Monday, September 16, 2013

Bundesliga Matchday 5 Roundup

 Matchday 5 roundup below the fold.

Friday: Hertha BSC Berlin 0 - 1 VfB Stuttgart

Stuttgart was lucky to win against Hertha by one goal. Sven Ulreich, who was critisised often in the last season, made several excellent saves. It was the second win in a row under the new manager Thomas Schneider, who took over after a miserable start under Bruno Labbadia. Hertha has a solid tactical plan combined with decent players like Ben-Hatira, Ramos, and Ronnie. Hertha looks like a decent midtable Bundesliga team. Stuttgart still needs a major turn around, even though they won both games under their manager. The team except for Gentner and Ulreich, did not look very stable. Maxim is not yet consistent enough to take over the responsibility of the only attacking midfielder in the 4-4-1-1. Currently it looks like the team will struggle to stay in the league, something that is plaguing several teams with tradition this season. Gentner converted a Maxim corner at the near post in the 49th minute.

SV Werder Bremen 0 - 3 Eintracht Frankfurt

Even without Alex Maier Eintracht looked strong on Saturday. The game was over shadowed by an aweful kick by di Santo to the face of Oczipka, which earned the new Bremen signing a well deserved red card. Oczipka was able to keep playing only to later also sustain a thigh injury. Up front, Vaclav Kadlec seems finally seems to be the striker signing that Armin Veh wanted. He was able to convert two times; in the 14th and the 34th minute. The third goal was an own goal by Sebastian Prödl in the 77th minute. Bremen looked somewhat better than in the other games, since they were at least able to create a few chances, and should have scored twice. Elia missed after an excellent through ball from Hunt shortly before the break, and the latter missed a penalty which was awarded for his own blatant dive in the 58th minute. Bremen still looks like a team which will have to fight hard not to be relegated.

FC Bayern München 2 - 0 Hannover 96

Before the season, many people voiced their concern that Bayern has too many central and defensive midfielders. The only actual central midfielder who was on the pitch on Saturday was Toni Kroos, since Schweinsteiger, Kirchhoff (both on the bench), Thiago, Martinez, Höjberg, and Götze are all still injured. Lahm had to play defensive midfielder and Müller had to play central midfielder again, a position which highlights his weaknesses and deprives him of his strength as "Raumdeuter". Still it was Müller who had the best Bayern chance in the first half. He also created another chance for Mandzukic, but he hit his cross from the right too hard, making it difficult for the striker to score. Müller and Robben whiched positions several times, but neither of them is a central midfielder. It was Hannover, who had the best chance in the first half though. Ya Konan shot from 25 yards out was deflected and hit woodwork shortly before the break.
In the 51st minute an excellent team goal brought Bayern the lead. Robben passed to Toni Kroos on the left side of the box who directly played the ball back to the middle, where Mandzukic had no problem converting. Ribery scored in the 64th minute since Zieler punched the ball after a Robben shot.
Bayern are not as dominant as they were last season. Hannover created more chances in the first half than in their complete game at the Allianz Arena last season. Having only one midfielder available slows down the process of implementing the new formation even more.

FC Augsburg 2 - 1 SC Freiburg

Augsburg now have won three games in a row. Still, many claim that the team will have to fear relegation at the end of the season. Augsburg play a 4-1-4-1 formation with Daniel Baier in the crucial defensive midfielder position. He is doing an excellent job there. Even against Dortmund Augsburg created just as many chances as the BVB they lost the game 0-4 though since Dortmund converted 50 percent of those. What they are lacking currently is a striker capable of converting the chances. The game against Freiburg was similar again. Augburg created 14 chances (source), Freiburg only five. Mölders still hasn't scored this season. The goals were provided by Altintop in the 62th minute and the Werner in the 89th minute. After Freiburg took the lead directly after halftime. Augsburg actually tried to solve their striker problem this summer window but both Milik and Bobadilla are injured. Milik might return on matchday six, which will probably be an improvement. Weinzierl is a young but very good manager. The team dominated all games except for the one against Dortmund, where they did not play bad though. If Baier doesn't sustain an injury then the team has a good shot at finishing top 10 if either Milik or Bobadilla start scoring once they are match fit. Freiburg also has a good manager in Streich but they lost most of their key players. They will struggle for most of the first half of the season but I can see them getting back on track after the winter break.

Mainz 05 0- 1 FC Schalke 04 

Schalke had a bad start to the season. They almost failed to qualify for the Champions League, but once that was secured Director of Sports Horst Heldt presented his key signing Kevin Prince Boateng. He was the one to provide the only goal of the game, after a terrible mistake by Okasaki who played the ball towards his own goal directly to Boateng. Schalke now have seven points, and the start i looking OK now. Still, Mainz are a hard opposition to break at home, and Schalke were lucky that Mainz failed to finish well. In fact not a single shot was on target. Schalke created a few good chances, but both Draxler and Farfan were not able to convert.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen 3 - 1 VfL Wolfsburg

Leverkusen are having a good start to the season. They only lost against Schalke and won all their other games. The front three of their 4-3-3 are all looking great so far. Sidney Sam was the first to score. He converted a long ball from Rolfes in the 24th minute. Kießling scored the other two goals(65th and 90th minute), and created several chances to score for both Sam and Son. Especially, Kießling is looking great with 4 goal and 3 assists after the Wolfsburg game. Luiz Gustavo was sent of for the second time in his third Wolfsburg game. But I disagree with the referee's decision.

Borussia Dortmund 6 - 2 Hamburger SV

I have written before that I think that Dortmund might be stronger against stronger sides and weaker against weaker sides, now that Götze left for Bayern. Hamburg is very much the latter this season so what went wrong? The HSV tried something completely new. Three central defenders plus two wing backs. Also, they did not play like the relegation candidate they are, instead the back three was defending really high. That is a recipe for disaster. Fink was even given the chance to correct his mistake, because Dortmund only converted two of their 13 chances in the first half and Hamburg used their only chance in the first and the first chance in the second half to draw the game. He did switch back to their normal set up, but the defense kept playing high. Against a team which has extremely fast wingers; and is known for their long balls from either Hummels or Sahin, the game just had to end exactly the way it did. Dortmund created 23 (!) chances from open play, plus one from a counter attack and 8 from set pieces. They hit woodwork twice. The HSV was lucky not to concede more goals. Fink had nothing better to do than to blame the team afterwards, and fly to Munich, so I guess his days as Hamburg manager are just about numbered.

edit: Fink will be fired on Tuesday according to Bild. 

1899 Hoffenheim 2 - 1 Borussia Mönchengladbach

Hoffenheim recovered from their 2-6 defeat against Stuttgart in fashion. They seemed much more stable defensively, and on the offense Volland the Germain U21 captain will always provide something special. Firmino the other wonderkid in the team is injured and Salihovic is still suspended because of what was most likely the most stupid red card I have ever seen. He converted a penalty, the opposition keeper tried to get the ball to which Salihovic was holding on; and he then slapped a totally unrelated player. Well, back to the game. Hoffenheim were lacking their central offensive midfielder, and his back up (Salihovic plays central midfielder but is very much able to provide assists and goal scoring danger if needed). Kai Herdling therefore got his first team debut at the very young age of 29(yes that is twenty-nine). Gladbach played their typical 4-4-2 in which both new signings Rafael and Max Kruse provide threat on goal and help building up play. It promised to be a match with many goals but was dominated by Hoffenheims new found defensive stability in the first half. Volland hit the post after 5 minutes but after that nothing much happened until the 45th minute when Modeste converted a cross from Elyounoussi from short distance. Gladbach was lucky that he did though since it was deflected from Deams hand. So it could have also resulted in a penalty and a red card. Everything seemed to go in Hoffenheims favor in the 54th minute, when Volland scored. But Gladbach came back with a great solo run from Hrgota, who had come on for right winger Herrmann. After that it became a one-sided game in which Gladbach tried to get the equalizer but failed in the end.

Eintracht Braunschweig 1 - 1 1. FC Nürnberg

The only draw this weekend came from two relegation candidates. It was the first point for Braunschweig this season. They were clearly the better team and would have deserved to win. Braunschweig striker Bellarabi had an excellent game, but seemed to lack composure. So he did the right thing in providing Elabdellaoui with the assist for the equalizer in the 70th minute. Hlousek scored for Nürnberg in the 28th minute in his first appearance from the beginning after having been out for one and a half years.

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