Match Day Recap
Eintracht Frankfurt 0-4 Bayern Munich
There's not much else to say about Thomas Müller's performance other than "WOW!" He was phenomenal all game long, but enough about Tommy. This game was even more awesome, because it featured Mario Götze and Franck Ribery in the starting lineup. Seriously, just how awesome is it to be able to have a world class player like Arjen Robben sitting on the bench? The attacking quartet of Robert Lewandowski, Müller, Götze and Ribery were masterful. Granted Frankfurt have lost their last 5 matches and Bayern are now on a 17 game unbeaten run (all comps) so it WAS a bit of a mismatch. You can read the full recap here.
Tip O' The Cap: Sebastian Rode. It couldn't have been easy for him to go back into his old club's stadium and play to the boos of your former fans. Rode stood tall and played well for the 20 minutes he was in and he played a big role in the 4th goal.
Golf Clap: Dante. He gets a lot of grief. He's been written off by some (okay, me...) but he continues to get better and do his job ably. He's becoming more and more reliable and he looked very strong against Frankfurt, in particular against Alexander Meier who is tied for Bundesliga scoring lead.
Standing Ovation: Franck Ribery. As mentioned above, Ribs looked strong from start to finish. The big question with him during his long injury recovery was where he would fit with emergence of Götze in Pep's lineup. This game wasn't special just because he played well, but because he showed that he can really play with anyone on Bayern's roster. Him, Müller and Götze had great chemistry all game.
Meister O' The Match: Thomas Müller. Seriously, did you think anybody else would be picked? We all know just how great he was in this game, so here let's try to find a new nickname for him. Tommy Terrific? Good, but it's already been done by Tom Brady. The Mad Hatter? I like it, but he can't get a hat trick every week...let me know in the comments section
Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Dortmund came into this match desperately needing a win as they were in the relegation zone. Gladbach came into this match needing a victory to keep pace with Wolfsburg and secure a birth in the Champions League. Dortmund's desperation won out in the end, but not how you might think. In one of the most bizarre goals I have ever seen, Christoph Kramer received a fairly routine pass near the center line, turned around and lobbed it back right over his keeper's head and into the goal. Of all the players from Gladbach who might be expected to have an own goal, Kramer would be the least. To his credit, he shook off his mistake and played pretty well for the remainder of the game, but it wasn't good enough to save points at Signal Iduna Park.
Wolfsburg 2-0 Hamburg SV
Wolfsburg grabbed a big win to stay firm at the second spot in the Bundesliga and are looking legitimately like the second best team. They opened their scoring account against Hamburg in the 28th minute off a corner from Aaron Hunt. The ball fell right to the feet of Kevin De Bruyne who's shot was redirected by Ivica Olic to put Wolves up 1-0. De Bruyne and Hunt would combine again in the 63rd minute as a long cross from the right side fell perfectly at Hunt's feet and was calmly put past the keeper to put the final nail in Hamburg's coffin.
Augsburg 3-0 Paderborn
A bad turnover in the seventh minute by Paderborn led to the opening goal. Halil Altintop stole the ball and had the presence of mind to immediately find Tobias Werner who made a great run down the left and put it past Lukas Kruse to make it 1-0. Right before the end of the first half, Paul Verhaegh launched a beautiful curling cross from the right side that found a diving Werner who's noggin put Augsburg up 2-0. Werner was not done abusing Paderborn as his free kick in the 68th minute found Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker (all one name) who headed it home to secure a big three points for Augsburg. Manager Markus Weinzierl, who might just be the most handsome devil in the Bundesliga, has got to be feeling pretty good about his squad.
Bayer Leverkusen 0-0 Mainz
Leverkusen harassed Mainz all game long, but found their shots going JUST too wide or JUST too high and couldn't get the winner. Their best opportunity came when Karim Bellarabi had a one on one chance with Mainz keeper Loris Karius who made a beautiful save to keep Mainz in the game. The 21 year old should be getting the keys to the city after this match. He made another sparkling save in the 80th minute on a powerful shot by Hakan Calhanoglu and Mainz withstood the onslaught to come away with a point.
SC Freiburg 2-0 Schalke 04
This one has got to sting for new Schalke boss Roberto Di Matteo. After struggling to beat Augsburg last week, they laid an egg this week against struggling Freiburg. Now, give credit here to Freiburg as pretty much nobody gave them a chance in this one. On a counter in the 22nd minute, Sebastien Freis came bombing down the left side on the counter attack and his cross went off what appeared to be the arm of Benedikt Howedes before landing right at Christian Günter who put Freiburg up 1-0. More sloppy defending undid Schalke in the 68th minute as well. This time it was Dennis Aogo who attempted to clear a cross only to see his attempt land right at the feet of Jonathan Schmidt who fired a beautiful shot past Ralf Fährmann to secure 3 points for Freiburg.
Hoffenheim 3-4 FC Köln
This was one heckuva game. A brace for Hoffenheim's Roberto Firmino and a brace for Köln's Pawel Olkowski, plus four lead changes made this an easy decision for Game Of The Week. There were too many goals and too much craziness to accurately give this game justice in this blurb, but suffice it to say, Olkowski's winner in the 83rd minute was an absolutely cracking shot and both sides looked very good. Köln, who was recently promoted, looks for real as a team that could stick around in the Bundesliga for a while.
Werder Bremen 2-0 VfB Stuttgart
Bremen, who were in the bottom of the table coming into this game, absolutely needed this win. After looking listless on the attack for much of the season, they really came out firing on all cylinders forcing Stuttgart keeper Thorsten Kirschbaum (best name ever) into action early on. Bremen finally did break through in the 30th minute when a corner from Zlatko Junuzovic found the head of Sebastian Prödl to give them the lead. From there, Stuttgart started to wake up and had a couple of scoring chances, but couldn't finish. Bremen's set piece brilliance continued in the 57th minute as Zlatko again launched a corner to the top of the penalty area and right to the feet of Fin Bartels who's curling shot hit the inside post and put Bremen up 2-0. Bremen have now won 2 in a row.
Hertha Berlin 0-2 Hannover 96
Hannover and Hertha had a pretty lifeless first half until the 44th minute when a corner from Hiroshi Kiyotake was banged home by Jimmy Briand and just like that, it was 1-0. In the 76th minute, it was Kiyotake again, this time taking a great run off a feed from Leonardo Bittencourt and put the ball just past Former Bayern keeper Thomas Kraft to make it 2-0 and secure the victory for Hannover.
Bayern Munich - 27 points
Wolfsburg - 23 points
Borussia Monchengladbach - 20 points
Hannover 96 - 19 points
Not much of a change from last week, except for the emergence of Hannover at the fourth spot, jumping over Hoffenheim. Wolfsburg are absolutely rolling and look to be the only real challenger to Bayern at the top, but the table is still wide open.
Werder Bremen - 10 points
Hamburger SV - 9 points (-10)
Stuttgart - 9 points (-11)
Dortmund's no longer in the relegation zone! Now, it's not all about Dortmund. Freiburg also dug their way out of the zone with their win over Schalke. Stuttgart and Hamburg continue to tumble down the standings.
Bayern/Bundesliga/Rant Of The Week
It's hard to imagine that Germany has only been a unified state for 25 years. It's one of those things you take for granted, like being able to use the telephone AND the internet at the same time, or cruise control on your car. It's easy to forget that the Berlin Wall was not always a tourist attraction and was once a very real dividing line between east and west. Today marks the 25th anniversary of that dividing line coming down and while it is one of those events that transcend's sports, reunification also had a very real impact on German Soccer. September 12th marked the final match for the Deutche Demokratisches Republik against Belgium, a game they won with both goals being scored by Bayern's own Sporting Director Mathias Sammer. Oddly enough, that game was a qualifying match for the European Championship to be held in 1992 and East and West Germany were in the same group. After the draw had been made, The East German Parliament decided in August that October 3rd would be the official reunification day, thus removing any actual significance from their match against Belgium, except for the symbolic end of the East German team which had won Olympic gold just 14 years prior. The effects of reunification can still be felt in the Bundesliga. There are currently no teams from the former state in the top flight of German Soccer and former East German powerhouse Dynamo Berlin folded in 1991, and Dynamo Dresden, another famed "Ossie" club just got relegated to the third division. Toni Kroos was the only player born in East Germany to appear in this years world cup, down from four players in '06 and six in '02. There's a great column for further reading about how East German soccer was affected here.
I bring this up because the wall came down when I was three years old and thus, I have no memory of it. I'm sure my grandkids will one day look at me in wonder as I tell them I was alive for German Reunification, much like the same look I gave my great grandmother when she told me she was alive for the turn of the century. I know everybody here isn't the same sage as I am, so I'm hoping some of you will share your memories of the fall of the Berlin wall in the comments section.
Beer Of The Week!
I realized after looking back through the old BotW's that I really like to pick the hoppy beers. So this week, I decided to go in a different direction. I decided to go with Ommegang's Valar Morghulis Dubbel Ale, based in Cooperstown, New York. I usually try to stay away from the bigger breweries in this section, but being owned by Duvel doesn't put it over that line for me. Being owned by Duvel, and being named Ommegang, you would expect their brews to have a strong Belgian influence and you would be totally spot on. Valar Morghulis is very malty and has a rich and complex flavor to it. For those who don't know, it is named after a saying from the HBO series "Game of Thrones". I am a huge fan of the show, and the books but this beer didn't get picked on name alone. It's actually quite good. It is only sold in 750ml bottles and should be enjoyed at a nice slow pace as it sits a tad heavy.