It’s been a hectic week for some teams in Germany as we begin a heavy three week stretch of games before the November international break. This week was European competition, next week marks the return of the DFB-Pokal, and following that comes another round of European games. Let’s just appreciate that we have a calm weekend of Bundesliga action all to ourselves, no?
Also, seeing as this has been christened as the new non-Bayern Bundesliga related comment thread...be respectful down below.
Recapping the Bundesliga’s results in Europe
- Ajax 4-0 Borussia Dortmund: Apparently Raphaël Guerreiro is the most important player on this Dortmund team. That’s really the only conclusion I can draw after Dortmund put on one of their worst performances of the season. Marco Reus started the avalanche of goals by helping a well taken Dusan Tadic free kick into the net via the top of Reus’s head. That was followed up by a rocket from Daley Blind, a wonderful curled effort from Antony, and a header from former Eintracht Frankfurt striker Sebastien Haller. The team Dortmund fielded — with the exception of the injured Guerreiro — was pretty much their best roster. It could just easily be the case of it not being their day. But, if it isn’t, BVB have a lot of explaining to do. You could also view this as punishment for those god awful Puma shirts Dortmund have been wearing on UCL nights.
- Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 RB Leipzig: This game was probably the best performance Die Roten Bullen have put on in the UCL this season. They still have 0 points. The goals went back and forth between the sides, however, with Leipzig on top at one point. Things started just nine minutes in when Kylian Mbappe sat Willi Orban in time out, lashing at the ball to send it past Peter Gulacsi to make things 1-0. However, Leipzig were able to mount a comeback. Angeliño’s low cross in the 28’ wound its way through seemingly the whole of PSG’s backline leaving a tap in for André Silva to make it a tie game. Angeliño let his brilliance show again after the second half kicked off. A beautiful cross from the left side — darting in and then curling away toward the goal — found the boot of Christopher Nkunku who volleyed it home. 2-1 to Leipzig. But Lionel Messi found a way to bring his team back into things — as he has many times before in many different stadiums. A great goal in the 67’ started with a Tyler Adams turnover which saw Mbappe break out towards the net, slotting a pass across for Messi to clean up. The icing on this cake came when new signing Mohammad Simakan — still struggling with the pace of a more intense league — gave a penalty away after taking two hands to Mbappe shoving him to the ground in the box. Messi did as Messi does and gave PSG the 3-2 lead they saw through to the end.
- FC Salzburg 3-1 VfL Wolfsburg: It’s baffling how Wolfsburg can put up a great season in the Bundesliga and then turn into absolute frauds on the European stage. Sure, the rest of the group looks embarrassing as well, but the fact that Wolfsburg over these last three games doesn’t even seem to be making an attempt at succeeding is sad. They let a 21-year-old Noah Okafor get a brace. They let a 19-year-old Karim Adeyemi score just three minutes in. At this rate, if they make it to the next round, it’ll be a miracle.
- SL Benfica 0-4 FC Bayern München: Everyone who watched this game knows the scoreline isn’t indicative of the first roughly 65 minutes. This was probably the most Bayern has been challenged in the Champions League so far this year. It was a great back and forth match in the first half — which could have probably ended at 3-2 to Bayern. Each side put up some fantastic shots and both keepers made some fantastic save efforts. But, after relentless pressure, the collapse came. I think that I put it best in this tweet:
You can only hope to control the pressure as much as you can, but once the cracks show the dam will break. 4-0. @BavarianFBWorks— Jefferson “Jake” Fenner (@jeffersonfenner) October 20, 2021
This brings me to the performance of Leroy Sané. It’s been the trademark of his Bayern Munich career to have some mediocre games full of occasional ball hogging and blasting shots twenty miles over the bar. But he’ll follow that up with some fantastic results. Sometimes it takes multiple matchdays, some times it’ll take a week or two. In this game’s case, after blasting a free kick high over the bar, it was fixed in the 70’ when he hit an amazing free kick. He followed that up later with the team’s fourth goal in the 84’. It was an excellent turnaround that Bayern fans hope will spring him into a more continuous run of good form.
- Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 Olympiacos: To borrow from my earlier idiom, it seems Eintracht are doing the reverse Wolfsburg. They’re currently sitting 14th in the Bundesliga, but they’ve performed really well in the Europa League. Die Adler were able to claim top spot in their group with this win over the Greek titans, which bodes well for their last three games.
- Real Betis 1-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen: A draw between the top two teams in this group got more exciting at the end when a Borja Iglesias penalty in the 75’ was followed up by a Robert Andrich goal in the 82’. Looks like Bayer’s admin was right and that Nabil Fekir FUT card won’t be as great as everyone else wanted.
- Feyenoord 3-1 Union Berlin: Union have had a really rough time in the ECL with one win and now two losses to their name. By the time they scored their goal, they were already down 2-1. They’re one point behind 2nd place, but it’ll be a tough journey with a load of congested weeks ahead.
What’s next for Bayer Leverkusen? Redemption.
They may be in second, but they can’t be counted out just yet. The 5-1 thrashing they got at the hands of Bayern Munich last week isn’t truly indicative of what this team brings to the table. They’re fast, they’re smart and they’re pretty rigid defensively. It’s not their fault they became yet another victim of what I’d like to call the “Bayern Blender”. One minute, you’re just sitting there watching the game and then one pulse gets sent through. Then another. Then another. Then another until the blender is on high and your team is spinning out of control. Leverkusen experienced that as did Benfica earlier this week. It’s always tough when playing this team, but it’s even tougher when a team that talented is as efficient at pouncing on moments as Bayern does.
So that may leave you wondering what’s next for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga now that they’re in 3rd? Well, it’s a string of games that you’d peg Bayer to win. They close out the month of October with what should be tough, but winnable games against Köln and Wolfsburg. Then the month of November sees them playing at Hertha, home versus Bochum, then at Leipzig. All five of those teams have exploitable weaknesses that Leverkusen can take advantage of. So don’t count Die Werkself out just yet. There’s still a long road ahead.
Match of the Week: VfL Wolfsburg v. SC Freiburg
I’m just going to start this section by posting a famous Vine clip that I enjoy that may or may not tie into this section and the person pictured above.
Throughout this season so far, we haven’t talked about Wolfsburg’s Dutch striker Wout Weghorst. He’s been one of the better strikers kicking around the Bundesliga over the last few years, having joined from AZ Alkmaar in 2018. Since joining he’s bagged 56 goals over the course of 108 games — including three so far this season. Two fun facts about Wout Weghorst that are relevant to this article. First: did you know that he’s finished in the top five in scoring every season he’s been in Germany? He finished in tied for 3rd in 2018/2019 (17 goals) and 4th in both 2019/2020 (16 goals) and 2020/2021 (20 goals).
The second fun fact about Weghorst is that he’s a rabid anti-vaxxer. Ever since the vaccines against COVID-19 came out, the striker has made multiple posts across social media voicing doubts of its effectiveness and alluding through an Instagram story post (shown below) that there’s not enough research done on the vaccines:
Well, wouldn’t it come as a surprise that earlier this week, that VfL Wolfsburg announced the shocking revelation that Wout Weghorst contracted COVID-19.
Wout Weghorst has tested positive for coronavirus.— VfL Wolfsburg EN/US (@VfLWolfsburg_EN) October 18, 2021
The 29-year-old immediately went into isolation at home and all other tests carried out on Sunday and Monday on players, coaches and backroom staff were negative.
Quick recovery, Wout! ⚪️ pic.twitter.com/aXZ7qKIiaQ
Two things before I continue: firstly, I hope Weghorst is doing well and I hope that he has a speedy recovery and can take the time he has in quarantine to truly realize how important vaccines are and how bad this disease gets.
Secondly, I’ve heard a saying that I’ve since adopted into my vocabulary that applies to this instance. You play stupid games, you win stupid prizes.
As for what this means for his club, all one needs to do is look to their performance against Salzburg. They relied on Lukas Nmecha to get the goals needed for the win. While he did get a goal to his name, it wasn’t enough. Without their main target man, Wolfsburg are going to struggle going into a tough stretch of games that starts this weekend against Freiburg. This is a side who love to spread out the field, possess the ball, and let everybody score. Even with the talented backline that Wolfsburg has, it’s going to be tough for the Wolves to pull out a positive result.
Here are the times for all the matches this week (all times Eastern US):
Friday October 22nd
- 1. FSV Mainz 05 (11) v. FC Augsburg (16) (Mewa Arena - Mainz, Rhineland-Palatinate)
Saturday October 23rd
- DSC Arminia Bielefeld (17) v. Borussia Dortmund (2) (Schüco-Arena - Bielefeld, North Rhine-Westphalia)
- FC Bayern München (1) v. TSG Hoffenheim (9) (Allianz Arena - Munich, Bavaria)
- RB Leipzig (8) v. SpVgg Greuther Fürth (18)(Red Bull Arena - Leipzig, Saxony)
- VfL Wolfsburg (6) v. SC Freiburg (4) (Volkswagen Arena - Wolfsburg, Lower Saxony)
- Hertha BSC (13) v. Borussia Mönchengladbach (10) (Olympiastadion - Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Berlin)
Sunday October 24th
- 1. FC Köln (7) v. Bayer 04 Leverkusen (3) (RheinEnergieStadion - Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia)
- VfB Stuttgart (12) v. 1. FC Union Berlin (5) (Mercedes-Benz Arena - Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg)
- VfL Bochum (15) v. Eintracht Frankfurt (14) (Vonovia Ruhrstadion - Bochum, North Rhine-Westphalia)