MAINZ, GERMANY: Adam Szalai of Mainz scores his team's second goal against Gibril Sankoh, Paul Verhaegh and Kevin Vogt (L-R) of Augsburg during the Bundesliga match between 1. FSV Mainz 05 and FC Augsburg.
The 2012-2013 season of Europe's most exciting league rolls on, and so does our weekly Bundesliga wrap-up. As we know, FC Bayern remains at the top of the standings (with goal differential separating us from Eintracht Frankfurt). But read on to see what else is going on around the league.
In a pretty big shock, Hamburger SV picked up their first points of the year with a huge win over Borussia Dortmund. HSV took a lead into the half, and then a goal explosion in the first few minutes of the second left them with a 3-2 lead over BVB. Some desperate defending ensued, with Goetze, Schieber, and Lewandowski all having opportunities, but Adler, Westermann, and the rest of the Hamburg defense held on. With the loss, Dortmund now has just 7 points from 4 matches (still good enough for a tie for 3d-place in the league).
Another shock was Hoffenheim picking up their first points, as well, beating previously-undefeated Hannover 96 in the Rhein-Neckar-Arena. With new GK Tim Wiese inactive, substitute Koen Casteels did enough to lead Hoffenheim to a 3-1 win. H96 was probably fatigued after another Europa League match on Thursday; at any rate, they're still level with BVB and a few others for the 3d-place spot on the table.
It's not a huge shock to see Mainz play well, but they hadn't picked up a win this year (or really even played a solid game from start to finish). They answered the bell this week, though, beating lowly Augsburg 2-0 and bringing themselves to a respectable 4 points. Mainz scored twice in the first half-hour and then were content to sit back and kill the game, which they did capably. The Auggies had a few chances and hit the bar once, but are in trouble now with only 1 point on the board and only 1 goal scored so far.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised by SpVgg and their ability to hold Wolfsburg to a draw, but that still raises a few eyebrows. VfL controlled 60 percent of the possession, drew 22 fouls, and played much of the second half in SpVgg's area of the field, but couldn't find the winner. The Wolves now have 3 straight against decent or better teams (Bayern, Mainz, Schalke) coming up, with 2 of those 3 on the road.
Eintracht Frankfurt rolls on, continuing their perfect start with a Friday night win over Nuernberg. The birds are at home vs. Dortmund this coming week. At some point, they will crash back to earth, but for now their fans are ecstatic. Expect an intense environment at the Commerzbank-Arena.
- Rafa van der Vaart took a few matches to find his legs, but he was a constant danger to Dortmund in HSV's win. His two well-placed assists and threatening presence helped pace the Hamburgers to a needed victory, and they'll certainly be a different team if he can find his best form.
- We keep calling him out, but until he allows a goal, Fabian Geifer continues to deserve the accolades. Fortuna has still yet to concede. Their lack of offensive firepower is keeping them from climbing to the top of the table, but they're still in a decent spot with 6 points from 4 matches.
- Adam Szalai of Mainz had a goal for the second straight week (he also notched a penalty against us last week). Szalai controlled the ball in the area and beat two defenders with a spin move, then unleashed a perfect shot in the first half. He nearly had another in the second; if it weren't for a fine save from Augsburg's Mohamed Amsif, Adam would have had a brace.
The Budapest-born striker spent some time with Real Madrid's youth squad before coming to Mainz, but a knee injury in 2011 set him back. Looks like he's finally getting up to speed.
We'll be back with a preview tomorrow, I guess, because Bayern has a Tuesday match. Thanks for reading.