The final round of fixtures before the international break saw two dramatic derbies, the return of two coaches to their former clubs, goals, surprises, and many talking points. So, just who were the winners and losers from Bundesliga matchday 7?
“The defender pushed forward a bit, so there was a bigger free space behind him. Then I looked up and saw the fans on the southern terrace going crazy. This is what you dream of as a boy.” The post-match comments of Revierderby hero Youssoufa Moukoko don’t perhaps do full justice to the feelings the 17-year-old must be experiencing after scoring the winning goal to beat local rivals Schalke and hand the bragging rights to the Schwarzgelben.
The teenager, who is now the youngest scorer in a Revierderby, must be pushing for a start with Anthony Modeste continuing to struggle to make an impact. “It was very nice to experience that. If I come on as a substitute, it’s good for me too. At some state, I’ll play from the start again, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself.”
The Foals produced possibly their best performance of the season as they dominated RB Leipzig at the Borussia Park and ran out comfortable 3-1 winners. Gladbach made sure that it wasn’t a happy return for ex-coach Marco Rose as they totally outplayed Leipzig with Marcus Thuram running riot upfront, Christoph Kramer and Julian Weigl controlling midfield and Jonas Hofmann on a one-man mission to score a hattrick.
In the end Hofmann had to settle for a brace with Ramy Bensebaini scoring the other. Two-hero Hofmann, who was called up to the German national team in midweek was certainly a happy man at the final whistle.
“We played really well over the whole 90 minutes today – it was probably our best performance this season. We only played a handful of long balls out of the back, which made it hard for Leipzig to press us. We were really in our rhythm in the first half, but I think we combined nicely in the second half too and made it hard for Leipzig to get a foothold in the game.
“I could have scored four goals today if I had been more focused with my finishing, but that doesn’t matter if you win 3-0. We can go into the international break very happy.”
Not for the first time this season Augsburg owe a massive debt of gratitude to their goalkeeper Rafal Gikiewicz for a superhuman display. Having been the hero last week with an injury-time penalty save to deny Werder Bremen’s Marvin Ducksch, the 34-year-old Polish keeper was the clear Man of the Match as he denied Bayern again and again at the WWK Arena.
He made goal-saving stops to deny Leroy Sané, Leon Goretzka, Sadio Mané and then right at the death he produced a point-blank save to deny Manuel Neuer’s bullet header.
“It’s just a fantastic feeling to have won twice in a row at home against FC Bayern” the keeper said after the game. “We knew that we needed to have a top performance and a little bit of luck, and that all came together today. We just did very well. I also have to pay a compliment to our fans today – they really created a fantastic atmosphere. Hopefully, we can play in front of a full house more often now.”
As the minutes ticked by at the Mewa Arena on Friday, it looked as though Lucas Tousart’s header was going to seal all three points for Hertha Berlin. However, as has been the case so often in the Bundesliga this season, you can’t presume anything until the final whistle has blown.
Substitute Anthony Caci showed great calmness and coolness to stroke the ball home in the 94th minute after Karim Onisiwo’s header came off of Peter Pekarik in a late scramble for the equaliser.
After Hertha Berlin’s Marco Richter made a full recovery from testicular cancer, it was the turn of Union Berlin’s Timo Baumgartl to defy the medics and make his Bundesliga return just 154 days since his last appearance for Union and a subsequent cancer diagnosis and treatment. His recovery is nothing short of astonishing and will inspire hope in many others with the same condition.
“That’s exactly what I dreamed of during chemotherapy” Baumgartl told DAZN after the game. “Coming back, winning and being in the starting eleven. Those were emotional moments for me. The coach spoke to me briefly on Saturday and asked if I was ready. At that point, I had no idea that I was supposed to play. It was only in the meeting that I found out I that I was starting.
“For everyone I met in the oncology department, my case increases hope. They wrote to me that it gave them positive input that I was back on the pitch.”
It somehow felt a bit wrong to include Bayern in last week’s loser’s section after their third successive draw. Including them this week after losing to FC Augsburg however feels more justified.
A midweek victory over Barcelona in the Champions League, where they kept former striker Robert Lewandowski off the scoresheet was a huge positive, but to follow that up with a loss to Bavarian rivals Augsburg has to ben seen as a huge negative.
Bayern had their chances, but as in recent weeks, a lack of precision and a heroic display from keeper Rafal Gikiewicz denied them again and again. All is clearly not well at Bayern with three points from twelve possible points far from acceptable.
Hasan Salihamidzic has said as much, and the pressure is starting to inch up for the Rekordmeister. The international break is up next, but then they face Bayer Leverkusen at the Allianz Arena. A fifth game without a win is surely unimaginable.
The fourth Revierderby win for BVB in a row will be celebrated long into the night and probably into Sunday as well, but any celebrations will be tempered by the injury picked up by captain Marco Reus in the first half.
64 days before the start of the World Cup is not the ideal time to be stretchered off the field and judging by the agonised reaction of the player, this could be a serious injury. He twisted his ankle after an innocuous challenge for the ball, and full tests will now have to be performed.
The injury is a concern for Dortmund, but also for Bundestrainer Hansi Flick, who had named Reus in his squad to face Hungary and England next week, and who surely planned to take to the World Cup in Qatar.
RB Leipzig/ Marco Rose
After a winning return to the dugout last weekend against a former side (and an admirable defeat to Real Madrid in midweek) it was back to another ex-club for Marco Rose this weekend. The outcome however wasn’t anywhere near as positive as die Roten Bullen were completely outplayed by Borussia Mönchengladbach in a 3-0 defeat.
The magnitude could and should have been higher, but the honeymoon is definitely over for Rose, who wasn’t exactly given a warm reception at the Borussia Park. An honest appraisal from both Kevin Kampl and Yussuf Poulsen showed where the deficit was “We’re obviously really disappointed. We wanted to go into the international break on a high and that hasn’t happened” Kampl explained. “Gladbach wanted it more. We didn’t manage to press our opponents like we have in recent weeks and conceded goals at bad times.”
“Our overall performance wasn’t good enough though” Poulsen added. “I’m not sure if we were tired or not. We have sadly played like this too often this season.”
Lukas Hradecky/ Jeremie Frimpong
After dropping one clanger in the Champions League to Brugge, Bayer Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky was at it in the Bundesliga this weekend. He did exceptionally well to save a bullet header from Werder Bremen striker Niklas Füllkrug in the 82nd minute, but then failed abysmally when he tried to punch away the loose ball. Milos Veljkovic was on hand to equalise and deny the Werkself a much-needed three points.
The game however should have been beyond Werder long before that with Leverkusen dominating the game, but not scoring the decisive goals. The most glaring miss came in the 38th minute when Jiri Pavlenka saved well from Moussa Diaby. His parry however fell to the feet of Jeremie Frimpong, who had the easiest of tasks to slot home. That ‘easiest of tasks’ proved too difficult and enters the Miss of the Season competition.
Benno Schmitz/ Jonas Hector
Comedy own goal of the weekend goes to the Köln duo of Jonas Hector and Benno Schmitz. The 9th minute goal looked to have given Bochum a first win, but a late Linton Maina goal saved the defenders blushes a little ay least.
A cross from the left from Gerrit Holtmann looked to be under control until Hector deflected his clearance straight into Schmitz, who then deflected it into the net. Nobody was in control of what they were doing, with the assist going to Hector and the goal to Schmitz- just at the wrong. Hector and Schmitz sounds like a law company, but also a clown act at the circus.