Bundesliga Review – Arango’s left foot steals the show
German sides have had a great week on the continent but it was a 32-year-old Venezuelan who provided the moment of the weekend
The Bundesliga is characterised by its seemingly endless amount of young, home grown talent who are now not just flourishing in Germany but on the continent too. At the same time, that’s part of what makes Juan Arango great – because he’s a 32-year-old Venezuelan playmaker.
The Hispanic flair he brings both to Borussia Mönchengladbach and the Bundesliga should be valued as highly as the young talent present in the division. Because its diverse talents like Arango which only add to what is proving to be the best division in Europe this season.
One part of Arango marks him out from others in the Bundesliga – his left foot. For this peg of wonder, this artefact of wizardry is capable of magnificence, as it proved again on Sunday. The Venezuelan’s side were already a goal ahead against Mainz before the Maracay Magician produced the most audacious of strikes. Just over an hour into the game, Mainz keeper Heinz Müller raced out to clear an over-hit through ball but he cleared it only as far as Arango.
Still, the Venezuelan captain, stationed on the byline, was 44 metres away from the Mainz goal. The chance to score was indeed small, but the scope for the spectacular was tremendous. As the ball came towards him, Arango prepared to swing that almighty weapon, though in fact, to say that Juan Arango swings his left foot at a ball would be to imply that he is not in control of it all times, something which just isn’t true.
So then, it was with precision that he drew back his left foot before shooting first time from the most improbable of angles. Such was the fusion between Arango’s foot and the ball, the Venezuelan slipped to the floor after striking it. But it was from there he watched the ball loop up, up, up into the Borussia-Arena sky and, as if by magic, the ball started curving towards goal. Still, it looked too high to get anywhere near its intended target but perhaps Newton himself was looking on favourably as gravity took hold.
Still curling, the ball plummeted down and with each inch it travelled towards the earth, you just knew where this one was heading. Down, down, down it went before landing over the line and cue wild scenes in the Borussia Arena, because Juan Arango had done it again. Coach Lucien Favre rushed towards him along with other members of the bench as the Venezuelan remained on the floor to take the plaudits from his teammates.
Borussia Mönchengladbach won the game 2-0 but the match belonged to Arango for providing another sumptuous moment of quality. That was his fifth of the season and as BILD pointed out, four of the five have been dream goals. The Venezuelan is not short of confidence as he showed earlier in the season when talking about his free-kicks. “I’m just as good as Ronaldo or Messi. I do not have to hide behind them.”
Now this may sound far-fetched, but with this eye for the spectacular, Arango can certainly rank himself alongside Ronaldo and Messi in that aspect too. For the Venezuelan captain, the Maracay Magician, or to put it simply, Juan Arango showed the Bundesliga on Sunday afternoon that while he may be 32-years-old, he and that trusty left foot of his are special talents indeed.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga
- Now whilst the piece above may have you believe otherwise, there was other football played in Germany outside of the Juan Arango vortex. So, where better to go next than Borussia Dortmund who were surprisingly beaten at home by Wolfsburg. That only explains half the story though. BVB were one up when Wolfgang Stark incorrectly sent Marcel Schmelzer off for deliberate handball on the goal line, when in fact it had hit his thigh. Within five minutes of the decision, Wolfsburg were ahead and despite a Dortmund equaliser, the Wolves went onto record a victory that was still impressive in any case. Schmelzer’s red card was overturned on Saturday evening and Wolfgang Stark apologised for his error. But by that stage it was too little too late for Dortmund.
- Schalke’s woeful run of recent form continued too as they lost to Stuttgart. VfB striker Vedad Ibisevic grabbed a hat-trick in the process and also became the Bundesliga’s top scorer on Saturday afternoon. He was joined at the top of the charts later that day by Eintracht Frankfurt’s Alexander Meier. The burly attacking midfielder helped Eintracht to move above Schalke after they beat Werder Bremen to record their first victory in three.
- But what about Bayern Munich? Well, surprise surprise, they won – this time against lowly Augsburg who seem doomed. Bayern’s nearest challengers, Bayer Leverkusen, lost at Hannover on Sunday meaning that the league leaders are now 11 points clear at the top. (One highlight for Bayer was Stefan Kiessling scoring meaning he’s also on 10 goals for the season along with Ibisevic and Meier.)
- Back to the relegation dogfight though, because if Augsburg seem doomed, then Greuther Fürth are too. They lost to Freiburg whilst Hoffenheim could do no better without Markus Babbel as they slipped to defeat in Hamburg. And slightly further up the table, Nuremberg saw off Fortuna Düsseldorf in Franconia.
Matchday 16 Results:
Hamburg 2-0 Hoffenheim
Augsburg 0-2 Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund 2-3 Wolfsburg
Freiburg 1-0 Greuther Fürth
Nuremberg 2-0 Fortuna Düsseldorf
Stuttgart 3-1 Schalke
Eintracht Frankfurt 4-1 Werder Bremen
Gladbach 2-0 Mainz
Hannover 3-2 Bayer Leverkusen
|1||FC Bayern Munich||16||13||2||1||43:6||+37||41||CL*|
|2||Bayer 04 Leverkusen||16||9||3||4||30:22||+8||30||CL*|
|4||Eintracht Frankfurt||16||8||3||5||31:27||+4||27||CL* Qual.|
|5||FC Schalke 04||16||7||4||5||26:22||+4||25||EL* Qual.|
|6||VfB Stuttgart||16||7||4||5||20:25||-5||25||EL* Qual.|
|11||1. FSV Mainz 05||16||7||2||7||21:20||+1||23|
|12||SV Werder Bremen||16||6||3||7||27:28||-1||21|
|13||1. FC Nuremberg||16||5||4||7||16:21||-5||19|
Table from official Bundesliga website