Back to the epic, mesmeric matchday 8 review from Bundeslihaha creator Alicia!
The most hated club in Germany (RB Leipzig, see part 1) faced a ‘rejuvenated’ Werder Bremen side (they won 2:1 vs. Bayer Leverkusen on the previous matchday). RB delivered a performance few didn’t expect, with a brace from the on-fire Naby Keita (42’, 74’). German international Serge Gnabry scored on the 76th minute to make it 2:1; alas, Die Werderaner had to face the music when a blunder from keeper Felix Wiedwald made way for a Davie Selke goal.
For many, Werder find themselves in the right half of the table, but this could be too much. If Werder gets relegated like Stuttgart and Hannover, who’s gonna keep Bundesliga’s status as the most-watched European league?! Ingolstadt, Darmstadt, Leverkusen, Freiburg, and Hoffenheim’s stadiums are clearly too small for the first division! (Yes, let’s all ignore Hertha’s half-empty 75,000-capacity Olympic Stadium. Double standards much?)
Speaking of Hertha…
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE BULI THAT I USED TO KNOW? Their match with 1. FC Köln was billed a Topspiel (game of the weekend), for Petersen’s sake (note from the editor: Alicia is a Freiburg fan, in case that hasn’t yet become apparent…)! But they’re not wrong.
Just look at the table on Matchday 7:
If you asked me over the summer break, I would expect this matchup to be, like, 8th vs 13th, but last week the Old Lady and the Billy Goats were fourth and second respectively, with the latter being unbeaten in 12 league games – that makes it a real Topspiel, right? What was even better was that unlike many a Klassiker, the hype wasn’t just marketing.
Hertha’s first goal in this exciting match came in the 12th minute in the wake of a counterattack: Weiser’s cross was met by none other Vedad “Vedator” Ibisevic (a play on predator, using his name and Tor (meaning goal in German)). Anthony Modeste equalized in the second half, but it ultimately wasn’t enough as DM Niklas Stark gave the Berliners all three points with an excellent header. Despite Stark and Ibisevic’s goals, Genki Haraguchi was awarded bundesliga.com’s MOTM award for his “energy and work rate, which personified Die Blau-Weissen’s all-round performance”.
Other stats you might find fun:
Another talking point: Fans of the capital club (the ultras group Harlekins Berlin, to be exact) displayed a large anti-gay banner directed at Cologne’s Wilde Horde 96. While fights among supporter groups are common and emotions are encouraged, there’s no excuse for this kind of behaviour.
I come from an extremely conservative country where homophobia, racism, and sexism are rampant; typical of the East. And typical of us, I expected the Western world to be more open-minded about these things, especially in a city like Berlin, but I guess I was wrong.
Sad fact that might annoy you further: This season alone, Harlekins’ banner wasn’t the first display of humanity’s worst in German football. You might have seen this from the Baden ‘derby’ (Hoffenheim vs. Freiburg):
Fotze is the German word for ‘slut’ (editor: we couldn’t print the more often used translation). Ain’t that sweet?
Fortunately, Hoffenheim opted for a less offensive approach (read: plastic-er than plastic with only 200 away fans) on their Saturday clash with Leverkusen. The lack of support didn’t stop Die Kraichgauer from grabbing all three points, however. Bayer (who made a baffling tactical change by not including Chicharito in the squad) just couldn’t cope with only ten men on the pitch after Kevin Volland’s sixth minute red card. This frustrated Roger Schmidt so much that he called Julian Nagelsmann an idiot and told him to shut up (in rather stronger words).
Nagelsmann’s response: “We shouldn’t make a big deal out of this. Football is emotional.”
How about the DFB’s? You guessed it... Although he apologized to the 29-year-old coach (and was defended by fellow firebrand Christian Streich) after the game, Schmidt was handed a 15,000 Euro fine and a two-match ban, which means he’ll miss Leverkusen’s cup tie. Considering Die Werkself is now at an underwhelming 11th place, this won’t help the morale at all…
“Immer wieder vor!”
Ah, morale. Something that’s been lacking in Schalke 04’s changing room since Markus Weinzierl replaced Andre Breitenreiter as head coach (a job that feels more like an interim post when it comes to the Königsblau…). But somehow, it all changed in the last week. Mainz 05’s Europa League-induced fatigue allowed the Royal Blues a 3-0 victory, providing Weinzierl a ticket out of the dreaded relegation playoff spot and sorely-needed breathing space.
In contrast to his current club, Weinzierl’s former club FC Augsburg didn’t do so well. The Bavarians came to Schwarzwald-Stadion with many chances, some as dangerous as their neon yellow kits to the retinas of those watching. Unfortunately, Die Fuggerstädter couldn’t capitalize on them until 85th minute. On Freiburg’s side, Maximillian Philipp (66’) and Nils Petersen (78’) put their names on the scoresheet. Fun fact: This was the Breisgau-Brazilians’ tenth home win in a row.
The review continues with the third and final part coming soon!
Bundeslihaha Creator and Bundesliga Expert