The Bundesliga is desperately trying to get back to the status quo after a crazy start to the 2015 calendar year.
Perennial powerhouses Bayern Munich had been winless in their first two matches, finding themselves on the wrong end of a 4-1 Kevin de Bruyne show at Wolfsburg, and also a 1-1 draw at home to Schalke. They finally turned that around today, with a 2-0 win on the road at Stuttgart courtesy of an Arjen Robben stunner and a security blanket from David Alaba.
The win holds them at the current 8-point cushion over Wolfsburg, who continue to tear it up along the new year. New signing Andre Schurrle got his partnership with de Bruyne off to a bang, picking up a pair of assists – one of them to his old baby-faced Chelsea mate – as de Bruyne led the way with a brace for five goals in his last three games.
Borussia Dortmund has been without answers for much of this season, a shockingly low 18 points coming into today’s game with Freiburg, but Dortmund hopes to have put some of the struggles behind them with a huge 3-0 win that pulled them off the bottom of the table and out of the guaranteed relegation positions. Marco Reus started things off inside 10 minutes with his first goal since returning from an ankle injury, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – one of the few consistent bright spots for Dortmund this year – added a pair to his season tally of nine league goals and assisted Reus’s opener as well.
Reus returned at the end of January, and it’s no coincidence the club has picked up four points over those three games. It’s also a huge positive for the club that playmakers Ilkay Gundogan and Shinji Kagawa each grabbed an assist, as those two players will be key to any potential revival down the stretch.
Another team distanced itself from the bottom of the table as well, with Hamburg jumping up to 11th with a massive 2-1 home win over 8th-placed Hannover thanks in part to an own-goal by visiting central defender Marcelo worthy of a standing ovation.
Top corner! *applause* Hamburg went up 2-0 just after the break through Marcell Jansen, and hung on down the stretch. They pulled within two points of today’s opponents, and more importantly stuck four points between themselves and Dortmund in the relegation playoff position.
Hertha Berlin, with John Brooks in the starting lineup, held 10-man FC Mainz to a clean sheet in a 2-0 win on a pair of goals within seven minutes of each other. Goals came from defender Jens Hegeler – a penalty – and Roy Beerens just before halftime, thanks in large part to Mainz goalkeeper Loris Kraus seeing red in the 32nd minute to send Hegeler to the spot. Brooks played the full 90 in the win.
After its early-season David and Golaith role-play, Paderborn has tumbled down the table with just five points since they won their last game on November 2. Today, the stretch continued with a 0-0 draw at Cologne. Things don’t get any easier, with six straight coming up against teams in the top half of the table.
Tomorrow, Bayer Leverkusen and travels to Werder Bremen, and Augsburg hosts Eintracht Frankfurt.