Of the two Nmecha brothers in the VfL Wolfsburg line-up against Bochum, it was the younger Felix, who grabbed the headlines with his two goals. The fact that his brace were carbon copies of each other as he headed in beautifully delivered free kicks from Maxi Arnold not bother him or coach Niko Kovac. The 22-year-old is now one goal behind brother Lukas, who has three Bundesliga goals so far. There has to be a bet going between them as to which will finish with the highest tally.
“It’s a very good feeling. To score the first and then the second was really top. It’s a really good day. We know how good Max’s deliveries are and I was there, and the goals arrived.”
‘Normal service’ was temporarily resumed on Saturday with Bayern Munich back on top of the Bundesliga pile after their 6-2 win over Mainz. Six different scorers found the back of the net with Jamal Musiala, Sadio Mané and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting particularly impressive throughout.
“Massive kudos to the team for what they’re doing right now, the way they’ve carried themselves the past three days has been outstanding” coach Julian Nagelsmann said on Saturday. “We scored a lot of goals again and did so in a beautiful way. It’s great fun to watch from the sidelines.
“We’ve got a good mix of quality and the right kind of attitude. It’s truly great right now. It’s nice when six different players score, it gives the players confidence. The guys who came in are doing very well, and that’s what a team thrives on as well.”
Bayern taking the leadership of the Bundesliga on Saturday had a feeling of inevitability about it and the pressure was on Union on Sunday to respond as they hosted Borussia Mönchengladbach. And respond they certainly did.
It was by no means a classic display from the Köpenick side, but when the chips were down, they showed fantastic character to run out 2-1 winners. A goal down at the break, they fought back with a Kevin Behrens header eleven minutes from time. They thought they had won it late on only to see Christopher Trimmel’s goal ruled out for the most marginal of offsides. They kept going for the full three points and were duly rewarded in the 97th minute with Danilho Doekhi heading bravely in from Jamie Leweling’s cross.
Having made the long-list for the World Cup squad in midweek, Werder striker Niclas Füllkrug sent out another reminder that he is the in-form German striker of the moment with another goal to help Bremen beat Hertha Berlin. If there is a striker you’d want on the end of a cross in the final minutes to break the deadlock and win the game, then Füllkrug would be the perfect choice.
As the final cut approaches, form will count for a lot and the Bremen frontman is certainly in form and banging in the goals. The arguments for not taking him to Qatar are dwindling by the week.
The big match on Saturday was won by Borussia Dortmund, but the main talking point from the Deutsche Bank Arena was the non-award of a penalty to Eintracht Frankfurt in the first half, which may have changed the course of the game.
Karim Adeyemi’s push on Jesper Lindström seemed clear enough, but referee Sascha Stegemann saw it differently and denied the Adler the spot kick. The non-intervention of VAR to correct the decision infuriated Frankfurt’s sporting director Markus Krösche and post-match admissions from the referee and BVB players that it should have been a penalty only made things worse.
For the second week in a row Augsburg were undone by a late goal. Last week at home to RB Leipzig they let slip a 3-0 lead before conceding in the 89th and 90th minutes to draw 3-3.
This week against VfB Stuttgart at the Mercedes-Bank Arena they game seemed destined for a 1-1 only for the Fuggerstädter to concede a 91st minute goal with defender Waldemar Anton lashing home. A potential four points reduced to just one due to lapses in defensive concentration will have coach Enrico Maaßen tearing his hair out in frustration.
The only real low in Bayern’s demolition of Mainz was the unsteady performance of keeper Sven Ulreich. With Manuel Neuer being given all the time he needs to recover ahead of the World Cup, the deputy keeper is playing more than expected, but showing a little ring rustiness.
The decision to award Mainz a penalty for his contact with Jonathan Burkardt was highly debatable, but the howler Ulreich produced for Marcus Ingvartsen’s goal was terrible. His pass was made with no awareness of the situation and literally handed the visitors a goal on a plate. It wasn’t costly in the grand scheme of things, but neither did it inspire great confidence.
There is no magic wand that Xabi Alonso has brought with him from San Sebastian and the troubles at Bayer Leverkusen continue. A 2-0 defeat at fellow Champions League side RB Leipzig sees the Werkself remain in 16th place and the only silver lining was that both Bochum and Schalke also lost this weekend.
Defensively they were exposed by Leipzig and going forward there was little on offer to scare the RB back line. The recovery will have to start soon, or it is going to be a long and painful winter for Leverkusen and an uncomfortable Rückrunde.
‘New trainer, new luck’ is an oft used saying in the Bundesliga but there was no happy start to life at Schalke for new coach Thomas Reis. The Königsblauen remain bottom of the table following a 2-0 home loss to Freiburg and it is hard to see what Reis can do with this squad to take them up the table.
Having spent the first few weeks of the season at the bottom of the pile with Bochum, the new Schalke trainer might have to get used to propping up the table a while longer with his new charges. Talk about ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’.