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
|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.|
|9||1. FC Köln||20||7||3||10||29:40||-11||24|
|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|
Table thanks to the Bundesliga Official Site