The Bundesliga returned this weekend after the international break and there was the usual excitement and entertainment. We saw Bayern back to their best, Union lost for the first time and Köln stunned Dortmund with their second half display.
Bochum remain rooted to the bottom, but Leverkusen and Stuttgart are keeping them company. So, who were the winners and losers from matchday 8?
Crisis? What crisis? Bayern put a stop to any talk of their being a crisis at the Allianz Arena with a return to their brilliant best against Bayer Leverkusen on Friday. They simply blew the visitors away not allowing them to play and scoring twice in the opening twenty minutes and winning 4-0 overall.
Once again Jamal Musiala was the star of the show, but Sadio Mané also ended his goal drought as did Thomas Müller. If this is a return to normality for the Bavarians, the rest of the league best watch out and prepare for normal service to resume at the top of the table.
It was the perfect response to the recent criticism and also the perfect warm-up for next weekend’s Klassiker against Borussia Dortmund at the Signal Iduna Park.
Timo Werner has had to face a lot of personal criticism in recent weeks with his performances for the German national team and RB Leipzig coming under negative scrutiny. His response on Saturday against Bochum was the ideal retort to the pessimists out there.
After going five games without a goal in the Bundesliga he grabbed a brace to help die Roten Bullen to a 4-0 win. His first to open the scoring saw him become the first RB player to score 100 goals in all competitions for Leipzig firing into roof of net. His second saw him react very quickly after Andre Silva’s shot came back off the post. He also played the ball that led to Christopher Nkunku’s first penalty.
The Billy Goats produced a superb second half performance at the Rhein-Energie Stadion to beat Borussia Dortmund and stop returnees Anthony Modeste and Salih Özcan from enjoying a happy reunion in the Domstadt.
A Julian Brandt goal had given the visitors a deserved lead in the first half, but Steffen Baumgart fired-up his players for the second period and they blew BVB away with three goals of their own to send the home fans into raptures.
Seven minutes after the restart Florian Kainz fired in the equaliser after a good run and delivery from Linton Maina. Three minutes later they led after ex-Dortmund striker Steffen Tigges headed home Kainz’s corner.
The best goal of the afternoon came on 70 minutes when Dejan Ljubicic curled home an exquisite right-foot shot from the edge of the box. A consolation from BVB after Benno Schmitz deflected a cross from Tom Rothe couldn’t prevent Köln from deservedly emerging victorious.
The whispers doing the rounds hinting at a potential World Cup berth for Werder Bremen striker Niclas Füllkrug are going to start to turn into louder shouts before too long. Two more goals this weekend takes his season haul to seven in eight games and provides more ammunition for those pushing Hansi Flick to take him to Qatar.
It took him just five minutes to open the scoring against Mönchengladbach as he showed the desire to get on the end of Romano Schmid’s ball ahead of Joe Scally. With Werder running riot at the Weser Stadion, he added his second and the hosts third on 14 minutes after being teed-up by strike partner Marvin Ducksch. He then provided the assist for Mitchell Weiser to put the final nail in the Gladbach coffin late on.
Time to locate that passport Herr. Füllkrug. Do you have any plans for December?
The revival at FC Augsburg continues after the Fuggerstädter overcame Schalke 3-2 at the Veltins Arena despite being reduced to ten men after the dismissal of Mergim Berisha.
After losing four of their opening five games, Enrico Maaßen has overseen three successive wins and this one as a former Borussia Dortmund II coach will taste all the sweeter. Andre Hahn scored the winner on his 250th Bundesliga appearance.
Bayer Leverkusen/ Lukas Hradecky
Bayern and Leverkusen both went into Friday’s clash at the Allianz Arena under pressure, but it was the Werkself who emerged still under pressure after a 4-0 defeat. The hosts dominated from the start and Leverkusen had no answer and offered little in the way of resistance leading to sharp criticism from Kerem Demirbay amongst others.
“Everyone has to ask themselves whether they have given everything and whether they can still do more” midfielder Demirbay said after the final whistle. “I hope that everyone is honest with themselves. Regardless of that, we as a team have to do a lot more.”
Keeper Lukas Hradecky produced another mistake for Bayern’s fourth goal and although the result was a foregone conclusion by that point, errors from the Finnish keeper leading to goals are becoming ever more regular (Werder Bremen and Club Brugge other recent examples).
Randal Kolo Muani
Despite providing the assist for Mario Götze’s opening goal, the afternoon ended on a sour note for new French international Randal Kolo Muani with a second half sending off.
He was booked just before the break for a careless arm in the face of Paul Jaeckel and was then handed a second caution and therefore a red by referee Sascha Stegemann in the 68th minute. A solo run saw him lose control of the ball and a subsequent attempt to win it back saw him catch Andras Schäfer high on the foot. His frustration was taken out on a door as he kicked out whilst walking down the tunnel at the Deutsche Bank Park.
Unfortunately for Stuttgart keeper Florian Müller his numerous saves against Wolfsburg will be forgotten, but his howler to allow Nico Kovac’s side to score their second goal will be remembered.
A long, speculative shot from Maxi Arnold was heading straight at Müller for a seemingly straightforward catch on 38 minutes but he opted for a weird hybrid of catch/punch that simply went straight through him and into the back of the net.
Ramy Bensebaini/ Borussia Mönchengladbach
If Werder versus Gladbach had been a boxing match, the trainer would in all likelihood have thrown in the towel before the half-time bell with their fighter taking too much punishment to tolerate.
Werder by-passed the Mönchengladbach press at will and the visitors defended like amateurs rather than a top Bundesliga side, who had previously looked imperious in their win over RB Leipzig. Ramy Bensebaini was the epitome of their abysmal display, and it was a surprise that Daniel Farke didn’t haul him off at half time. His own goal for Werder’s fourth before the break was comedic in how poor his attempted clearance was.
Daniel Farke raised the old adage that it was better to lose 5-1 once than 1-0 five times, but that is a highly optimistic way of putting a positive spin on an awful evening’s work.
The hoped-for new trainer bounce was never in danger of helping Bochum out at the Red Bull Arena as Thomas Letsch learned the hard way just what a difficult task he has as the new coach of VfL Bochum. A 4-0 defeat saw yet another weekend at the foot of the table beckon for der Blau.
“We were defeated in every respect, that was clear today” Letsch admitted after the game. “Unfortunately, we did not manage to implement what we had planned. The energy was there during the training week, but we couldn’t bring that to the pitch today.
“We gave Leipzig too much room and invited them to score goals. With the ball we had absolutely no relief. We now have to find solutions and want to play much better against Frankfurt in our own stadium.”
After scoring an own goal last time out in the 1-1 draw with VfL Bochum, Köln defender Benno Schmitz put through his own net for a second successive match. Tom Rothe’s drive at goal deflected off the poor fullback and past Marvin Schwäbe to give BVB a brief glimmer of hope at 3-2. Luckily, the goal didn’t cost the Geißböcke their win.