Bundesliga Review – Borussia and Bayern Are Germany’s Finest

Whether it was Hertha’s first away win of 2012 or Hoffenheim becoming the first team to win this season at the Borussia Arena in Mönchengladbach, surprises continue aplenty in the Bundesliga. However, two sides continue to plough on as expected.

It’s been a good ten days for Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Not only have they enjoyed important league victories but the pair also made it through to the final of the DFB-Pokal where they’ll face each other in May. Both were slightly fortunate to do this. Borussia Dortmund relied on a 120th minute own goal from the Furth goalkeeper – brought on as a penalty specialist. The Bavarians meanwhile were taken to spot kicks by Gladbach but just edged through.

Bayern have started to rediscover some form after a woeful run of results on the road which saw them lose in the Champions League at Basel and in the Bundesliga at Leverkusen. However, fortunately, their next away game came at Hertha Berlin whose defence has been leaky to say the least. The Reds swept in six with relative comfort and this weekend, they were at the Allianz Arena where they’ve been imperious but for two games against Borussia Dortmund and Gladbach.

Hannover offered sterner resistance than the last two visitors to the Allianz Arena. Hoffenheim and Basel conceded a miserable fourteen goals between them. That said Bayern still won the game 2-1. Toni Kroos and top scorer Mario Gomez, who started on the bench, netted. They had to ride out a late spell of pressure from Mirko Slomka’s side as Didier Ya Konan pulled one back. Hannover came close late on but Bayern held on, ensuring they kept up the pressure on Borussia Dortmund.

BVB though barely flinched. The reason for the inclusion of barely is to recognise that Cologne took the lead on Sunday. This was held for all of 13 minutes as Lukasz Piszczek headed in the equaliser. At half time, the game you’d think was evenly poised going into the second half. Dortmund believed otherwise as they unleashed a scintillating second half display.

Perhaps that should be “shintillating” as the man at the centre of Dortmund’s attacking brilliance yesterday was the majestic Shinji Kagawa. The 23-year-old Japanese star grabbed two goals as well as an assist. His success in the Bundesliga is a testament to the Dortmund scouting network in finding a player who had spent the majority of this career in the Japanese Second Division.

Borussia managed to outdo their arch-rivals Schalke achievements against Cologne. The Royal Blues also came from behind but hit four against the Billy Goats. That said Schalke themselves have been playing well of late. They enjoyed a 2-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen, essentially securing themselves Champions League place for next season bar a remarkable fall from grace.

Their talisman “The Hunter”, who’s also been known to go by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, was on target twice. He’s now has 40 goals in his last 38 games, furthering the idea it’s inappropriate calling him “The Hunter.” After all, this gives the impression there’s a chance he won’t score when given the opportunity.

With Bayern and Dortmund both winning, Schalke’s title hopes though are over. To overtake BVB, they need the Black and Yellows to drop points from three of their last seven games. The Royal Blues though are playing some very enterprising football and will be in contention for the Bundesliga title in the coming seasons should they retain their young talent.

The 2012 title race though is all about Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich. It’s all the more exciting to think the pair will meet in the German Cup Final and also in just over two weeks time. Shortly after, Borussia must face Schalke and Gladbach – those eleven days will decide whether they retain their title.

There’s a certain character instilled in Jurgen Klopp’s team which suggests Dortmund might just have the edge over Bayern in the title race. Their rivals don’t seem as comfortable when they fall behind in games as BVB appear to take it in their stride more. This in itself is arguable. One thing that isn’t is that even if Gladbach and Schalke have challenged their status at times this season, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich are the best teams Germany has to offer currently.

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Matchday 27 Results:

Wolfsburg 2-1 Hamburg

Bayern Munich 2-1 Hannover

Freiburg 2-0 Kaiserslautern

Gladbach 1-2 Hoffenheim

Mainz 1-3 Hertha Berlin

Werder Bremen 1-1 Augsburg

Schalke 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Stuttgart 1-0 Nuremberg

Cologne 1-6 Borussia Dortmund

Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* PTS*
1 Borussia Dortmund 27 19 5 3 59:17 +42 62 CL*
2 FC Bayern Munich 27 18 3 6 66:18 +48 57 CL*
3 FC Schalke 04 27 17 2 8 60:34 +26 53 CL*
4 Borussia Mönchengladbach 27 15 6 6 40:18 +22 51 CL* Qual.
5 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 27 11 7 9 39:36 +3 40 EL* Qual.
6 SV Werder Bremen 27 11 7 9 41:40 +1 40 EL* Qual.
7 VfB Stuttgart 27 11 6 10 44:34 +10 39
8 Hannover 96 27 9 11 7 35:38 -3 38
9 VfL Wolfsburg 27 11 4 12 36:48 -12 37
10 1899 Hoffenheim 27 8 9 10 31:38 -7 33
11 1. FC Nuremberg 27 9 4 14 25:38 -13 31
12 1. FSV Mainz 05 27 7 9 11 39:44 -5 30
13 SC Freiburg 27 7 7 13 35:53 -18 28
14 1. FC Köln 27 8 4 15 34:56 -22 28
15 FC Augsburg 27 5 12 10 28:41 -13 27
16 Hamburger SV 27 6 9 12 31:50 -19 27 Play-offs
17 Hertha BSC Berlin 27 6 8 13 29:48 -19 26 Relegation
18 1. FC Kaiserslautern 27 3 11 13 17:38 -21 20 Relegation

Table thanks to Official Bundesliga Website