As Leipzig continue to chase away at Bayern’s first place position, match week 23 of the Bundesliga is here. Ashley Adamson-Edwards takes you through this weekends highlights.
Werder Bremen 2 – 1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Despite the end result, the home side got off to a worrying start as André Silva scored a spectacularly accurate header in the ninth minute. With Bremen manager Florian Kohfeldt watching on as the oppositions striker scored his 19th of the season, something needed to change. Although Josh Sargent did manage to find an equalizer close to the half-hour mark, his efforts were disallowed by the linesman and Bremen remained trailing at the break.Embed from Getty Images
Following their disappointing first-half, Bremen managed to score just two minutes into the second. Theodor Gebre Salassie made it 1-1 with a well finished, side-footed shot past Kevin Trap and the game was back on.
With The River Islanders now pushing for the winner, Frankfurt were struggling to build on their impressive victory from last weekend. In the 62nd minute, Sargent was finally let off by the officials as it was deemed that he was just onside before sealing all three points.
Bayern Munich 5 – 1 FC Koln
Following their disappointing ending to last week’s fixture, Hansi Flick’s side certainly weren’t going to let another side get the better of them. And didn’t they just.
After a nice piece of dribbling from Leroy Sane, Bayern found their opener through Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s towering header. Only 15 minutes later, and Leon Goretzka showed that despite his huge physic, the technical side of his game is still very much apparent. A quick touch to control, another to nutmeg Rafeal Czichos and one more to set up Robert Lewandowski’s first of the game. 2-0.
The away side then got off to the perfect start after half-time. Somehow, David Alaba forgot to actually take a touch of the ball, allowing Ellyes Skhiri to show brilliant composure by dancing around the Austrian and lobbing Manuel Neuer.
With flashbacks from last week now lurking in Bayern’s number nine’s mind, the Polish superstar waited no time to convert Thomas Muller’s through-ball in the 65th minute. A strong finish into the bottom-right corner.
Now two goals ahead, Flick decided that it was time for Serge Gnabry to enter the scene. The ex-Arsenal man then went about converting Lucas Hernandez’s cross in the 82nd minutre, and then Gorerzka’s in the 86th. Bayern are back.
VfB Stuttgart 5 – 1 Schalke 04
Despite Schalke not losing away to Stuttgart since 2014, this seasons form means that any record can be broken. Meanwhile, the home side showed exactly why they deserve to continue to push up the Bundesliga table.
Wataru Endo opened the scoring from a corner when his volley caught Michael Langer off guard whilst being horrifically unmarked. If scoring his first goal of the season wasn’t enough for the Japanese midfielder, then he may as well have gone and scored the exact same goal once more. And he did just that. 16 minutes after his first, Stuttgart’s number three popped up once more at the back post and volleyed home a two goal lead.Embed from Getty Images
However, after the first two, Schalke decided to try and prove to everyone just how awful they are at defending set pieces. In the 34th minute, Borna Sosa proved his technical ability once more with a well placed cross towards Sasa Kalajdzic who headed into the side netting. The Austrians sixth goal in five previous league games.
The Bundesliga’s worst side this season were then given a little bit of hope whilst approaching half-time when Sead Kolašinac did well to side foot a shot into Stuttgart’s bottom corner.
The Royal Blues’ then started the second half well when Amine Harit won a penalty. However, the Morrocan didn’t take his chance when it mattered against Gregor Kobel. Allowing the Bundesliga’s goalkeeper with the fifth most shots saved to add another to his tally.
After such a strong first half performance, it was a wonder why Stuttgart waited so long to continue their goal scoring. But, in the 88th minute, Philipp Klement produced a wonderful turn on the edge of the box to line up a powerful but well placed left-footed strike. Stuttgart 4 – 1 Schalke.
To finish off a remarkable performance from Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side, Daniel Didavi took advantage of some time and space from around 30 yards out and struck a beautiful shot into the top-left corner.
What a performance from the home side, but nothing unusual from the away one.
Borussia Dortmund 3 – 0 Arminia Bielefeld
After Dortmund produced such a brilliant performance in last weeks fixture, they started strong against Arminia with Marco Reus hitting the bar after a free-kick. Bielefeld remain the only current side in the Bundesliga that the German playmaker hasn’t scored against.
Nevertheless, Mahmoud Dahood popped up to score his first league goal for Dortmund since 2018 just after the break. The ex-Gladbach player did well to position himself and find the bottom-left corner from outside the box.
To make matters worse for Bielefeld, Amos Pieper brought down Reus in his won box, giving the referee no choice. The second goal of the game then fell upon the young shoulders of Jadon Sancho who remained calm and got the job done from the spot.
After some nice link up play from Erling Braut Haaland, Dortmund scored the final of the match when Reinier Jesus Carvalho was gifted his first Bundesliga goal.Embed from Getty Images
The comeback is on for Dortmund, but is it too late for BVB.
Wolfsburg 2 – 0 Hertha Berlin
Hertha Berlin were given enough warning for their result this weekend when Wout Weghorst headed in from an offside position. However, Lukas Klünter’s poor attempt at clearing a cross meant he scored his first Bundesliga own goal, giving Wolfsburg the lead.
After some worrying moments for the home side, they were able to secure all three points in the 89th minute. Maximilian Arnold produced a great corner to set up Maxence Lacroix’s powerful header into the top left of Hertha’s net.
With nearly everything going right for Wolfsburg, Marin Pongračić’s reckless challenge meant he received his second booking of the game .
RB Leipzig 3 – 2 Borussia Monchengladbach
Now it was RB Leipzig’s turn, if they wanted to keep up their chase on Bayern, three points is now necessary in almost every game. However, when Jonas Hoffman converted from the spot in the sixth minute to put Gladbach ahead, those three points were looking increasingly unlikely against such a tough opposition.
Just 13 minutes later and Peter Gulacsi found himself watching on as the ball rolled into his net once more. Breel Embolo managed to get just the right amount of power and accuracy behind his header to put the away side two goals in front. As half-time approached, Julian Nagelsmann looked on in fear as his Bundesliga ambitions looked diminished.Embed from Getty Images
What followed can only be described as a piece of tactical genius from Nagelsmann. Following half-time, Alexander Sorloth was brought on for Marcel Sabitzer to give The Redbulls more threat up front.
In the 57th minute, Christopher Nkunku remained calm and side-footed a ball from Sorloth into the roof of Yann Sommer’s net. The come-back was on.
No less than six minutes later and Yussuf Poulson turned the game around with a brilliantly precise strike. From just outside the box, the Denmark international fired off the post and in. Somehow, Nagelsmann’s side had managed to level the game.
As the match then went on, Leipzig simply didn’t give up. The likes of Poulson, Justin Kluivert and Emil Forsberg continued to fire at will. But in the end, it was Nagelsmann’s earlier substitution that proved the difference. As Sorloth waited at the back post, Nkunku’s cross seemed to float above everyone else. Waiting for the Norwegian to header across goal and seal the victory for the home side.Embed from Getty Images
What a match. What a game. And the Bundesliga title race continues.
Union Berlin 1 – 1 Hoffenheim
Union Berlin’s encounter with Hoffenheim this Sunday began what was to be a quite a dull day of results in the Bundesliga.
Max Kruse opened the scoring in the ninth minute from the spot with a fantastic strike into the top-right corner. As the 32-year-old German put away his seventh goal of the season, opposition manager Sebastian Hoeneß shook his head in disappointment at Florian Grillitsch for giving away the penalty.Embed from Getty Images
No less than 20 minutes later, and Andrej Kramarić marked his return to the starting eleven with exactly what his side needed. As he burst down the left flank, his ball into the box was too difficult for Nico Schlotterbeck to handle and the central defender ended up blundering the ball into his own net.
As the game went on, it looked as though the score line would stay the same until Pavel Kadeřábek scored from inside box. Had it not been for video assistant ruling out the goal for offside in the build-up, and the Czech Republic international would have won his side all three points. Unfortunately though, the final score remained level.
Mainz 0 – 1 Augsburg
Mainz had a massive opportunity this weekend to push themselves up the table and out of the relegation zone. However, Robin Zentner made sure to ruin those chances with a horrible mistake in the 25th minute when passing out from the back, allowing André Hahn to score.
Although the home side came into this match on such strong form, having beaten the likes of Gladbach and Leverkusen recently, nothing they produced was able to pass Augsburg’s superb defensive shape. As the full-time whistle was blown, Mainz looked on at a scoreboard that read frustratingly against them.
Bayer Leverkusen 1 – 2 SC Freiburg
Despite Leverkusen’s impressive start to their season, their performance in the last fixture of the weekend simply wasn’t good enough. Throughout the first half, both sides had a few chances including a nice, curling shot from Leon Baily which nearly caught out Florian Muller between the sticks.
However, after a nice run from Lucas Holer in the 50th minute, the ball was pulled back across the box to find Ermedin Demirovic who tucked ball into the bottom-right corner. Brilliant play from the visitors but horrible defending from the home side.
The German number nine then went about putting his side two goals ahead with a simple finish from six yards out. Holer’s third goal this season.Embed from Getty Images
Nevertheless, Leverkusen’s star man just couldn’t stay quiet. In the 70th minute, Baily received the ball on the edge of the box, dropped his shoulder to breeze past the opposition and struck powerfully into the top-right corner. A nice goal, but not enough push his side above Borussia Dortmund in the table.