

“On the bench I thought about how I can help the team when I come in” Silva revealed at the final whistle. “Everyone was full of self-confidence because we had one more player. I came in with my power, that’s it. I am getting better, mentally, and physically. I work hard every day. You don’t always do the right thing, but today I felt very good and it worked well.”

The Losers

Fortuna Düsseldorf

If Werder Bremen took a huge step forward in their quest to avoid the drop, then Fortuna sunk further into the mire that has them bogged down in the bottom three. Despite a very good display, which Lucien Favre admitted deserved a point, they once again left empty handed and then had the bad news arrive from Paderborn.

Werder face Bayern in midweek, but Fortuna have an equally tough ask as they travel to Leipzig. It will come down to the final two games of the season for Uwe Rösler’s side against Augsburg and Union Berlin, with Bremen in contrast facing Mainz and Köln.

VAR

The Video Assistant was once again in the spotlight this weekend with some highly contentious decisions. Dortmund, and Raphael Guerreiro in particular, were incensed at the handball decision that cost them a goal against Düsseldorf. The Portuguese saw his fine effort disallowed for a handball, which was so high on his shoulder that it couldn’t have been further from his hand if he’s tried. Hands are used to tie shoelaces and chop the top off a boiled egg- you’d struggle to do that with your shoulder.

Then over in Berlin, Dedryck Boyata was controversially sent-off for a professional foul on Bas Dost although if anything it was Dost, who was being the cunning professional. There was no discernible movement from the Hertha defender and the Adler striker clearly forced the touch which took him down. The VAR should have spotted that and overruled but even after consultation, the Belgian was sent off, although the original penalty was changed to a free kick just outside the box. His second yellow card was also converted to a straight red.

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Hertha Berlin

The honeymoon looks to be over for Bruno Labbadia after a second successive loss and it wasn’t just the red card that caused their heavy defeat at home to Frankfurt. The Old Lady were poor defensively throughout the game and went from 1-0 up at the break, to 4-1 down at the end.

“The team has been pushing boundaries for weeks, so it’s not surprising that we have some mistakes to talk about” Labbadia explained. “We will spend a long day mulling this over and think of something.

“We let the opponent get past us too easily and we weren’t consistent enough. Every defeat hurts me, and the morning after never feels good. We still have a lot of work to do, but we are on the right track and we will walk it together.”

Klaus Gjasula

Last weekend saw the Paderborn defender equal the record for the most bookings in one season, and this weekend against Werder, he broke the record to record his 17th yellow card of the campaign.

The fact that it took the Albanian 31 minutes to find his name in the referee’s book was the only real surprise of the afternoon at the Benteler Arena.

#thuglife

Schalke

Let’s keep this short and sweet (because it’s getting a little repetitive). The Königsblauen’s failure to win at home to Bayer Leverkusen extended their winless run to 13- an unwanted club record.

The result leaves David Wagner’s men winless since January’s 2-0 victory at home to Mönchengladbach and sees them drop to ninth in the table having been third in December.

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Taiwo Owoniyi

The Nigerian on loan from Liverpool started the day in the Mainz starting line-up to face Augsburg but finished it in hospital.

Striker Awoniyi was hospitalised with a severe concussion after a horrible clash of heads with Felix Uduokhai during his side’s 1-0 defeat to Augsburg. The 22-year-old was left motionless after landing awkwardly following an aerial collision with the defender in the first half.

He was stretchered off with his neck in a brace after a long delay while he received medical attention on the pitch. There was however some positive news after the game. “We have received the all-clear from the doctors,” said Mainz coach Achim Beierlorzer.

“He has regained consciousness and can remember the things that happened. He has a severe concussion and has to stay in hospital for observation.”

About Mathew Burt 190 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball

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