• Monday, 1 February 2010

    Three horse race: Bundesliga reviews

    Hamburg 1-1 Wolfsburg
    Hertha 0-0 Bochum
    Monchengladbach 4-3 Bremen
    Hannover 1-3 Nurnberg
    Eintracht 1-2 Cologne
    Bayern 3-0 Mainz
    Schalke 2-0 Hoffenheim
    Stuttgart 4-1 Dortmund
    Leverkusen 3-1 Freiburg

    And then there were three. The front runners have opened up a gap back to the rest after this week's round of fixtures and it looks a three-way tussle for the title. Schalke poured more misery on Hoffenheim with a thoroughly professional performance that leaves the Villagers 19 points off the leaders. Kevin Kuranyi bundled home the opener early on and Lukas Schmitz sealed the win just after the break. Hoffenheim look a shadow of the side that burst onto the scene last year. They're defending way too deep and the attackers are isolated. They've got issues. Bayern rallied after the break against Mainz to come up with all three points. Hans-Jorg Butt missed a first-half penalty, his first ever miss from the spot, but Daniel van Buyten eventually gave them the lead, heading through the keeper's legs early in the second half. Mario Gomez made it safe quarter of an hour from time and Arjen Robben added a third late on. Leverkusen survived an early scare from Freiburg and came through after a devastating five-minute spell swung the game their way. Rene Adler spilled the ball on his own line early on and at least 80% of the ball crossed the goal-line before the German international scrambled it clear. Approaching half-time goalless, Tranquillo Barnetta planted a fabulous cross onto the head of the prolific Stefan Kiessling for 1-0 and it was two within a minute, Freiburg keeper Simon Pouplin clearing straight to Eren Derdiyok and the young Swiss striker finished in style. Five minutes later, Sami Hyypia scored his second in as many games, a thunderous header from Barnetta's corner. Felix Bastians pulled one back in the second half, but Leverkusen were in cruise control by then. Leverkusen remain top and undefeated.

    The gap opens up thanks to Dortmund and Hamburg both dropping points. Dortmund's great run came to a shuddering halt at Stuttgart. Pavel Pogrebnyak had the Swabians in front inside a quarter hour, bundling the ball in after a right scramble in the goalmouth. Just after the break, Stuttgart won a penalty after an awful challenge on Ciprian Marica by Patrick Owomoyela, but the Romanian blazed it against the bar. Inevitably, Dortmund went and equalised, Lucas Barrios with his tenth of the season. Stuttgart weren't to be denied and with 13 minutes to go, Zdravko Kuzmanovic blasted a free-kick in to restore the lead. Marica got his deserved goal four minutes from time and Christian Traesch added some gloss with a fourth. Hamburg were lucky to get anything from their game at home to Wolfsburg. The champions were ahead through Edin Dzeko (who else?) with a fine, fine finish ten minutes from half-time, and that looked like being enough. But, with the last kick of the game, Piotr Trochowski fired in a free-kick that arced majestically en route to goal to deny them the win.

    Gladbach raced into a three-goal lead at home to Bremen with Marco Reus, Roberto Colautti and Raul Bobadilla all on the scoresheet within 20 minutes of kick-off. Mesut Ozil pulled one back, but it was soon 4-1 after Bobadilla's second. Claudio Pizarro made it 4-2 at the break and Bremen were much better in the second half, but only had a Torsten Frings penalty to show for it as Gladbach hung on for three vital points. Cologne won again, a Marco Russ own goal handing them the points five minutes from time. Nurnberg scored a very important win over Hannover, Albert Bunjaku's hat-trick seeing them home. Hertha could only pick up a single point from an insipid game against Bochum which leaves them five points adrift at the foot of the table.

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