Bayern Munich and Thomas Müller
After such a hyped build-up, the Klassiker on Saturday certainly didn’t disappoint as Bayern imposed themselves on Borussia Dortmund in emphatic style. A show of strength in the first 45 minutes saw them storm into an unassailable 3-0 lead and in the end the 4-2 result saw them return to the top of the table in style.
Much will be made of the awful mistake from keeper Gregor Köbel, but the real driving force behind the win was veteran Thomas Müller, who has sent out a clear message to new coach Thomas Tuchel that he is very much still a key figure in this Bayern set-up.
Müller scored Bayern’s second getting on the end of Mathijs de Ligt’s flick on at the far post to bundle the ball home. He then fired in the third after Köbel could only parry Leroy Sané’s curled effort. The Raumdeuter showed his intelligence for Bayern’s fourth in the 51st minute allowing Sané’s ball to bypass him for the onrushing Kingsley Coman to finish.
Bayern’s win sees them regain top spot and take the advantage going into the last eight games. We still have a title race, but the Bavarians have their noses in front once more and can smell a 12th Meisterschale.
“Remaining in the league has been confirmed” was the rather understated reaction of Mainz sporting director Martin Schmidt after the Nullfünfer’s impressive 3-0 win at RB Leipzig. “Our goal was to stay in the Bundesliga and we’ve done that. Now we’ll want to claw our way up, but the goal of the team remains to improve steadily.
There was no talk of a possible tilt as the European places, but in-form Mainz have that as a real possibility this season. Should one of the top four go onto win the DFB Pokal (and that is looking likely), then seventh place in the Bundesliga would offer a Conference League place next season.
They were simply too good for a lacklustre Leipzig side at the Red Bull Arena with goals from Marcus Ingvartsen, Ludovic Ajorque and Dominik Kohr sealing a fifth win in their last seven Bundesliga matches.
Bayer Leverkusen and Florian Wirtz
The international break looked to have come at the wrong time for Leverkusen as they would have liked to build upon their impressive victory over Bayern Munich on matchday 25. However, they picked up where they left off on their visit to Schalke with a comfortable 3-0 that could have been even higher.
Florian Wirtz was integral to their three points scoring a world-class second goal than saw close passing and control inside the Königsblauen penalty area. The young star didn’t enjoy the best of times while in duty with Germany, so this was a timely boost for the player returning from a long-term knee injury.
Leverkusen’s chances of achieving European football next season are looking brighter with every matchday at the moment.
When Kevin-Prince Boateng’s grabbed Maxi Eggestein on the edge of the Hertha box, the stage was set for another Grifo free-kick masterclass and the Italian delivered once again.
Too close to get it to curl up and over the defensive wall, the Freiburg maestro drilled it low despite the plentiful array of Berlin defenders. Nutmegging Dodi Lukebakio on its way into the nest, the free-kick was Grifo’s thirteenth goal of the season and remarkably he’s still in contention to finish as the Bundesliga’s leading scorer.
The young Wolfsburg midfielder celebrated his international debut with Germany in midweek and was the hero for die Wölfe as he rescued a point for them in their clash with Augsburg at the Volkswagen Arena.
2-1 down with the five minutes of injury time allotted already played, the younger of the Nmecha brothers rose highest to head in Kevin Paredes last-gasp cross. Not a bad week at all for the youngster.
After eight successive Bundesliga defeats saw the Sinsheim club drop to the foot of the table, they finally got a first win under Pellegrino Matarazzo against Hertha Berlin on matchday 25. On matchday 26 they made it two wins on the bounce with a 2-1 victory over Werder Bremen. Panic over? Not quite but Hoffenheim fans can at least draw some confidence that they have turned a corner and could avoid the dreaded drop.
Borussia Dortmund keeper Gregor Köbel has saved the Schwarzgelben on numerous occasions this season, but his horrendous howler against Bayern will be remembered far and above any of his miraculous saves this season- that’s just the way the cookie crumbles.
After a more than respectable start from BVB in the Allianz Arena, Dayot Upamecano played a speculative through ball from inside his own half looking to find Leroy Sané. Overhit, the ball seemed destined to be picked up by Köbel only for a rush of blood to the head to take over. The Dortmund stopper rushed out to hack clear only to completely miss the ball and it continued on its trajectory into the back of his net.
He didn’t exactly cover himself in glory for Thomas Muller’s goal that made it 2-0 either. As the keeper summed up himself after the game ‘a shi**y day’.
The Swabians hit the bottom of the Bundesliga table on matchday 25 and that is where they remain after a 3-0 away loss at Union Berlin. Bruno Labbadia’s side matched die Eisernen in the first half and were good for their point, but the home side raised the pressure in the second 45 minutes and scored three unanswered goals to keep Stuttgart bottom.
With just eight games left, they face a real fight to avoid the drop as it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see where their much-needed points are coming from.
The 7-0 thrashing handed out by Manchester City in the Champions League is in danger of derailing RB Leipzig’s season. Marco Rose’s side followed that up with a 1-0 loss at Bochum and things went from bad to worse with the visit of Mainz this weekend.
The Nullfünfer controlled the game at the Red Bull Arena and were more than deserving of their 3-0 win. Leipzig’s hopes of a top four finish now hang in the balance and big upturn in form is going to be required to achieve Champions League football again next season.
Wolfsburg ended their home match with Augsburg all-square, but captain Maxi Arnold had an afternoon he’d rather forget. The midfielder scored an own-goal after just two minutes when his header flashed past Koen Casteels in the home goal. Not the ideal start.
He then had the opportunity to redeem himself on 20 minutes via the penalty spot, but the 28-year-old blasted his spot kick over the bar with keeper Rafal Gikiewicz left without a save to make. A well delivered free kick late on did lead to Luca Waldschmidt’s goal, but all-in-all not vintage Maxi Arnold.