The dynamics of the German top-flight have changed incredibly over the last few weeks, with a four-horse race at the top of the table effectively concluded given Dortmund’s lead and form.
But there is still plenty of excitement in the division with a tasty relegation tussle and some competition for mid-table and European places.
Here is the best of the action from Week 24:
Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 FC Bayern
The “crisis” at Bayern continues with another defeat, this time away to Leverkusen who picked up their third consecutive victory.
The game had a host of chances for both sides with Manuel Neuer and Bernd Leno making some splendid stops during the first period.
But it was Neuer’s error on 79 minutes that allowed Erin Derdiyok to bundle the ball back across goal to Stefan Kiessling who converted from close range. Robin Dutt’s men continued to dominate against a tame Bayern side and Karim Bellarabi slotted home his first Bundesliga goal in injury time.
Hamburg SV 0-4 VfB Stuttgart
Die Roten were in devastating form as Hamburg’s home woes continue under Thorsten Fink.
Bosnian striker Vedad Ibisevic smacked home the opener on 23 minutes before two reckless fouls from Slobodan Rajkovic in the space of 16 minutes allowed fellow Serb Zdravko Kuzmanovic to slot home two spot-kicks to make it 3-0.
Hamburg’s defending was woeful at times, especially in the full-back areas, and Tolgay Arslan’s slack pass in injury time allowed Martin Harnik to ram home his 14th goal of the season.
SC Freiburg 2-1 Schalke 04
Freiburg’s ‘Great Escape’ is gathering pace with Christian Streich securing their second win of the ruckrunde.
Sebastian Freis opened the scoring on 18 minutes after he rounded Timo Hildebrand and slotted home from a few yards out. Freiburg pressed very well and made it difficult for Schalke to dominate and a clumsy challenge from Papadopolous allowed Daniel Caliguiri to fire homethe spot-kick.
Teemu Pukki came on as a second-half substitute and pulled one back on 72 minutes but it proved to be just a consolation for Schalke who are out of the championship battle.
Hertha Berlin 1-0 Werder Bremen
It has been a few weeks of turbulence at the Olympistadion but Otto Rehhagel’s men moved away from the relegation zone on Saturday.
Cheered on by a vociferous 50,000+ support in Berlin, Rehhagel’s men punished Werder’s lack of quality in attack when Armenian attacker Rukavystya volleyed home from a tight angle.
Kaiserslautern 0-0 Wolfsburg
Kaiserslautern’s terrible demise continued with another draw at the Betzenberg.
Marco Kurz recently received a vote of confidence from the hierarchy at Kaiserslautern but a lacklustre display against Wolfsburg now leaves them bottom of the Bundesliga.
Hannover 2-2 FC Augsburg
The strugglers from Bavaria picked up a valuable point in their tussle for survival at Hannover.
Axel Bellinghausen curled home from the edge of the box on 12 minutes but Karim Haggui and Mame Biram Diouf put Hannover ahead with goals either side of the half-time break.
But Jan Ingwen Callsen-Bracker’s penalty on 89 minutes would hand Jos Luhukay’s men a superb point with Augsburg lying in 16th place.
Borussia Dortmund 2-1 FSV Mainz
Jurgen Klopp’s side continued their excellent run of form as they marched towards the championship with another three points.
Jakub Blaszczykowski has proved something of a revlation since replacing the injured Mario Gotze in the Dortmund side and he fired Dortmund ahead on 26 minutes after neat work from Shinji Kagawa.
But Thomas Tuchel’s Mainz never know when they are beaten and they hit back through Mohamed Zidan’s fifth goal in five games on 74 minutes.
Parity didn’t last long as the impressive Kagawa rammed home the second for Borussia Dortmund just three minutes later. Given FC Bayern’s slump in form, the gap between the two giants
stands at seven points.
FC Nurnberg 1-0 Borussia M’Gladbach
The Foals passed up the opportunity to move in to second on Sunday with a disappointing display in Nurnberg.
Gladbach were on the back-foot for long spells in the second-half with Marc-Andre Ter Stegan the stand-out performer for Favre’s men. But Bunjaku’s side-foot finish on 78 minutes after good work from Esswein put the hosts ahead and secured the points.
Hoffenheim 1-1 Cologne
Stale Solbakken is a man under pressure and his side were fortunate to come from Hoffenhem with a draw.
Marvin Compper’s header from Rudy’s corner put the home side ahead and Hoffenheim should have added more goals through Firmino and Babel. Lukas Podolski struck late in the second half to give Solbakken a valuable point in their hunt for a mid-table place.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Mohamed Zidan (Mainz) – The Egyptian has got to be the best signing in Europe this January based on his stats since then. Five goals in five games in his third spell at Mainz has kept The Carnival Club in a decent mid-table position.
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