A brand new feature on this website is the introduction of weekly & fortnightly columns focusing on various leagues, countries and regions across the World. Mustafa Tousif analyses and gives his opinion here on the latest events in German football.
Robin Dutt sacked by Bremen following another defeat at the hands of Koln. Bayern Munich held but still at the top, Dortmund defeated yet again this time at home against Hannover 96, Leverkusen clinched all three points against Schalke but it was Stuttgart who stole the thunder with a thrilling 5-4 win against Frankfurt on Saturday.
ROBIN DUTT SACKED AS BREMEN LOOK INTERNALLY FOR A REPLACEMENT
The news was in the air for quite a few weeks following Werder Bremen’s disastrous start in the Bundesliga season. It was thus no surprise when Werder Bremen sacked their coach Robin Dutt on Saturday following a defeat against Koln at home, a day earlier.
So far Bremen remains one of the two teams (Freiburg the other one) who are yet to win a single match in Bundesliga this campaign. They remain at the bottom of the table with 4 draws and 5 defeats with a change paramount to halting their steep fall. Ever since the last few seasons under legendary Thomas Schaff, the club have been in free-fall, finishing in the top half only once since the 09/10 high of third place. Bremen’s decision to appoint ex-player, Viktor Skripnik, as their head coach, who has worked with the junior team of the club has been well received and maybe the change will give the team a much needed confidence boost in moving forward. Like Skripnik, Thomas Schaff too was appointed from within the club and this may well be the route the 2003-04 Bundesliga champions need once more.
Koln on the other hand recorded back to back wins (last week against Dortmund and this week against Bremen). The only goal came from Nigerian striker Anthony Ujah and it was only their 3rd victory of the season, the first back-to-back one.
THE PECULIAR CASE OF BORUSSIA DORTMUND CONTINUES
Last week we pointed out how Dortmund got it all wrong by throwing the injury returned stars too early into the starting line-up. Dortmund responded to that 2-1 loss to Koln well in the mid week in the Champions League with an impressive 4-0 victory in Istanbul against Galatasaray. However their Bundesliga woes continued as they again suffered a defeat, this time against Hannover.
The hosts created a number of good chances in the first half through Marco Reus and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who both had the opportunity to find the back of the net in the early stages of the game. However Dortmund were denied the lead as Hannover keeper, Ron-Robert Zieler, produced an excellent save from a thumping Mats Hummels header in the first half tipping the ball on to the post.
Hannover tried to play on counter and produced a moment of magic when Hiroshi Kiyotake’s excellent free kick put them in front 15 minutes into the second half. Dortmund tried hard to press but they were unable to replicate their Champions League form in the Bundesliga.
Dortmund only got 2 days rest before the game, and maybe this game could have been scheduled on a Sunday. A mere two day break after a hard-fought Turkish outing would certainly have not pleased Jurgen Klopp, and the effects were evident on the pitch.
Die Schwarzgelben are now just one point and spot above the relegation play-off zone, having lost 6 of their opening 9 fixtures. What makes their start further peculiar is their incredible form in Europe where they’ve mustered 3 wins out of 3 against Arsenal, Anderlecht & Galatasaray scoring 9 goals and conceding none. There’s no talk of a sacking, but Klopp certainly is under pressure as Champions League qualification has become a bare minimum at the club.
STUTTGART PRODUCE MAGIC IN FRANKFURT AS BOSS ARMIN VEH RETURNED TO HIS EX-CLUB
53-year-old Armin Veh left Frankfurt and joined Stuttgart in the summer after he refused to renew his contract following disagreements with the board. Incidentally he made his decision known after a game against Stuttgart towards the end of last season, according to reports. After a poor start to the campaign, he took his Stuttgart side back to the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, playing out an enthralling game.
Both sides took the lead twice in an exciting game of football that produced nine goals. Stuttgart were 3-1 up in the 51st minute but Frankfurt were back into the game after a crazy nine minutes saw them scoring 3 goals. However Stuttgart scored twice in the last 10 minutes of the game as Frankfurt were reduced to ten men.
As the scoreline suggests there were plenty of dramatic turnarounds in the game. The away side were comfortably placed at 3-1 but were let down by their sloppy defending which allowed Frankfurt back into the game. However the over enthusiasm may have cost Frankfurt 3 valuable points at home. When they were leading 4-3 with 10 minutes remaining in the game, Frankfurt were still going for goal when maybe it would have been better to just keep the ball and protect the lead (entertainment over rationality has been an issue in the Bundesliga). Ultimately Frankfurt paid the price as Werner leveled in the 81st minute before Gentner scored the winner for Stuttgart.
Though neutrals love games of this sort, both Frankfurt and Stuttgart supporters will be furious with some of the goals that were let in. Poor keeping, man marking and all-round defensive display made it hard to believe this was a top division German league game.
GLADBACH’S BRAVURA SHOW HALTS BAYERN MUNICH
Bundesliga’s top 2 met on Sunday, and cancelled each other out with a 0-0 draw that sees both continue their unbeaten start to the league campaign (along with Hoffenheim). Borussia Monchengladbach produced a bravura performance against the mighty Bayern Munich on Sunday. Bayern were dominant with possession in the first half but Monchengladbach played on the counter and were the brighter side in the second half.
Bayern Munich were missing their talisman Arjen Robben (thigh injury) and nowhere looked as impressive as they have been in the last two games ( 6-0 win vs Bremen and 7-1 win vs Roma). Gladbach were getting better as the game moved on with Hahn and Kruse forcing smart saves from Neuer.
Gladbach coach Lucian Favre can be proud of his team as they played Europa League game on Thursday and only had two days to prepare for their most fierce test this season. The experienced coach also got his tactics right as Bayern were not allowed room in the box. The gap between them remains at four points. Gladbach are currently level on points with Hoffenheim and Wolfsburg, with Leverkusen a point behind following a win against Schalke on Saturday.
TALENT RADAR PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Timo Warner (Stuttgart): He came off the bench in 71st minute when Stuttgart were 4-3 behind. His brilliant individual moment of magic allowed Stuttgart to level the game in one of the most dramatic comebacks that ultimately saw his side win 5-4.
Written by Mustafa Tousif
- German Football Column: Bayern’s Flexibility, Dortmund’s further Misery and Schalke’s Win - November 26, 2014
- German Football Column: Dortmund’s peculiar case, Robin Dutt sacked and more - October 28, 2014
- German Football Column: Bayern Munich’s 3-4-3, Jurgen Klopp’s error & more - October 21, 2014