• Monday, 13 September 2010

    Big spenders floundering: Bundesliga reviews

    Hoffenheim 2-0 Schalke
    Dortmund 2-0 Wolfsburg
    Hamburg 1-1 Nurnberg
    Monchengladbach 0-4 Eintracht
    Freiburg 2-1 Stuttgart
    Hannover 2-2 Leverkusen
    Bayern 0-0 Bremen
    Mainz 2-1 Kaiserslautern
    Cologne 1-0 St Pauli

    Money can't buy you love, so some cheeky sixties popsters sang, and it can't buy you Bundesliga points either. Many have tried, but few succeed. Ask Schalke, Bayern and Wolfsburg. Schalke new boy Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was on show, but his new team were overwhelmed by a hard-working Hoffenheim side, a side who have rediscovered their mojo, on Friday night. Huntelaar's strike partner Raul looked like he'd rather be anywhere other than the outskirts of Sindheim and cut a disconsolate and disinterested figure. Hoffenheim weren't about to show much in the way of sympathy and a short corner late in the first half saw the Schalke defence opened up like a well-cooked mussel for Isaac Vorsah to head in unopposed. The second, which came in the last minute, goes down as a Manuel Neuer own goal. Sedad Salihovic hit a lovely free-kick which left the German number one rooted. The ball struck the post, struck Neuer and bobbled in. Bayern were held to a goalless draw by Bremen for whom Torsten Frings out van Bommelled Mark van Bommel and Marko Marin provided much of the thrust. Bayern looked becalmed. Wolfsburg, meanwhile, are 0-for-3 and already the pressure is on Steve McClaren. Where Die Wolfe were lethargic, Dortmund were effervescent and, after a goalless first 45, got their reward five minutes after the break when Nuri Sahin cracked in a long-range shot right into the top corner which left Diego Benaglio flailing. Quarter of an hour later, Andrea Barzagli and Simon Kjaer were pulled apart far too easily to allow Shinji Kagawa through on goal and he finished with ease.

    Hoffenheim remain top then, level on points with the only other 100% side in the league, Mainz. They beat Lautern, back down to earth after the win over Bayern, despite going behind to Srdan Lakic's 20th minute goal after the offside trap was sprung wide open. Mainz were level with 20 minutes left, a long range shot pinballing around the box before Niko Bungert tapped it in from five yards. The winner followed moments later, a wonderful effort from Andre Schurrle which drifted gently through the air as it sailed past the flapping keeper. Hamburg and Hannover both drop points for the first time this season as both were held. Hamburg were ahead against Nurnberg when Joris Mathijsen turned in Eljero Elia's deep corner on the hour, but Nurnberg rescued a point a few minutes from time thanks to Javier Pinola's emphatic penalty. Hannover will feel hard done by to lose a two-goal lead to Leverkusen for whom Patrick Helmes rescued a point in second half stoppage time. Didier Ya Konan put Hannover in front after 20 minutes with a really intelligent finish, opening his body out to create the angle for the shot, and they were two up early in the second half through Mohammed Abdellaoue despite having lost Emmanuel Pogatetz to a second yellow card in the interim. Leverkusen had lost Michael Ballack to a micro-fracture of the shin early in the game, but Eren Derdiyok got them back into it on the hour with a volley from 18 yards. The equaliser had to come and so it did, Helmes rattling a low free-kick in from just outside the box.

    Joining Wolfsburg and Schalke on no points at the bottom of the table are Stuttgart, beaten by Freiburg despite going ahead through Pavel Pogrebnyak, the big Russian heading in from close range in the 27th minute. Papiss Demba Cisse levelled it up on the hour, stealing in at the back post to tap in a deep cross. The winner came quarter of an hour later, the ball laid off to Julian Schuster who curled in a beauty from 20 yards. Cologne picked up a vital three points with a 1-0 win over St Pauli for whom the bubble appears to have burst. A thunderous shot from 35 yards came crashing back off the bar and Taner Yalcin was alive to it and poked it home. Eintracht were the big winners of the weekend, sticking four past Gladbach. Benjamin Kohler got the first, getting above the keeper to head in from close range before Theofanis Gekas got the first of his double, Alex Meier teeing him up for a tap-in. Patrick Ochs got number three with a chipped finish before Gekas completed the rout, Halil Altintop playing the diminutive Greek through an increasingly ragged defence.

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