Bundesliga Review – All roads lead to Dortmund v Bayern
It’s an “English week” in the Bundesliga due to there being midweek fixtures in Germany’s top flight. There’s one game on Wednesday which is likely to receive all the attention though – Borussia Dortmund versus Bayern Munich.
Germany’s top two sides secured tight wins at the weekend to ensure there’s still only three points between the pair going into Wednesday night’s encounter. Both had to fight hard for their victories at the weekend but each side’s talisman came to the fore when it mattered most.
Augsburg travelled to the Allianz Arena as underdogs but such has been the way Jos Luhukay’s team has been playing lately, they couldn’t be discounted. Although when Mario Gomez netted Bayern’s first after just 24 seconds, you could have been forgiven for thinking another rout was about to take place in Munich.
However, the visitors displayed why prior to the game they’d only lost one of their nine last league games. After having an effort cleared off the line, Augsburg grabbed the equaliser through Ja-Cheol Koo’s strike midway through the first half.
The newly promoted side were unable to resist Bayern in the second period as Mario Gomez scored the winner after an hour. It was also his 25th in the Bundesliga this season as he leads Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar by two goals at the top of the scoring charts.
Robert Lewandowski is Borussia Dortmund’s top scorer but he is still seven goals off Gomez. Nevertheless, Jürgen Klopp won’t mind too much as long his side continue to top the table. His Polish forward was the goal hero on Saturday for the Black and Yellows in their victory against Wolfsburg.
Like Augsburg, the Wolves have been playing well of late as Felix Magath’s team have even occupied a Europa League spot in the table. Despite running BVB close, they were eventually edged out at the VW arena. Lewandowski slid in the first after good work from Ivan Perisic on the left.
Borussia’s second saw some neat footwork by Ilkay Gündogan before the defensive midfielder unleashed a great curling effort from inside the box to double Dortmund’s lead. Mario Mandzukic pulled Wolfsburg back into the game before Alexander Madlung was sent off. The centre back’s dismissal was evident after a stray pass at the back saw Lewandowski go clear and nonchalantly flick the ball past Diego Benaglio.
Attention now turns to the game on Wednesday night. Dortmund’s CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke has said BVB will win the title if they are victorious on Wednesday night whilst Bayern Munich’s President Uli Hoeness is convinced the Bavarians will be German champions if they win the game in the Ruhr.
“The moment of truth comes when we play in Dortmund,” declared Hoeness. Bayern’s run to the end of the season is more favourable than Dortmund’s but they also have to contend with being in the Champions League. Dortmund on the other hand now enter an eleven day period which will show whether they have the mettle to retain the Bundesliga. The Champions face the other members of the top four, including their arch-rivals Schalke who will be desperate to deny Borussia.
This season though could prove a seminal moment for German football. If Bayern win the title, the old order is restored as they would maintain their record of not going two years without a title since 1996. That year it was Borussia Dortmund who won back-to-back championships. If the Black and Yellows do retain the Bundesliga in 2012, it could usher in a new era in Germany where Bayern don’t rule supreme. Wednesday night might not prove definitive but it has the feeling of being a watershed moment nevertheless.
So call it what you want. The Bundeslásico, first versus second, Borussia Dortmund against Bayern Munich – there’s no escaping from the enormity of Wednesday night’s game at Signal Iduna Park which promises to be a fascinating encounter.
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Matchday 29 Results:
Bayern Munich 2-1 Augsburg
Cologne 1-1 Werder Bremen
Freiburg 2-2 Nuremberg
Kaiserslautern 1-2 Hoffenheim
Stuttgart 4-1 Mainz
Wolfsburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
Gladbach 0-0 Hertha Berlin
Schalke 3-0 Hannover
Hamburg 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen
|2||FC Bayern Munich||29||20||3||6||69:19||+50||63||CL*|
|3||FC Schalke 04||29||18||3||8||64:35||+29||57||CL*|
|4||Borussia Mönchengladbach||29||15||7||7||41:20||+21||52||CL* Qual.|
|6||Bayer 04 Leverkusen||29||11||8||10||40:39||+1||41||EL* Qual.|
|7||SV Werder Bremen||29||11||8||10||42:44||-2||41||EL* Qual.|
|11||1. FSV Mainz 05||29||8||9||12||43:48||-5||33|
|12||1. FC Nuremberg||29||9||5||15||27:41||-14||32|
|16||1. FC Köln||29||8||5||16||36:59||-23||29||Play-offs|
|17||Hertha BSC Berlin||29||6||9||14||30:52||-22||27||Relegation|
|18||1. FC Kaiserslautern||29||3||11||15||18:41||-23||20||Relegation|
Table thanks to Bundesliga Official Website