Thomas Müller/ Robert Lewandowski
With Joachim Löw announcing his intention to step down as Bundestrainer following this summer’s European Championships, speculation has begun that he might be prepared to recall both Mats Hummels and Thomas Müller to the national team.
Müller is certainly making that decision look like a no-brainer with his form this (and last) season and two more assists against Werder Bremen in Bayern’s 3-1 win have only strengthened his case. He now has 13 assists for the season to go with his record-breaking 21 from last season. The Raumdeuter loves playing Werder having netted ten goals in 23 Bundesliga and adding 16 assists the Grün-Weißen.
Despite hitting the bar/ post on three separate occasions, Bayern striker maintained his quest to equal/ break Gerd Müller’s longstanding 40-goal scoring record by hitting his side’s third goal of the afternoon.
It is now 32 goals for the season with nine games left. The seemingly unbreakable record looks in danger.
The quest for a top four finish and a place in next seasons Champions League was given a big boost this weekend with die Wölfe’s comprehensive 5-0 demolition of hapless Schalke at the Volkswagen Arena.
A first half own goal broke the deadlock, and in the second 45 minutes it was one-way traffic as Oliver Glasner’s side put the Königsblauen to the sword. Wout Weghorst, Ridle Baku, Josip Brekalo and Maximilian Philipp were all on target to cement Wolfsburg’s place in the top four. They are now third, six points clear of Borussia Dortmund in fifth.
“When it finishes 5-0, everyone’s very satisfied” Oliver Glasner said afterwards. “Overall, we’re very pleased with the performance and it confirms what we’ve always said – that we’re a very solid team, so one or two absences don’t destabilise us. That’s actually what pleases me the most.”
For the first time since matchday 18, Bielefeld find themselves out of the Bundesliga bottom three after a surprising away win at Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday.
It was very much a Japanese inspired victory for new coach Frank Kramer with goals from Ritsu Doan and Masaya Okugawa providing the strugglers with their first three points of the Rückrunde.
The dream of Bielefeld fans to stay up so that they actually enjoy topflight football at the Schüco Arena lives on.
Union Berlin’s ever ready source of set-piece assists bagged his first-ever Bundesliga goal at the 54th time of asking with the winner against Köln. With the scores level, the 34-year-old thumped home the eventual winner after getting on the end of a Julian Ryerson cross at the back post.
The captain is certainly more used to being the provider, but on Saturday at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, it was his goal that maintained die Eisernen’s push for an unthinkable top six finish.
Hertha Berlin/ Rune Jarstein
If last week’s long-awaited win over FC Augsburg provided a much-need boost, Saturday’s loss at Borussia Dortmund provided the reality check that Hertha is very much still involved in a real fight against relegation despite the club’s lofty ambitions this season.
It was a goalkeeping aberration from Rune Jarstein, that put BVB on the way to the three points. Julian Brandt’s speculative shot from distance looked a bread and butter save for the Hertha keeper, but the ball seemed to pass straight through him as he completely misjudged the flight.
The defeat, compounded by a late red card to Vladimir Darida, a Yousouffa Moukoko goal and results elsewhere plunged the capital club into the bottom three. It’s getting serious now for Pal Dardai as the results need to change- and change quickly.
Schalke/ Shkodran Mustafi
Another weekend, another abject display from Schalke and sadly another step closer to the dreaded drop for the Königsblauen. They had defended well for the opening 30 minutes at the Volkswagen Arena to high-flying Wolfsburg, but a bad slice inside the box from Malick Thiaw saw Shkodran Mustafi head agonisingly past Frederick Rönnow in goal.
The second half then descended into a complete mess for Schalke with four unanswered goal. With just nine games left this season, they are now 12 points behind 15th placed Arminia Bielefeld.
Borussia Mönchengladbach/ Lars Stindl
Looking to end a run of five successive defeats across all competitions at FC Augsburg on Friday, the Fohlenelf were handed the perfect opportunity to put themselves in control with a penalty in the 38th minute.
The usually reliable Lars Stindl however fired horribly wide to let the hosts off the hook. In the end, it was to prove very costly with Heiko Herrlich’s Fuggerstädter running out 3-1 winners.
The pressure mounts on Marco Rose and the prospect of even Europa League football next season for Gladbach looks a distant prospect.
The title chasers would dearly have loved to have kept tabs on Bayern with an eye on their upcoming fixture with the reigning champions, but it wasn’t to be as they were held at home by Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.
Bayern are going to make anyone fight extremely hard if they are to relinquish their crown, so any missed opportunity to keep pace with the Bavarians is going to play into their hands and hand them an advantage.
“We’re frustrated with the result today, because the way we played was good enough to win the game” trainer Julian Nagelsmann said after the match. “We made far too little out of our dominance. Before their goal, we didn’t defend well and gave Frankfurt too much space, which they exploited well. After that, the game was more open, and we were no longer so superior; the game could have gone either way.”
To make matters worse, an injury to centre back Dayot Upamecano looks set to keep the Frenchman out of action for two weeks putting his involvement against Bayer at serious risk.