Monday, October 18, 2010

Bundesliga Week 8 Round Up: Dortmund top, Mainz toppled

In the end it was Hamburg's old warhorse Ze Roberto who finally did for Mainz. His pace and directness caused the opposition defenders only a moments hesitation as he headed towards the six yard box. But it was enough time for the Brazilian cut the ball back to Paulo Guerrero who rifled home and sealed all three points in the 89th minute. The final score was 1-0.

Earlier in the game, Ruud van Nistelrooy had a goal ruled offside incorrectly. Given that event, Hamburg will claim that justice was done. However the rection from coach Armin Veh when the goal went in showed that this victory was hard earned. Mainz had hit the woodwork and had slightly more shots on target than Hamburg. The game was full of attacking play, the highlight of which was from Mainz' Lewis Holtby who evaded a tackle with a perfect Zindane spin before setting off on a diagonal run with the ball only to have his shot saved by 'keeper Frank Rost.

Thus Mainz were denied a record eighth consecutive victory. Furthermore, their solitary slip-up has cost them their place at the top of the Bundesliga table. This was also due, in part, to another last minute winner in Cologne where Nuri Sahin's defected shot robbed FC Koln of a deserved point and moved Borussia Dortmund to the top if the league.

BVB took the lead after 20 minutes with a scrappy goal by Jakub Blaszczykowski. Koln worked hard for their equaliser which came in the form of a rare goal (for his club at least) by Lucas Podolski. His strike from outside the area looked to have rescued a point for the Billygoats and give their under pressure coach Zvonmir Soldo a much needed fillip. It wasn't to be though and the home fans for pretty upset when the full time whistle blew.

The game will be remembered for a clash between Podolski and Sahin. After an altercation over a mistimed tackle, the German international Podolski held up three fingers and a zero with one hand to remind the Turkish Sahin of the Germany v Turkey 3-0 result in the previous Friday's Euro 2010 qualifier between the two nations. Minutes later when Sahin scored the winner he ran straight over to Podolski holding a single finger aloft. Not terribly dignified I know but very amusing.

So with the top two swapping places it was also time for the third place team to make way. Hannover 96 have enjoyed a great start to the season and given the recent form of Bayern Munich would have been in bullish mood ahead of their trip to the Allianz Arena. Unfortunately, for them, the 96ers encountered Mario Gomez who had finally found his shooting boots. Bayern won 3-0 with Gomex scoring all three. His hat trick was a reflection of his performance. Playing up front on his own he was the epitomy of a modern centre forward. Strong, direct, quick and deadly. Hannover couldn't cope with him. Check out Toni Kroos superb lob for the assist to the second goal. The German international has taken a lot of stick in recent months so credit where it's due. He was immense and exactly what coach Louis van Gaal is looking for in a lone striker.

At the other end of the table there was a huge match in Gelsenkirchen. Schalke (second bottom) played Stuttgart (bottom) in an early season sechs punkter. During the international break, the Reds performed their by now ritual sacking of their coach. Christian Gross was paid off with Jens Keller (not Jen Keller bikini babe fans) placed in temporary charge. The game finished 2-2 which helped no one. However, the away team can claim that they should have score a third after having one goal chalked off for offside, again erroneously.

Elsewhere, St Pauli notched up their first home win with a 82nd minute winner by Florian Bruns. to make it 3-2 against Nurnberg. Hugo Almeida scored the winner for Werder Bremen in a 2-1 win against Freiburg (Aaron Hunt's goal was a screamer). 'Fanis Geikas is determined not to make the Bundesbag look foolish, after it predicted that he would be a great signing for Eintracht Frankfurt, with a brace in his team's 3-0 win at Kaiserslautern. Hoffenheim got back to winning ways with a 3-2 win over Borussia Monchengladbach who were, to an extent, the architects of their own destruction by getting two player sent off. The first red card will leave long in the memory of Sejad Salihovic of Hoffenheim after 'Gladbach's Juan Arango showed his studs to the Bosnian's goolies. Ouch!!

Finally, Steve McClaren must be delighted with the way Diego is settling in at (Steve McClaren's) Wolfsburg. He took advantage of a momentary lapse of reason by Bayer Leverkusen's goalkeeper, Rene Adler, to open the scoring in the Saturday late kick off match between the two teams. Grafite scored die Wolfe's second on 68 minutes and the home side were cruising. Then Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes brought on Simon Rolfes as a substitute. Two minutes later Rolfes had scored. Then, after some calamitous defending, Arturo Vidal equalised with a penalty. You can see what's coming can't you. Super sub Rolfes netted the winner on 82 minutes.

This leaves McClaren is left staring at the defense chalkboards and asking for medical reports of centre back Arne Friedrich and goalkeeper Diego Benaglio in the hope that they will plug the gap in their back line which is costing them valuable points in their quest for the Bundesliga title and a place in the Champions League. Friedrich is expected back at the end of November while we're still waiting to hear about Benaglio. If you see a red headed Englishman entering an alternative therapy shop in the Lower Saxony area asking for horse placenta, you'll know things are bad.

That's it, results and tables here.

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