Monday, September 27, 2010

Bundesliga Week 6 Round Up: Mainz win in Munich and hats off to Hannover

When the Mainz players came out for the second half at the Allianz Arena they faced a daunting task. Having gone 1-0 up against Bayern Munich in the first half through a Sami Allagui backheel and just as the referee was about to blow for Half Time, a freakish own goal by Bo Svensson handed an equaliser to the Bundesliga Champions.

Then Thomas Tuchel's team suffered another set back at half time when it emerged that playmaker Lewis Holtby would not be re-entering the fray because of injury. The on loan Schalke player set up Allagui for his goal and would be a loss to the team who would have to face a Bayern team confident that they could overturn the result, get their title defence back on track and be the first team to take points from Mainz this season.

Well, maybe in years gone by, Mainz would have caved in under the pressure but not this Mainz team and to be frank, not this Bayern team. Without Franck Ribery and Arjen Robben, Louis van Gaal attempted to create a potent attacking force with Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Ivica Olic and Miroslav Klose. However, this impressive array of talent was unable to find their way through a resolute Mainz midfield and defence. The 0-Fives, for their part did not attempt to soak up any more pressure than they needed to and had the courage to try and win the game.

Their courage was rewarded when Andre Schurrle played a terrific one-two with Miroslav Karhan. His right sided cross found the Hungarian Adam Szlazi with more than enough time to turn and shoot passed Hans Jorge Butt in the Bayern goal. A fine goal which proved a worthy match winner. Bayern had no answer and Mainz have extended their winning run to six games. Unglaublich!

While that was the result of the weekend it was not the game of the weekend. That honour has to go to the Northern Derby between Werder Bremen and Hamburg at the Weserstadion. The first of the five goals in this game was, uncharitably in my view, given as an own goal to Hamburg's Guy Demel who deflected an acutley angled shot from Marko Marin into the net. Bremen doubled their lead with a header by Hugo Almeida from a free kick.

At the break, Werder were 2-0 up and cruising against their bitter rivals. So, in true Werder tradition, they handed their opponents a lifeline. Hamburg substitute Jonathan Pitroipa proved to be the catalyst for the comeback. His run and cross was backheeled into the net by a hitherto anonymous Ruud van Nistelrooy. Pitroipa score Hamburg's second himself with a sensational strike from range.

Sensing a famous comeback and the promise of the freedom of the city the Hamburg players went in search of a winner only to have their hopes dashed by Wesley (who had been magnificent all afternoon) who crossed for Almeida to score his second from close range. It was a brilliant game which was capped by a dissallowed goal for offside. Almeida took advantage of Hamburg keeper, Frank Rost, being up the pitch for a corner but the goal was chalked off because there was only one defender playing him onside. Curious.

Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund's great run is being overshadowed by the achievements of Mainz but they still keep winning. This time at St Pauli by three goals to one. Shinji Kagawa scored again. What a player he's turning out to be. Stuttgart's woes continued with a 4-1 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen. Schalke fans were in despair as they watched their team go 2-0 two Borussia Monchengladbach (look out for Michael Bradley's goal) but Klaas Jan Huntelaar's third goal for his new club and Raul's first in the Bundesliga completed a comeback. That's two games unbeaten for Schalke. Hoffenheim started to lose a bit of momentum after a 1-1 draw with Koln. Eintracht Frankfurt beat Nurnberg 2-2 despite my prediction that the result would be scoreless.

On Sunday, (Steve McClaren's) Wolfsburg made hard work of Freiburg. Die Wolfe won the game thanks to two goals by Grafite, each from free kick from Diego. However, Freiburg had gained an equaliser after some comical defending. I'm sure that once Arne Friedrich returns to the back four things will settle down but for now McClaren must be grateful that Freiburg did not offer more in attack.

And finally it's hut ab to Hannover! Third in the Bundesliga after a dogged 1-0 win at Kaiserslautern. Mohammed Abdellaoue scored the solitary goal after 33 minutes. FCK dominated but it was just one of those days. No matter how hard they tried, they could'nt find the back of that net. We've all had them and we'll have them again. 'Lautern should be fine though.

That's it. Results and tables here.

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