Bundesliga Review – Dortmund Nose Ahead of Competitors

There were only three winners in the Bundesliga this weekend. Cologne edged out Kaiserslautern thanks to Odise Roshi’s header and Hannover’s leading goalscorer Mohammed Abdellaoue shot the 96 to a narrow win at Hertha Berlin. The other victors perhaps were the biggest winners of the weekend.

Borussia Dortmund climbed to the top of the table on Friday night with a win at Nuremberg. After an entertaining first half where both sides had numerous clear cut chances, it was Dortmund who took the lead. Sebastian Kehl side footed home the lively Lukasz Piszczek’s cross and Lucas Barrios completed the scoring with his first goal for nine months meaning it was over to the remaining three title contenders, Bayern, Schalke and Gladbach. However, no one was able equal the Champions’ exploits.

Their arch-rivals Schalke were held in Gelsenkirchen by Mainz. Mohamad Zidan provided the perfect parting gift for his former employers Borussia Dortmund by giving Thomas Tuchel’s side the lead. Now you may remember Maicon’s strike in the World Cup against North Korea? So think, Chinedu Obasi with his left foot and you have Schalke’s equaliser. A winner proved elusive but the team behind the Royal Blues were unable to take advantage of the opportunity.

Gladbach were unable to find a way past Diego Benaglio in Lower Saxony including an uncharacteristic miss from Marco Reus. The Foals remained fourth and it was down to Bayern to try to move back to the top of the table in Saturday’s late kick off. However, in the place where Borussia Dortmund won so convincingly a fortnight back, Jupp Heynckes side could only muster a draw as Ivica Olic cancelled out Jacopo Sala’s first half effort.

Their business manager Uli Hoeness revealed on Monday that when Borussia Dortmund were close to bankruptcy in 2003, Bayern Munich lent the Ruhr side €2 million to help them reduce their arrears. With the Black and Yellows overtaking them in the Bundesliga for the first time since late November, you wonder whether Hoeness is starting mind games in an effort to unsettle Dortmund. On the other hand, it is an interesting subplot to the title race. Considering Bayern’s popularity with those who aren’t fans of the club, many will probably turn a blind eye and view Hoeness’s announcement of this cynically.

It’s not possible to rule out Gladbach and Schalke from the title race yet, especially having only dropped points in the last week. However, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich do seem a cut above the rest. Quite a few sides have a clear talisman – Gladbach have Reus, Hannover have Abdellaoue, Cologne have Podolski, Werder Bremen have Pizarro, Freiburg had Cissé. With Schalke it’s slightly harder to identify with Huntelaar and Raul both large contributors but the top two are not as one dimensional as some of the sides behind them.

Granted, where would Bayern Munich be without Mario Gomez and the same can be said for Robert Lewandowski this season for Borussia Dortmund. However, man-for-man the top two have the most quality in the Bundesliga. Expect to see them in one of the two positions come the end of the season. In what order? Now that would be telling!

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Matchday 20 Results:

Nuremberg 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 Stuttgart

Hertha Berlin 0-1 Hannover

Hoffenheim 2-2 Augsburg

Schalke 1-1 Mainz

Wolfsburg 0-0 Gladbach

Hamburg 1-1 Bayern Munich

Freiburg 2–2 Werder Bremen

Kaiserslautern 0-1 Cologne

Bundesliga Table

Rank Club Matches W* D* L* G* GD* PTS*
1 Borussia Dortmund 20 13 4 3 45:14 +31 43 CL*
2 FC Bayern Munich 20 13 2 5 47:14 +33 41 CL*
3 FC Schalke 04 20 13 2 5 46:25 +21 41 CL*
4 Borussia Mönchengladbach 20 12 4 4 31:12 +19 40 CL* Qual.
5 SV Werder Bremen 20 9 5 6 33:34 -1 32 EL* Qual.
6 Bayer 04 Leverkusen 20 8 7 5 28:27 +1 31 EL* Qual.
7 Hannover 96 20 7 9 4 22:24 -2 30
8 1899 Hoffenheim 20 6 6 8 22:24 -2 24
9 1. FC Köln 20 7 3 10 29:40 -11 24
10 VfL Wolfsburg 20 7 3 10 24:36 -12 24
11 VfB Stuttgart 20 6 5 9 26:28 -2 23
12 Hamburger SV 20 5 8 7 25:34 -9 23
13 1. FSV Mainz 05 20 5 7 8 28:34 -6 22
14 1. FC Nuremberg 20 6 3 11 19:31 -12 21
15 Hertha BSC Berlin 20 4 8 8 25:31 -6 20
16 1. FC Kaiserslautern 20 3 9 8 15:24 -9 18 Play-offs
17 FC Augsburg 20 3 8 9 19:33 -14 17 Relegation
18 SC Freiburg 20 4 5 11 25:44 -19 17 Relegation

Table thanks to the Bundesliga Official Site

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