Match Day Recap
Bayern Munich 4-0 Hannover
After watching this game, I felt a little, errrr, off. Don't get me wrong, I love a thorough undressing of our opponent as much as the next Münchener, but I couldn't help but feel bad for Hannover. I mean, is it their fault they are so far below talent wise than us? Is it fair that we get to watch Lewandowski bully his way through their back line? Is it fair that Robben can move in and out of their penalty area with the greatest of ease? And, then, it hit me. This is exactly how those jag off Bayern haters WANT me to feel. They want to use this to beat their drum about how we're ruining the Bundesliga by making it a one team league. Well, to heck with that. I'm gonna go back to enjoying watching our boys make mince meat out the opposition. Moment of weakness over, let's get to the recap.
I'm sure you can probably already guess how this one went, so I'll be brief. Robben and Lewa had a brace apiece (a brace of braces?), and Hannover managed to force Neuer into make one save all game. Not a typo, he had to make one save. Now, granted, it was a sparkling save, so kudos to him for staying on his toes and not picking flowers or anything. Anyway, time for the awards.
Tip O' The Cap: Rafinha. For the first time, Rafi gets himself in the Meisters with a well earned Tip. I thought he played great box to box and made a beautiful long pass to set up Lewa's first goal. Good on ya.
Golf Clap: Xabi Alonso. I swear Xabi has been on the radar for every match he's played with us since his transfer from Real. Well, he was at it again this match. He was fantastic in organizing the attack, strong on possession, had a couple great long range passes, and just for poops and giggles, attempted a loooooong range shot that got a lot closer than I would have thought it would be.
Standing Ovation: Robert Lewandowski. If it wasn't for Robben, he would have absolutely been my Match Meister this week. All of what makes Lewa a top shelf striker in the world was on display. He showed his strong dribbling ability, world class finishing and deft positioning to get himself his brace. He was worth every penny we spent to pry him away from Dortmund (sarcasm alert). He is coming into his own now in the Bundesliga, and that should scare the crap out everyone
Meister Of The Match: Arjen Robben. The dude who looks like he's 40 but plays like he's 20 was once again back to doing what makes him great; dominating an entire side of the pitch. He breezed past the opposing defenders like they weren't even there. Now, was this the greatest of backlines? Nope, but you can only play against the people you're playing against, not the ones you aren't. Point is, even the best players in the world (and he is) get a few games against some "B" teams. Doesn't make their performances any less impressive, and Robben certainly was impressive.
Hertha BSC 3-2 Stuttgart
Hertha got caught napping early as Stuttgart jumped out to an early goal from Moritz Leitner in the 5' from right outside the box. From then on, Hertha pressed the attack and forced Stuttgart keeper Thorsten Kirschbaum to make several fantastic faves. However, a penalty was awarded to Hertha after Valentin Stocker was taken down after receiving the rebound of his own shot. Solomon Kalou easily converted to draw even. Kalou would then get his second after making a great solo run into the zone, blowing past his man, and drilling the ball past Kirschbaum. This match would prove to be a wide open affair, with several great chances on both sides. Roy Beerens would score once more for Hertha in the 74' off a great cross from Stocker to give them all the goals they would need. This one wins my Match Of The Week
Borussia Dortmund 0-1 Hamburger SV
Dortmund, what am I going to do with you? I am now fully convinced they are actually 2 different teams. How else to explain how they are able to strangle the life out of Arsenal in the Champions League en route to a full 6 points after 2 matches, but yet lose to Hamburger. Keep in mind this is the same Hamburg squad who set the Bundesliga record for consecutive scoreless minutes. I say this a lot, but give credit where credit is due and Hamburg deserves a LOT of credit here. This wasn't just a case of "small team goes up by 1 and parks 10 for the next 80 minutes", Hamburg brought it to Dortmund all game and this one could have been 3-0. To start off the scoring, it was Pierre-Michel Lasogga, the 22 year old, who fired home a shot off a cross from Nicolai Muller. Muller probably deserves most of the credit as he took the ball from Ramos and then blew right past Sokratis Papastathopoulos on the left flank before feeding Lasogga. In the 63' Heiko Westerman had a very close near goal that required a one handed diving save from Weidenfeller to keep Dortmund in the game. From there on out, Dortmund and Hamburg would exchange scoring chances, with several more going to Hamburg, who looks like a completely different team than the one who started the season
Bayer Leverkusen 2-2 SC Paderborn
It was a back and forth affair at BayArena as Suleymon Koc got the scoring started for Paderborn off horrible decision from Leverkusen's keeper Bernd Leno to come out of his zone to attempt to clear the ball and badly whiffed. Koc went right around him and found the empty net. Poor keeping would plague both teams as it was Paderborn's Lukas Kruse who bobbled a rebound in the box, which Lars Bender pounced on to make it 1-1 in the 42'. Leno would once AGAIN gaffe on an ill advised challenge to Paderborn's Moritz Stoppelkamp who calmly dribbled around him and fired a goal to the far corner to put them up 2-1 in the 87' and from there it seemed like the upset was on. However, it was Karim Bellarbi who was the hero for Leverkusen as he collected a pass with a deft first touch from Robbie Kruse and fired a shot from the right corner of the box to beat Kruse and bring the game level at 2 a piece and save a point.
Hoffenheim 2-1 Schalke
Hoffenheim delighted their home crowd of 30k to a strong home victory over Schalke. It was Roberto Firmino who did most of the damage here and he didn't wait long before he darted into the zone and fed Tarik Elyounoussi in the 13' to give Hoffenheim the 1-0 lead. 7' later, Hoffenheim led another strong counter attack as Firmino got another assist as he fed Adam Szalai who banged home a ridiculous strike to put them up 2-0. From there on, it was pretty much cruise control as Schalke looked disjointed for most of the match until the 83' when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar shot one low and to the near post to beat a diving Oliver Baumann and bring them to within one. It was all for naught, however, as Hoffenheim held on and got the much earned 3 points.
Werder Bremen 1-1 Freiburg
This one got ugly fast as Freiburg was the recipient of a penalty kick which Vladimir Darida easily converted in the 6'. Bremen, however, didn't give up as Zlatko Junuzovic found a streaking Franco Di Santo down the left flank who buried his strike from distance to bring this game level. From there on, it was Bremen who had a huge edge in shots, but couldn't get the winner, and came away with a point.
Eintracht Frankfurt 3-2 FC Koln
51k strong showed up to see Frankfurt take on newly promoted Koln, and they were in for a show. Koln got the scoring started in the 15' as Marcel Risse scored from the left corner of the box off a well placed cross from Kevin Vogt to put them up 1-0. However, it was Alex Meier (who wins the award for douchiest hair cut in the BL...) in the 44' who headed home a cross from Seferovic to level it up at 1-1. In the 54' it another Meier header, this time from the left side of the box and this time also off a feed from Seferovic to make it 2-1. Vogt, however, would lead Koln right back as he made an absolutely beautiful long range pass to Jonas Hector who fired the equalizer in the 65' to make it 2-2 and breathe some life back into Koln who certainly looked energized after that. However, in the 79' a Frankfurt corner hit Koln's Kevin Wimmer on the thigh and his initial flinch knocked it just past Timo Horn for an own goal that gave Frankfurt the victory. Gotta feel bad for Wimmer on this one as Koln was playing very well in this game.
Wolfsburg 1-0 Augsburg
A tight defensive battle at Volkswagen Arena that only saw 5 total shots on target. In the 58', however, Sebastian Jung managed to break down the right flank and find Naldo who's low shot through traffic found it's mark and gave Wolfsburg a full 3 points.
50k strong showed up to Borussia-Park to see Gladbach take on Mainz and early on, were treated to a very nifty goal in the 15'. It was American Fabian Johnson who received the ball in traffic in the zone and somehow found Max Kruse who put his shot just past Mainz keeper Loris Karius to make it 1-0. In the 31', a cross from Mainz glazed off of Julian Korb's arm, as he was standing just inside the penalty area. The ref wasted no time in pointing to the spot and awarding the PK which Jonas Hofmann from Mainz converted to make it 1-1, which would end the scoring and give Mainz an all important away draw.
Champions League Eligible
Bayern Munich 17 Points
Hoffenheim 13 Points
Gladbach 13 Points
Leverkusen/Frankfurt 12 Points
Small change this week as Hoffenheim moves into a tie for 2nd and Mainz drops out of the CL zone and into the Europa League zone. Frankfurt also moved into a tie for the play-in spot with Leverkusen.
Hamburger/Stuttgart/Freiburg 5 Points
Werder Bremen 4 Points
Oh what a difference a week makes. One week ago it looked like Hamburger was never going to get out of the basement, and now they are tied with 3 other teams in the 2nd relegation spot and trending upwards. Bremen now takes sole possession of the bottom spot, but there are many match days left
Beer Of The Week
No real Bayern News this week, so let's go right to the BOTW. I'm going back to the local brews with this one. On the close of Oktoberfest, it only seems right to go back to picking a good ol' American Pale Ale, so this week I'm going with Blue Mountain Brewery's Full Nelson. I'm not sure if this is available outside of the DC Metropolitan Region, so I'm not sure if you fine folks will be able to get your hands on it, but if you can, get it. It is quite simply a solid, well made pale. It has a strong hop backbone to it, but not overpowering like, say, Green Flash's West Coast IPA. It is rated at 60 IBUs and 5.9% ABV, but it doesn't taste boozy at all. It is very well balanced, so I expect no backlash from yinz about this weeks pick. Also, if you do get your hands on a bottle (or 6), I highly recommend drinking it from a glass rather than from the bottle. It does make a difference with this one.