• Monday, 27 September 2010

    Mainz roll on: Bundesliga reviews

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

    Nobody predicted Mainz were going to do anything this season, but nobody seems to have told them. While they won their first five games, they were perhaps games they'd have fancied winning anyway. However, going to Munich for round six, even if the champions were without their two best players - Franck Ribéry joining Arjen Robben on the sidelines - surely this was where Mainz's fun ended. Not so. Thomas Tuchel's reputation grows day by day and they had much the better of this one. Sami Allaqui back-heeled them in front on the quarter hour and it looked like staying 1-0 up to half time, but a horrendous own goal squared it up. A long ball forward from Mark van Bommel seemed straightforward for Mainz keeper Christian Wetklo, but Bo Svensson needlessly involved himself and diverted past his goalkeeper and into the net. They didn't fold though and, despite moments of pressure from the champions largely from van Bommel, got they're deserved winner when Adam Szalai blasted one in with 13 minutes to go.

    Bremen won a thrilling north German derby. They built up a 2-0 lead by the time half an hour had gone, first with a Guy Demel own goal, turning Marko Marin's driven cross over Frank Rost and into the far corner, and a Hugo Almeida header as the Hamburg defence disappeared. The big change Armin Veh made in the second half was introduce Jonathan Pitroipa and he made an immediate impact. He set up Ruud van Nistelrooy for a tap-in to pull one back and then blasted in an equaliser from 20 yards three minutes later. Bremen were indebted to Per Mertesacker for keeping it level with some important interventions and he was rewarded when Marin set up Almeida for a second, tapping in at the back post to settle an end-to-end contest.

    Dortmund are still second after beating St Pauli and making it five in a row, but not until after the Hamburg side had given them a real shock. Shinji Kagawa looks more and more like an absolute steal at €350,000 and he set up Kevin Grosskreutz for the opener after 17 minutes. BvB had threatened to rip St Pauli apart, but they got back level with a really nice finish from Rouwen Hennings, but the second half was all Dortmund. Kagawa got himself on the scoresheet five minutes after the restart and Grosskreutz's second sealed another impressive win, but St Pauli can take a lot from this. If Mainz being top is a shock, then what is Hannover in third? They circled the wagons to hold off Lautern after Mohammed Abdellaoue had headed them in front on the half hour. Hannover had one attack of note in the second half as Lautern pounded on the door time and time again. They couldn't find a finish and the Hannover defence really earned their money in closing out a hard-earned win.

    Wolfsburg are back to form and it's the Brazilian connection that's doing it. If you're playing Die Wolfe, conceding free-kicks anywhere inside your own half is an open invitation to Diego to plant the ball wherever he wants. Twice in this one, it was onto the head of his countryman Grafite. He headed Wolfsburg ahead in the 25th minute, but Freiburg were level through Papiss Demba Cissé levelled nine minutes from half time after a real goalmouth scramble. Shot after shot rained in, Simon Kjaer and Diego Benaglio somehow managing to keep them all at bay, but Freiburg were allowed one shot too many. Cissé should have put his side ahead after the break, but missed a completely open goal, putting the ball wide. Grafite was again played in by Diego to win it on the hour. Hoffenheim have lost their way a bit and were, in the end, grateful for a draw from the Friday game in Cologne. Lukas Podolski blasted a left-footed drive in for the opener quarter of an hour in and the sides both had many chances throughout the first half, but it remained 1-0. Nine minutes after the break, Demba Ba muscled his way in to equalise and he had a glorious chance to put the Villagers ahead, but it was spurned and the game remained level.

    Stuttgart are in a world of trouble and looked all at sea against Leverkusen. They were aleady 2-0 down when Mauro Camoranesi was sent off for a professional foul. Sami Hyypia had headed in the opener and Arturo Vidal slid in for the second after great work from Eren Derdiyok in the build-up. Zdravko Kuzamanovic pulled one back with one of those free-kicks which floats beyond everyone and sneaks in the far post, but the respite was brief. Hanno Baltisch grabbed the third, Barnetta and Derdiyok were immense throughout and the latter was again at the heart of things in setting up substitute Sidney Sam for the fourth. The Stuttgart defence was awful. Schalke got a point, rescuing Felix Magath's unbeaten home Bundesliga record. Gladbach hit them hard, Filip Daems converting a penalty on the quarter hour after Marco Reus was felled in the box. Michael Bradley wasn't picked up with a late run into the box just before the break and the American slammed the second home. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar pulled one back early in the second half before Gladbach were reduced to ten, Roel Brouwers sent off for a wild lunge on Huntelaar. It looked like Gladbach would hold on, but Raul popped up to stab his first Bundesliga in to rescue a draw with three minutes to go. Finally, Eintracht got back to winning ways with a solid performance against Nurnberg. Theofanis Gekas, despite his diminutive status, is pretty good in the air and headed the opener in the 17th minute, coming away from goal and really extending the neck muscles to give it the power to get over the line. Nurnberg had their chances, but Brazilian defender Chris slid in to seal the points with a couple of minutes left to haul Frankfurt away from bother.

    No comments: