- Bayer Leverkusen – Hannover 96 4:0
- Bayern München – Werder Bremen 2:5
- Arminia Bielefeld – 1.FC Köln 2:0
- Borussia Mönchengladbach – Hertha BSC Berlin 0:1
- Schalke 04 – Eintracht Frankfurt 1:0
- Energie Cottbus – VfL Bochum 1:1
- VfL Wolfsburg – Hamburger SV
- 1899 Hoffenheim – Borussia Dortmund
- VfB Stuttgart – Karlsruher SC
Oh boy, there had been a lot of talk about this week’s top match between Bayern and Bremen. Germany’s media saw Bayern back on track after their win in the Champions League at Bukarest and Bremen looked like they were derailed after only managing a draw against Famagusta from Cyprus at home. Add in quite a few injuries on the Bremen squat (mainly Frings) and all but a Bayern victory would have been a huge surprise. And then Bremen comes out in Munich and completely thrashes Bayern in the first 60 minutes with five goals. Five Goals!! Before the season a lot of people argued if Bremen would be able to play their offensive style with the strikers they have. Almeida, Rosenberg and Hunt didn’t look like adequate substitutes for the likes of Klasnic or Klose. True, Klose and Ribéry were missing for Munich, but anyway. What was most striking for me as I was watching the match was the big difference on the position of the goalkeeper. As everybody knows Bayern goalkeeping legend Oliver Kahn, the stone age character, retired from professional sports and was succeeded by Michael Rensing, a promising young talent Bayern representatives always see as the next national team goalkeeper. The only problem ist that this poor guy didn’t have any chances to really prove himself over a long period of time. He has that chance now and what I saw of him this weekend didn’t look very convincing. Just as his predecessor his problems seem to grow whenever he has to leave the goal line. There were quite a few situations when he was helplessly flying through the penalty box without any sense of direction or determination. Bremen on the other hand played what they can do best, brilliant counterattacking strikes with deadly perfection. Rosenberg (2x), Pizzaro, Özil and Naldo took apart the Bayern defence at will. We will have to wait and see what the newspapers will write but Bayern coach Jürgen Klinsmann will have tough times ahead of him, that’s for sure. The quote of the day came from Bayern boss Franz Beckenbauer:
“There are those days when you break your finger while picking your nose, that happens.”
Elsewhere Bayer Leverkusen absolutely stunned the competition with a brilliant performance against Hannover (4-0) who had thrashed Mönchengladbach last week (5-1). The hero of the night was striker Patrick Helmes, acquired from local rivals 1.FC Köln before the season, who scored three goals after wonderful combinations in the midfield. Although they have lost two out of five Leverkusen right now looks like the most consistent team in the Bundesliga,. Their losses against Dortmund (2-3) and Hamburg (2-3) were both close, both times they scored two goals and both times they had a chance to at least level the score and get away with a draw. Noone realy expects them to do well, as their nickname is “Vizekusen” (Vice-kusen) since their dramatic collapse in 2002 when they lost first the championship on the last day, then the cup final and last but not least their Champions League final tie with Real Madrid. The team back then was great, this team today might have a similar future ahead of them, but maybe with a different result at the end. Players like René Adler (Germany’s most promising goalkeeping talent), Simon Rolfes, Tranquilo Barnetta, Gonzalo Castro, Stefan Kießling and the ever dangerous Helmes are all still very young and it seems like with a coach like Bruno Labbadia they have somone at the helm who is able to make the most of their talent.
In the other matches on Saturday both promotion teams from Cologne (against Bielefeld, two goals in three minutes) and Mönchengladbach (against Berlin) paid for their inexperience, Cottbus scored their first goal of the season but still weren’t unable to get away with a win against Bochum and Schalke grinded out a win against Frankfurt.
Sunday saw three games because of the UEFA-Cup competition on Thursday to garantuee a fair competition and enough rest for the teams, something that caused a huge debate last season when some teams had to play on Saturdays after European cup away ties on only two days rest. And that was the blueprint for what happened on Sunday then all teams involved in European cup competition were continuing where they left off. A three goal deficit proved to be too much for Hamburger SV who came back trailing by two in their last three games, if I remember it correctly. This time Wolfsburg showed what they are capable of. Meanwhile in Mannheim, were Hoffenheim plays their home games until their new stadium is completed, Dortmund was thrashed and continued their downward spiral. And in the most heated game of the weekend, the Baden-Würtemberg derby, Stuttgart held Karlsruhe down.
I won’t be talking about Fortuna Köln and their miserable 0-0 draw against last place Hammer Spvg as I am still fuming about the performance of the team.