Die Seitenlinie: Skibbe pays price for Hertha slump

Michael Skibbe
Michael Skibbe© SNS Group

It’s been a busy week in the Bundesliga, not just for the football.

Two coaches have gone – one of them after just 52 days in charge of Hertha Berlin. But it was business as usual for the teams at the top with FC Bayern, Borussia Dortmund and Gladbach all picking up victories.

Here’s the best of the action from this weekend:

Wolfsburg 3-2 Freiburg: Wolfsburg moved in to seventh on Friday evening with a tight home win over bottom-placed Freiburg.
Czech midfielder Petr Jiracek bundled home the opener on four minutes before Johannes Flum equalised six minutes later. Wolfsburg’s Marcel Schafer put the hosts back ahead soon after with a neat strike but Caliguiri of Freiburg produced a really tidy finish on 38 minutes to make it 2-2.

But the impressive Jiracek, who joined from Viktoria Plzen in January, scored the winner on 72 minutes.

Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Bayer Leverkusen: At the Westfalen in front of over 75,000, Leverkusen made life difficult for the league-leaders with a very resilient display.

But they were undone on the stroke of half-time when Shinji Kagawa finished well at the back-post with his seventh goal of the campaign. Dortmund remain top of the table, two points clear of second-place FC Bayern.

FC Bayern 2-0 Kaiserslautern: After some disappointing performances in the ruckrunde, FC Bayern bounced back at the Allianz Arena with a comfortable win over Kaiserslautern.

Mario Gomez scored his 18th goal in 20 league matches on six minutes and their lead was doubled on the half hour mark when Thomas Muller finished well from close range.

Marco Kurz’s men are in the relegation play-off position and are level on 18 points with FC Augsburg.

Werder Bremen 1-1 Hoffenheim: It was a turbulent week for Hoffenheim with Dietmar Hopp axing Holger Stanislawski after just six months in charge. Former Liverpool defender Markus Babbel returned to coaching and was handed a three-year deal at Hoffenheim on Friday.

And they were in inspired form against a lacklustre Werder Bremen side who were without their leading goalscorer Claudio Pizarro. Jannik Vestergaard put the away side on the fourth minute after some hesitation from Werder keeper Tim Wiese.
Hoffenheim looked confident and organised under Babbel and were just minutes away from holding out until Marko Arnautovic equalised in stoppage time for Thomas Schaaf’s men.

Mainz 1-1 Hannover: Artur Sobiech’s injury-time strike for Mirko Slomka’s Hannover stretched their ruckrunde unbeaten run to four games after a 1-1 draw with Mainz.

Mohammed Zidan put Mainz ahead with his second goal in consecutive games since joining from Dortmund in January on seven minutes. Thomas Tuchel’s side were the better team and created numerous chances which they couldn’t convert.
And they were punished for their poor finishing when midfielder Sobiech fired home from just a few yards out to keep Hannover in the hunt for a European place.

Stuttgart 5-0 Hertha Berlin: Saturday would prove to be the end of Michael Skibbe’s short reign in charge of Hertha with his fifth defeat in five games.

Sporting director Michael Preetz made the call on Sunday morning and over 250 supporters expressed their anger at the mismanagement of the club outside the stadium.

They witnessed a fairly average Stuttgart side absolutely hammer The Berliners with a hat-trick from Martin Harnik and goals from Shinji Okazaki and Vedad Ibisevic.

Preetz’s hunt for a new coach is already underway with former Celtic man Andreas Thom, now youth coach at Hertha, throwing his name in to the hat.

Borussia M’Gladbach 3-0 Schalke: In the game of the weekend, Gladbach jumped ahead of Schalke in to third after a superb first half performance.

Goals from Marco Reus, Mike Hanke and Juan Arango inside 32 minutes put Gladbach in cruise control as they steam-rolled over Huub Steven’s side. The Royal Blues were extremely disappointing at Borussia Park and offered little resistance to Gladbach’s fluid attacking play.

FC Augsburg 0-0 Nurnberg: There were no goals in Augsburg on Sunday afternoon with Jos Luhukay’s men failing to take advantage of their pressure against Nurnberg.

The closest Augsburg came was from a first-half strike by Hajime Hosogai who forced an excellent save from Raphael Schafer.

Augsburg remain in the relegation zone but are level on points with Kaiserslautern and just two points away from safety.

Cologne 0-1 Hamburg: Hamburg moved in to 10th after Jose Paolo Guerrero’s late strike seen off Solbakken’s Cologne.
In a first-half with very few chances, probably down to Lukas Podolski’s absence for Cologne, Hamburg looked content to stick with a draw but a quick breakaway opened up an attack for Thorsten Fink’s side and Peruvian striker Guerrero finished confidently past Michael Rensing to keep HSV unbeaten in three games.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

Martin Harnik (Stuttgart) – It’s rare to see anyone score a hat-trick in the Bundesliga outside of Mario Gomez and Claudio Pizarro but Austrian winger Martin Harnik took his tally in to double figures with three goals against Hertha. The 24-year-old has been in fantastic form over the last 18 months and recently signed a new deal in Stuttgart.

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