The first matchdays after the league hiatus due to the coronavirus was both an exciting and strange one. Dortmund outran Schalke in the Revierderby, Leipzig was dealt a title-blow at home against Freiburg, and Mönchengladbach got three important points at the Commerzbank-Arena.
A title setback and devastating derby victory did not define the 26th match-day of the 2019/20 Bundesliga season. No matter what the results today would have been, the 26th Bundesliga match-day will forever be remembered in the history books as the first-time nine Bundesliga games were played in front of an empty stadium.
While watching the games, included Germany’s most fierce rivals playing in front of an empty Yellow Wall, I felt empty and awkward – but at least I felt something.
The Bundesliga is back.
No matter how far you are, you’ll always be our heart and soul.— Borussia Dortmund (@BlackYellow) May 16, 2020
The Yellow Wall pic.twitter.com/V9vuE6qZ7p
The second Revierderby of the season was one that was decided in the 50th minute, when Thorgan Hazard, after a classic Favre-football counter-attack, scored Dortmund’s third goal. Dortmund’s front four – consisting of Raphael Guerreiro, Thorgan Hazard, Julian Brandt, and the Norwegian hitman Erling Haaland was excellent throughout the game. Guerreiro scored twice with two excellent finishes, Hazard looked dangerous whenever he had the ball and Erling Haaland looks better and better with every game he plays for Dortmund. Though the man of the match was Julian Brandt, whose playmaking abilities split the Schalke 04 defense apart.
Schalke looked tired and lacked any type of creativeness in the first half. Jean-Clair Todibo lacked the pace to keep up with both Haaland and Hazard while Benito Raman failed to hold up any form of build-up play for Schalke up top. Both were substituted at half-time, although to no positive effect.
Lucien Favre’s Dortmund pressed whenever they had too and denied Schalke of ever creating any type of offensive play throughout the game. All four of their goals were quick team goals which involved quick transitional football.
David Wagner will have plenty of things to think about now when his Schalke has a chance to miss Europe next season. Favre will be delighted by his side as they managed to display great football for 90 minutes despite missing several key players. It was three big points for Die Borussen who are still a contestant in the race for the Bundesliga title.
— Marcus Iredahl
RB Leipzig 1-1 Freiburg
The hosts were dealt a serious title setback in the Bundesliga title race after a draw against Christian Streich’s SC Freiburg. The host was the better team and dominated the game with their endless pressing the entirety of the game. Against the run of play, Freiburg took the lead from a set-piece in the 34th minute, when defender Manuel Gulde got the final touch from a corner.
Leipzig pressured but looked like missing the final touch after many missed chances. Yussuf Poulsen finally equalized in the 77th minute with a powerful and perfectly timed header from a beautiful cross by Kevin Kampl. Freiburg’s goalkeeper, Alexander Schwolow, was superb in between the posts and was the main reason his team only let in one goal.
VAR was present when the spectators weren’t at Red Bull Arena. Freiburg’s Robin Koch nearly gave Freiburg all three points in the last seconds of the game after yet another set-piece but was ruled out by offside, a decision that would have been impossible to accurately make with the naked eye.
Leipzig is now four points behind Bayern Munich, with the latter still having to play one more game.
— Marcus Iredahl
The Wolves escaped with a one-goal victory over a Heiko Herrlich-less Augsburg side that showed some of its trademark grit. After jumping out to a 1-0 lead on a goal from Renato Steffen in the first half, Wolfsburg let Die Fuggerstädter back into the contest when 24-year-old Croatian Tin Jedvaj evened up the game in the 54th minute.
Luck, however, would not be on the side of Augsburg. Daniel Ginczek scored in the first minute of extra time to give the Wolves a 2-1 win and keep Wolfsburg in the 6th spot in the table, which would be good enough for Europa League qualifiers if the season ended today.
— Chuck Smith
Hertha Berlin 3-0 Hoffenheim
For a team that has been in utter disarray for most of the season, Die Alte Dame picked a good time to look like it has gotten its act together. An own goal from Hoffenheim’s Kevin Akpoguma in the 58th minute put Hertha Berlin ahead, before 35-year-old Vedad Ibisevic (60’) and Matheus Cunha (74’) capped off the scoring at the PreZero Arena.
This was clearly not the kind of start that Hoffenheim wanted as it lingers in 9th place of the table. Hertha Berlin, meanwhile, has vaulted up to the 11th position.
— Chuck Smith
Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-0 SC Paderborn
These two took part in a game of Goal-sterspiel, amirite? After this bout, Fortuna Dusseldorf is stuck in 16th place, while Paderborn is in a deep hole at 18th place. Both clubs are in serious danger of being relegated for next season.
— Chuck Smith
Borussia Monchengladbach 3-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Alassane Plea (1’) and Marcus Thuram (7’) stunned Die Adler with early goals as Die Fohlen breezed to an easy 3-1 victory. Ramy Bensebaini added a second half penalty kick to make it 3-0 before Eintracht Frankfurt’s Andre Silva finally retaliated with a goal in the 81st minute.
Borussia Monchengladbach looked business-like in dispatching Die Adler, while Eintracht Frankfurt came out flat and often times looked lethargic. In addition, two of Adi Hutter’s quality performers for the majority of the season (Mijat Gacinovich and Timmy Chandler) came in too late to really make a huge impact in the contest.
— Chuck Smith