It’s advantage BVB in the title race following their win and Bayern’s loss with the despondency from last week has replaced with ecstasy as the Schwarzgelben retook top-spot in the table.
A Jude Bellingham strike calmed the nerves before Donyell Malen and Mats Hummels added further goals before half-time. A second from the in-form Malen in the second period put the icing on the cake and sets BVB up for a five-game run-in that could see them crowned champions for the first time since 2012 if they can now maintain their slight advantage over Munich
“We’re satisfied with the performance and with the result too. But it’s only a step that we’ve taken” explained coach Edin Terzic. “Every player wanted to show that the way we performed in the second half in Stuttgart last week did not meet our standards and was also not what we deserve when you see what we have invested over the course of the season to date.
“We’re very satisfied with the game today, but we’re still not happy and we still have a lot of work ahead of us.”
The Mainz coach secured his third win over Bayern Munich and got the better of his former mentor Thomas Tuchel in the process. The Nullfünfer had to come from behind to beat the champions after Sadio Mané’s first half opener. Second half goals from Ludovic Ajorque, Leandro Barreiro and Aaron Martin saw the hosts stun Bayern and secure a second successive Bundesliga home win at the Mewa Arena.
“The first half was extremely difficult. We were lucky to go in only 1-0 down at the break” Svensson said after. “We improved in the second half. After the equaliser, you could sense that the belief, the energy, the momentum was there, that we were the better side. I’m proud of my guys, and the ones who came in.”
Mainz’s push for European qualification is still on and with seventh place potentially enough for a Conference League place next season, they will take a massive boost from this impressive win.
The fact that Bundesliga leading scorer Niclas Füllkrug was only fit enough for a place on the bench didn’t hold Werder back at the Olympiastadion in Berlin with his strike partner Marvin Ducksch taking over the scoring mantle and bagging a first-ever Bundesliga hattrick.
Helped by poor defending by the home side Ducksch bagged two inside the first half hour and very nearly completed his hattrick just before the break, He wasn’t to be denied and fine chest control and drilled finish six minutes after the restart completed his trio of goals.
The 29-year-old dedicated his goals to the 20,000 travelling Werder fans, who had made their way to the capital. “I heard in the run-up to the match that we’d have some support in the stadium and that we could make this a home game.
“Support in the stands always helps us on the pitch. I tried to get everyone on board during the goal celebrations. You could see what was going on.”
VfL Wolfsburg enjoyed an impressive 5-1 win against VfL Bochum at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion and Swede Matthias Svanberg was instrumental in their victory. The first of his two goals came from a diving header in the tenth minute converting the Wolves first chance of the game from Patrick Wimmer’s cross.
Svanberg’s penetrating run just after the half-hour mark helped set-up Wimmer for the visitors’ third goal after Jakub Kaminski had earlier doubled their lead. Ten minutes into the second half and the Swede grabbed his second of the game, although a poor attempt at a save from Manuel Riemann certainly helped.
Much respect must go the formidable away support that both Werder Bremen and Köln in particular took with them on their travels this weekend. Bremen were reportedly backed by 20,000 away fans at the Olympiastadion in Berlin and they were rewarded with a 4-2 win over Hertha for their troubles. The atmosphere was likened to a Pokal semi-final by the Werder players and certainly helped them to the three points.
The 12th man provided by the hordes of Köln fans who travelled south to Sinsheim also made themselves heard and witnessed the Billy Goats impressively win 3-1. The fan scene in Germany is one of its most unique aspects and the superb away fans certainly contribute to the fantastic ambience created inside the stadia.
Pál Dárdai & Hertha Berlin
This was not the return to the Hertha Berlin trainer hotseat Pal Dárdai and the Alte Dame fans had hoped for. Last week’s thrashing at Schalke saw the club act to bring back the legend, but he was helpless to stop another abysmal defensive performance from condemning his side to another defeat, which cements their place at the bottom of the table.
After Dodi Lukebakio was denied an early goal by Jiri Pavlenka, the usual defensive nightmares returned to give Hertha an uphill task. Werder Bremen didn’t have to play amazing football to break Hertha down and were 2-0 down at the break. That became 4-0 just after the hour mark with the goalkeeping howler from Oliver Christensen summing up Hertha right now.
They did pull two goals back, but it was never going to be enough to stop Dárdai starting his third spell at the club with a painful loss. The Hungarian is going to need a magic wand at this rate if he is to rescue the club from the drop.
The basement battlers
It was a bad weekend all round for the bottom six in the Bundesliga with only two points added to their collective tally. Hertha, Schalke, Bochum and Hoffenheim all lost, while Stuttgart and Augsburg collected draws. All six team remain in the dogfight to avoid the drop and are looking nervously towards next weekend and their next desperate quest for survival points.
Was this the weekend that Bayern finally gave away the Bundesliga title? Letting slip a first half lead at the Mewa Arena, they simply had no answer to Mainz in the second 45 minutes and the home side deservedly took the three points in the end. The draw to Hoffenheim at home last weekend was disappointing, but the loss to Mainz just beggared belief, particularly when the destination of the Meisterschale is so finely poised.
CEO Oliver Kahn hit out at the players afterwards and rightly so, but he also needs to question his own performance that has led the club to this point. All is not lost, but the ball is now in Dortmund’s court and the Bundesliga crown is slipping from Bayern’s grasp for the first time in a decade.
As a striker who had gone 13 games without a goal, Wolfsburg striker Jonas Wind had the ideal opportunity to end his scoring drought with a 77th minute against Bochum to make it 5-1. Instead of just putting the ball away, the Dane tried an audacious ‘Panenka’ spot-kick which he only chipped onto the crossbar. Luckily Luka Waldschmidt was alert enough to head in the rebound to save his blushes. If you are going to do it- at least do it right!
Bayern’s Canadian fullback’s season is over thanks to a hamstring injury picked up in the early stages of their loss to Mainz at the Mewa Arena. After an early sprint saw him outpace Karim Onisiwo, he pulled up minutes later after another sprint against Silvan Widmer. A torn left hamstring has been diagnosed and the Canadian will be out of action for an estimated six weeks meaning he will play no further part in the title run-in.
RB Leipzig’s Hungarian midfielder had to take one for the team in the defeat to Bayer Leverkusen at the Bay Arena when forced into two fouls when his side were caught out by the swiftness of the Werkself’s counter-attacking. Two yellow cards were picked up as he had to resort to foul play to halt the home side’s speedsters. Sent off four minutes from time, he added another sour note to the afternoon’s defeat and will now face a suspension when die Roten Bullen need him most.