Bundesliga Round-up: Spieltag 7
October 15, 2012 in Bundesliga
Okay everybody. So there’s something that we need to say. Something that I think will make us all feel better; we just need to admit it. Let’s all hold hands, now. And on the count of three. All together now… One, two, three: Bayern München are actually good.
Seven games and seven wins into the new season, FC Bayern München are top of the Bundesliga Tabelle. With 21 goals scored and only two conceded, they thoroughly deserve their annual trip to the city’s world famous Oktoberfest. Jupp Heynckes’ team started the season with a 3-0 away win against Bundesliga newbies Greuther Fürth, followed by a more-than-convincing 6-1 rout of Stuttgart. Now, five more victories later, Bayern are technically the best team in the league.
New signing Mario Mandžukić holds the label of top-scorer (or, Torjӓger), which should help provide enough healthy competition with the team’s other Super Mario (last season’s goal-getter Mario Gomez). What’s more, other signings like Xherdan Shaqiri and Dante have settled in without concern, and not-so-new-signing Luis Gustavo is performing much better this time around.
In fact, Bayern look so strong that Sporting Director and general worrier Matthias Sammer has warned the team against complacency. An attempt to quieten the press and release some of the building expectations? – maybe so, but Sammer’s words only really tell us what we know already: Bayern are strong right now, and if they keep it up there will be no catching them.
The Bundesliga’s returning champions, Borussia Dortmund, are looking somewhat deflated, in marked contrast to the aforementioned Bavarian giants. Dortmund are searching for their third successive title in a row. However, like many trilogies, this third instalment in the Fußball-saga appears at some points tired and lacking ideas; more The Godfather III than Toy Story 3. Jürgen Klopp’s side suffered their first defeat in 31 games away at Hamburg in a match symbolic of their season so far. Their once stone-wall defence has changed from Schwarzbrot to Spritzkuchen: it’s easy to tear apart.
Against Hamburg, Dortmund had enough clear-cut chances to win the match three times over, and now find themselves nine points off the leaders. In Hamburg (where Rafael van der Vaart is, as expected, playing superbly well), over a thousand BVB fans left the arena after only ten minutes, protesting at the inflated ticket prices for away supporters – effectively asking Dortmund fans to pay for their own team’s success.
Add to this Dortmund’s recent draws against Hannover (1-1) and Eintracht Frankfurt (3-3), and manager Klopp’s big, hearty smile (the one which currently adorns huge Volksbank adverts in S-Bahn stations all across Berlin) is sure to turn to upside-down. Yet there are reasons to be cheerful. One reason is their motivating Champions League encounter with Manchester City, who were very lucky to snatch a 1-1 draw at their own stadium. Another is Marco Reus, who has cemented his place as one of the league’s best attacking presences. Reus continues to impress, particularly in Dortmund’s best result of the season so far: a 5-0 drubbing of Reus’s former team Borussia Mönchengladbach, who themselves are struggling to achieve last year’s heights.
The Black and Yellows’ thrilling 3-3 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt was, however, not so much about the reigning champions, but rather Die Adler (The Eagles). Frankfurt are enjoying their best league start for decades and have began the season better than any newly promoted team in Bundesliga history. Striker Alexander Meier is in form and playing maturely, as well as midfield pairing Takashi Inui and Pirmin Schwegler, who are creating Frankfurt’s astonishing counter-attacking play.
One of the division’s other new teams is Fortuna Düsseldorf, who find themselves in 7th place after having only conceded three goals. In perspective, that is one of the best defensive records in the league, second only to Bayern; up until Spieltag 6, they had not even conceded once. F95 are showing the spirit and tenacity that lifted them above lacklustre Hertha Berlin (2nd in 2. Bundesliga) when the two sides met in May in the relegation/promotion playoff.
In slightly more predictable news, Felix Magath’s Wolfsburg team are quickly falling apart. Well, more like self-destructing. They have scored the same amount of goals as fellow strugglers Greuther Fürth (just two in seven) and boast the worst defensive record in the league. With Simon Kjær, Ivica Olić and Diego, Wolves do possess enough talent to shout: “we’re better than this!” It’s just a matter of whether Magath will let them do so.