A look back at another Bundesliga weekend
At this time of year, a trip to Germany is often one that sees you take in a Christmas market in cities such as Cologne or Bremen, and while supping on some mulled wine may offer some festive cheer, there is always the possibility of you also enjoying some Bundesliga action.
Admittedly, both FC Köln and Werder Bremen have hardly set the German top division on fire this season and may not be worth your attention. However, it is fair to say that this season’s title race is one that is really heating up.
Not only are genuine title contenders beginning to make themselves known, but they also have a different look to them, and on the evidence of the past few weeks, this really could be the season in which Bayern Munich finally release their vice-like grip on the Bundesliga trophy.
We’ll look at how the Bavarian outfit got on in just a minute, and with eight other matches being played across the last few days, they will not be the only team to have made the headlines. Therefore, let’s now take a look at what has made the Bundesliga’s most recent column inches.
Bayern beaten once again
The decision for Bayern Munich to stick with interim manager Hans-Dieter Flick is one that looks like it may have backfired, and after suffering back-to-back defeats in the Bundesliga, the board will have to decide whether to install a new face earlier than first planned.
Not only have Bayern seen their title hopes scuppered after losing their last two outings, but the second of those defeats has also seen them cede further ground to league leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Not only that, but it was also Mönchengladbach who handed Bayern their second defeat in as many weeks, and courtesy of their 90th-minute winner on Saturday, Marco Rose’s men are now seven points clear of the perennial champions.
It was certainly a dramatic encounter at Borussia-Park, and although Bayern took the lead, Ramy Bensebaini headed home to level, and after Javi Martínez fouled Marcus Thuram in the box, he then scored an injury-time penalty to seal a dramatic victory.
That win keeps Borussia top of the standings at the end of week 14, and with Bayern Munich languishing in seventh place, they will have to hope for a return to winning ways next weekend. To do so, they will have to get the better of old foes Werder Bremen at the Allianz Arena.
RB Leipzig keep the energy going in second
With the aforementioned Borussia Mönchengladbach ending the weekend at the top of the table, the question remains as to who is breathing down their necks the most, and the answer can be found in the former East Germany.
That’s because German football’s favourite pantomime villain, otherwise known as RB Leipzig, are just a point off the pace in second, and they continue to keep the pressure on the league leaders after getting the better of Hoffenheim on Saturday.
With the transfer window opening in just three weeks, Timo Werner’s name is sure to be appear in many gossip columns, and after scoring a decisive brace at the weekend, you can begin to understand why the forward is in such great demand.
Werner opened the scoring on 11 minutes and then doubled the hosts’ advantage from the spot soon after the interval, while his effort from 12 yards all but wrapped up the points for Julian Nagelsmann’s men.
However, that was not the end of Leipzig’s scoring efforts, as Marcel Sabitzer added a third late on, and even though Ermin Bičakčić reduced the deficit for Hoffenheim, it can only be considered a scant consolation.
If the team backed by Red Bull are to win a first ever Bundesliga title, they will need to make sure that they keep putting wins on the board, and next up for them is the visit of Fortuna Düsseldorf this Saturday.
Five-star performance from Dortmund
Another player who is being targeted by a long list of suitors is Jadon Sancho, and with Chelsea now able to buy players once again, the England international is being linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in the new year.
Whether the talented youngster moves to the English capital when the transfer window opens remains to be seen, and although there is no doubting the talent he has, one must question where he would fit into the Blues starting 11.
That’s because Christian Pulisic has already made a recent move from Signal-Iduna Park to West London, and with the American supposedly being moved on because of Sancho’s emergence, the last thing he would want is another battle for a starting berth
The reason that Sancho is being so highly coveted is because of the ease with which he terrorises opposition defences, and this was on display at the weekend as he played a huge part in Dortmund’s 5-0 home win over Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Lucien Favre’s men have been accused of stuttering as of late, and although they were perhaps a little sluggish in the first half, they were firing on all cylinders on the other side of Saturday’s half-time interval.
After going into the break just 1-0 up, they went on to score four more unanswered goals, and with Sancho adding a late brace, you can see just why Chelsea fans are purring at the thought of him in blue.
That win for Dortmund keeps them in the Bundesliga title discussion, though if they are to be crowned champions, there is still a lot of work to be done, and especially as they find themselves five points off the pace in third
If they can get a run of positive results together, then there is no reason why they cannot bridge the gap at the top, and lying in wait for the black and yellow of Dortmund is a visit to mid-table Mainz on Saturday afternoon.
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Words: Man Ngo