Bundesliga Wrap: Goals and comebacks galore

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It didn’t seem as though Bundesliga’s 12th round was going to be all that exciting. The weekend started off with a Friday night thriller between Hannover and Braunschweig. On Saturday, most of the top brass faced opponents that should’ve given them little trouble. Sure, some sides close to the top five may have had an opportunity to move a couple places, but overall, it looked as though it would be fairly standard weekend in Germany.

And then…

Friday

Hannover 0-0 Braunschweig
It may have been goalless, but it wasn’t a snooze. Both sides demonstrated some excellent defensive capabilities, but it was Braunschweig that impressed the most. Hannover had the majority of possession and sent a plethora of shots at the visitors’ goal, but, thanks to Deniz Dogan in particular, Braunschweig were able to keep a clean sheet. They’re still deep in the drop zone, but four points from two matches shows they might be pulling themselves out of the muck.

Saturday

Bayer Leverkusen 5-3 Hamburg
Well, this one was a thriller. A brace from Son Heung-Min put Leverkusen ahead by the 16th minute, but Maximillian Beister pulled one back for Hamburg before the half ended. Pierre-Michel Lasogga equalized shortly after the restart, but Son didn’t much care for that, so he completed his hat-trick minutes later. Then Stefan Kießling put in another for Leverkusen in the 72nd, but Lasogga had Hamburg within reach again two minutes later. In the 89th minute, however, Gonzalo Castro put the game out of reach. Thanks to the three points, Leverkusen are once more even with Dortmund. How?

Wolfsburg 2-1 Borussia Dortmund
Because Dortmund lost, that’s how. Possibly still suffering from their Champions League loss to Arsenal midweek, Dortmund just couldn’t hang on to the lead they’d grabbed, courtesy of Marco Reus, moments before the halftime whistle. Ricardo Rodriguez scored from a direct free kick, then Ivica Olic put in Wolfsburg’s second. Despite having twenty minutes left to find an equalizer, or even a winner, BVB could do no more than hit the post. That’s four consecutive wins for Wolfsburg, who are now fifth in the table.

Bayern Munich 3-0 Augsburg
The Dortmund loss also means Bayern have pulled further ahead in the standings, now four points clear after their routine win over Augsburg. Jerome Boateng, Franck Ribéry, and Thomas Müller got the goals. Augsburg…didn’t even get a shot on target.

Hoffenheim 2-3 Hertha Berlin
Hertha Berlin almost let it all slip away. Änis Ben-Hatira gave the visitors the lead before 15 minutes were up, and a penalty from Adrián Ramos put them up 2-0 before the hour mark. But, with 20 minutes left to play, Hertha conceded a penalty of their own, duly converted by Sejad Salihovic. Ten minutes later, the Bosnian had a second, this time from a free kick. But Adrián Ramos had the last laugh, getting another just a few minutes later. Hertha, in seventh, are still trying to recover a European position, while Hoffenheim’s struggling home form sees them fall to 13th.

Schalke 3-1 Werder Bremen
Schalke likely would’ve appreciated it had Wolfsburg and Gladbach not pulled off their come from behind wins — then Schalke could’ve bounced up to a Champions League place. Not that they seem to be enjoying their Champions League experience, but still, it’s the principle of the thing. Werder Bremen actually had the lead early on, thanks to a goal from Felix Kroos, but a second half brace from Kevin-Prince Boateng and an insurance goal from Jefferson Farfán saw Schalke trot out the winners.

Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 Nurnberg
As was par for the course on this Bundesliga Saturday, the visiting side took an early lead with a goal from Josip Drmic. But Gladback staged a late comeback. Juan Arango got the first, and a few minutes later, Niklas Stark thought he’d help out, planting the ball in the back of his own net. The Foals finished it off with a sweet shot from Patrick Herrmann. Gladbach stay fourth, but Nurnberg drop to the bottom. It would probably help if, at some point soon, Nurnberg could find their first win of the season.

Sunday…still to come, of course

Mainz vs. Eintracht Frankfurt
Germany sure loves to put the most unappealing matchups on Sundays. Do no Germans pay attention to the football after Saturday afternoon? There’s little to recommend this lower mid-table clash, except the love of Fußball of course.

Freiburg vs. Stuttgart
A win on Sunday could pull Freiburg out of the danger zone, albiet barely. At least matches between these two sides tend to see a few balls land in the back of the net.