• Thursday, 23 September 2010

    Schalke off the mark: Bundesliga reviews/previews

    Hannover 4-1 Bremen
    Mainz 2-0 Cologne
    Hoffenheim 1-2 Bayern
    Leverkusen 2-1 Eintracht
    Dortmund 5-0 Kaiserslautern
    Monchengladbach 1-2 St Pauli
    Hamburg 1-3 Wolfsburg
    Nurnberg 2-1 Stuttgart
    Freiburg 1-2 Schalke

    Schalke got off the mark in the first midweek round of fixtures, bouncing back from last weekend's derby disappointment. They left it late though, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar getting on the end of a deep cross in the last minute. Freiburg started the brighter, almost prising an opening in the first minute, but Ivan Rakitic put Schalke ahead in the ninth after Huntelaar's shot wasn't held. Demba Cissé levelled it midway through the second half as Freiburg continued to pile forwards, but they remained vulnerable at the back and Huntelaar nipped in. To make matters worse, a stray elbow in stoppage time saw Ivica Banovic booked for the second time and he was duly sent off. They remain bottom, but level on points with Eintracht and Stuttgart, both of whom lost. More late drama accounted for the Frankfurters, Patrick Ochs sent off and Arturo Vidal converting the penalty in second half stoppages. Earlier, Lars Bender converted a great cross to give Leverkusen the lead in the ninth minute, but just nine more had elapsed when Theofanis Gekas headed in an Ochs cross. After sticking seven away at the weekend, hopes were high for Stuttgart at Nurnberg, but it didn't come to pass. Indeed, the bubble burst in just the third minute, Julian Schieber latching onto a perfect through ball to tuck in the opener. Nurnberg had Andreas Wolf sent off midway through the second half and Cacau equalised with five minutes to go, giving Stuttgart hope. Hope that was extinguished in stoppage time as the ten men found a winner, Javier Pinola finishing a quick counter-attack. Wolfsburg, meanwhile, pull away from that end of the table and look altogether better after a 3-1 win over Hamburg. Diego Benaglio has his mojo back after a wobbly start to the campaign and pulled off two top drawer saves to keep his side in it and, inevitably, Edin Dzeko went up the other end to finish off Wolfsburg's first real attack of the game. The electric pace of Eljero Elia created the equaliser for Eric Choupo-Moting and it remained level to the break. Hamburg started the second half the brighter, but Grafite, who had been quiet to the the point of anonymous, popped up with two quickfire goals to win it. His first came from Marcel Schafer's teasing cross with twenty minutes to go and eight minutes later, he got his second of the game and the season, a solo effort finished from a tight-ish angle.

    Mainz strengthen their place at the top with their fifth win from five. Lewis Holtby got both goals for Thomas Tuchel's men as Cologne were brushed aside. They had to wait until 18 minutes from time for the opener, a free header for Holtby from a free-kick and he couldn't miss from that close in to the goal. The second, in the last minute, was a composed finish off a long ball up the middle. Dortmund are up to second after their fourth straight win, thumping Lautern at home. Lautern were pretty awful, but held out for half an hour when Lucas Barrios broke through and finished from the left hand side of the penalty area. Seven minutes later, Kevin Grosskreutz curled in a beautiful second and so it remained to half time. Chances continued to flow in the second half, but it took twenty minutes for the third goal to arrive, Mats Hummels heading in as the Lautern keeper went walkabout. Robert Lewandowski chipped in for number four and Barrios, fittingly, wrapped it up, sliding in for the fifth. Hoffenheim were beaten despite going ahead inside 45 seconds, Vedad Ibisevic stealing in to stun the Bavarian giants. Thomas Muller levelled on the hour, a parried save falling kindly for him and Daniel van Buyten won it in the last minute with an unconvincing prod.

    St Pauli got back to winning ways against Gladbach whose week just got worse and worse following the 7-0 stuffing they copped last weekend. They did lead midway through the first half though, Juan Arango reacting quickest as a header was just parried. Gerald Asamoah had been on the field barely two minutes when he headed St Pauli level and he was heavily involved in the incident that led to the penalty that put them in front, Carsten Rothenbach upended in the box by Roel Brouwers. Florian Bruns converted and Gladbach's woe was complete when Mohamadou Idrissou was sent off in stoppage time for a second booking. Bremen languish in 14th after being well beaten by Hannover. It started badly, Clemens Fritz throwing a leg at a wayward header and diverting it into his own net. Torsten Frings levelled it from the penalty spot after some wrestling in the box at a set piece but the second half was all one way. Eight minutes of it had elapsed when Bremen were caught in possession in midfield and the ball was shipped forward to Didier Ya Konan who waited for Tim Wiese to commit before slotting it past him. Christian Schulz made it three ten minutes from time with an opportunistic strike and the rout was completed in the last minute when Mohammed Abdellaoue sprang the offside trap and nicked in ahead of the defence. It could and maybe should have been more.

    Hoffenheim kick us off this coming weekend with a trip to Cologne on the Friday night while Mainz take their unbeaten record to Munich to face Bayern. Dortmund are in Hamburg to face St Pauli as they look to pick up any scraps Mainz offer them.

    Cologne v Hoffenheim
    Bayern v Mainz
    Schalke v Monchengladbach
    Stuttgart v Leverkusen
    Eintracht v Nurnberg
    St Pauli v Dortmund
    Bremen v Hamburg
    Wolfsburg v Freiburg
    Kaiserslautern v Hannover

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