Bundesliga wrap: Schweinsteiger strikes late for Bayern, Hamburg earns huge win

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Bayern Munich may have the Bundesliga title sewn up, but the race to avoid the drop is as tight as you like, with five clubs within three points of safety and calamity.

Three of four “bottom five” clubs who played on Saturday picked up a point, including one side scooping up a massive three points to leap off the bottom of the table.

[ WATCH: Watford learns its been promoted ]

Let’s dig into a heaping cup of Bundesliga.

Borussia Dortmund 2-0 Eintracht Frankfurt

BVB could be headed for Europe after all, as the once last-place side has risen to eighth in the league after a big win at Westfalenstadion.  Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang converted a penalty off an early handball from Frankfurt, while Shinji Kagawa gave the match its final score line in the 32nd minute. USMNT back Timmy Chandler went 90 in the loss.

Bayern Munich 1-0 Hertha Berlin

John Anthony Brooks and Hertha were more than game for a Bayern team coming off a big win in the UEFA Champions League at midweek, but Bastian Schweinsteiger stepped in to earn the hosts all three points on Saturday. One minute after putting a header off the post, Schweinsteiger netted the first and only goal of the game, as Brooks could only watch a pass makes its way past him in the 18.

source: Getty ImagesHamburg 3-2 Augsburg

The stars were out for Hamburg on Saturday, as Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Ivica Olic played the role of heroes for the relegation-threatened club. Olic netted in the 11th minute and Lasogga scored his first 8 minutes later to lift the home crowd into a frenzy, but Augsburg evened it up by the 69th minute.

Lasogga has disappointed this season after a brilliant loan spell last season earned him a permanent move, but his 71st minute tally will allow that to be forgotten, at least for now. Augsburg fails to take advantage of Schalke’s loss to Mainz, and the clubs remain tied for fifth.

Elsewhere
Mainz 2-0 Schalke
— Stefan Bell’s 2 goals in 3 minutes earn upset
Koln 1-1 Bayer Leverkusen — Visitors with Top 4 hiccup.
Stuttgart 2-2 Freiburg — Nils Peterson erases 2-0 road deficit himself.
Hannover 1-2 Hoffenheim — Sven Schipplock has great name, late winner.
Paderborn vs. Werder Bremen — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Wolfsburg — 11:30 a.m. ET Sunday

Standings

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Bayern Munich 30 24 4 2 77 13 64 13-1-1 11-3-1 76
VfL Wolfsburg 29 18 7 4 63 31 32 12-3-0 6-4-4 61
Bayer Leverkusen 30 15 10 5 57 32 25 8-6-1 7-4-4 55
Mönchen 29 15 9 5 44 22 22 10-3-1 5-6-4 54
FC Schalke 04 30 11 9 10 38 34 4 8-5-2 3-4-8 42
FC Augsburg 30 13 3 14 38 40 -2 9-3-3 4-0-11 42
1899 Hoffenheim 30 11 7 12 45 48 -3 8-2-5 3-5-7 40
Borussia Dortmund 30 11 6 13 40 37 3 7-3-5 4-3-8 39
Werder Bremen 29 10 8 11 44 57 -13 7-4-4 3-4-7 38
FSV Mainz 05 30 8 13 9 42 41 1 5-6-4 3-7-5 37
Eintracht Frankfurt 30 9 9 12 51 59 -8 7-5-3 2-4-9 36
1. FC Köln 30 8 11 11 30 36 -6 3-8-4 5-3-7 35
Hertha BSC Berlin 30 9 7 14 34 46 -12 6-3-6 3-4-8 34
SC Freiburg 30 6 12 12 31 41 -10 4-6-5 2-6-7 30
Hannover 96 30 7 8 15 33 51 -18 5-3-7 2-5-8 29
Hamburger SV 30 7 7 16 19 46 -27 5-4-6 2-3-10 28
VfB Stuttgart 30 6 9 15 34 55 -21 3-4-8 3-5-7 27
SC Paderborn 29 6 9 14 25 56 -31 4-5-5 2-4-9 27

 

Hamburg remain in Bundesliga thanks to playoff draw

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Hamburger SV sure love to spin out a good storyline. One of the founding members of the Bundesliga in 1962, HSV has spent 50 consecutive seasons in the top flight – the longest of any German club. But after a topsy-turvy season, it seemed like they were about to be relegated for the first time.

Instead, Hamburg saved themselves. After a goalless draw at home, HSV traveled to take on Greuther Fürth for the second leg of the Bundesliga playoff. The visitors were the better side in the first half, and, somewhat surprisingly, it took them less than fifteen minutes to find the goal.

After Pierre-Michel Lasogga put his shot just wide, Fürth goalkeeper Wolfgang Hesl used his leg to keep out a shot from Hakan Çalhanoğlu. Rafael van der Vaart put in the resulting corner, curling it beautifully for Lasogga to head in.

Hamburg’s momentum was upset around the half-hour mark, when Johan Djourou came off the worse in a collision with Ilir Azemi. The former Arsenal player ended up stretchered off with his neck in a brace.

Fürth came back into it in the second half, and by the hour mark they’d found their equalizer. Zoltán Stieber put his pass through Petr Jiráček, with Stephan Fürstner getting on the end to knock home.

But that wouldn’t be enough for Fürth: the away goals rule was in effect, and with a draw, HSV would win. The hosts pressed harder, and very nearly found promotion. But Jaroslav Drobný, in goal instead of René Adler, managed to keep his wits about him. The Czech made two great saves in injury time, keeping Hamburg level – and keeping them in the Bundesliga.

After spending the majority of the season fighting the drop, and very nearly losing out in the playoffs, surely Hamburg have realized their weaknesses. It’ll be a busy summer for HSV, one in which plenty of rebuilding will need to be done. But fans of German football will hope that Hamburg’s struggles will subside next season.

Bundesliga Wrap: Goals galore!

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No game in the Bundesliga featured less than two goals so far this weekend, and an astonishing four matches saw the winners scoring four goals. That’s the sort of fun you get when you tune into German football – the title may be all but decided, but there’s still going to be plenty of excitement elsewhere. The sort of excitement you get when the last-placed side sinks four.

Friday Results

Mainz 2-0 Hannover
A very happy Valentine’s Day result for Mainz, who move one step closer to the European positions with their fourth win in five games. Yunus Malli scored their first off a counter-attack in the 51st minute, while substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting grabbed the second deep into extra time.

Saturday Results

Bayern Munich 4-0 Freiburg
A routine win over one of the Bundesliga’s struggling sides ensures that Bayern Munich keep their hold on the top of the table, sitting an astonishing 16 points above Bayer Leverkusen. Dante scored the first, with Xherdan Shaqiri bagging a brace before the interval. Claudio Pizarro scored right at the end, completing Bayern’s rout over Freiburg.

Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
They might be 17 points behind Bayern, but Dortmund weren’t about to be undone by the league’s top side. No, they had to go and score four as well, just to make a point against a poor Frankfurt side, who they’d already beaten earlier in the week in the domestic cup. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a brace inside 20 minutes, and Robert Lewandowski added a third with a penalty conversion to start the second half. The real talking point, though, was Miloš Jojić, who scored with his first touch for Dortmund, a mere 12 seconds into his debut with the club.

Braunschweig 4-2 Hamburg
So Bayern got four, and Dortmund got four. No big deal, right? But bottom side Braunschweig, who’d had just 11 goals prior to this weekend, scoring four – that’s a big deal. And that’s just a sign of how poor Hamburg, who are now just a point off the bottom, are. It was the visitors that opened the scoring, and Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s goal was enough to take them into the half with a 1-0 lead. Domi Kumbela equalized for Braunschweig in the 51st minute, and added another ten minutes later. Ivo Iličević pulled one back for Hamburg, but Braunschweig picked up the pace in the final five minutes. Kumbela completed his hattrick and Jan Hochscheidt added a fourth with the final play of the game.

Hoffenheim 4-1 Stuttgart
What? Another side got four goals? Yes, this time it was mid-table Hoffenheim pushing Stuttgart, who started off the season in Europa League and have now lost six in a row, even closer to the danger zone. You’d think Stuttgart did it to themselves, going down to ten men when Moritz Leitner received a second yellow, but Hoffenheim were already up 3-1 by the sending off in the 80th minute. Sven Schipplock scored on either side of the half, Kevin Volland put one in in between. Antonio Rüdiger finally found the net for Stuttgart in the 78th, but it was Hoffeinheim with the final say, a penalty converted by Roberto Firmino.

Werder Bremen 1-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Just two goals? Yawn. Gladbach must’ve thought they’d had this one all sewn up, cruising after Raffael’s sixth minute goal. But Ludovic Obraniak scored from a direct free kick in the 88th minute, grabbing a share of the points for Werder Bremen. If Gladbach, now in fifth, don’t start winning soon, their Champion League dreams will be completely out of reach.

Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Schalke
It’s obvious that Leverkusen aren’t going to catch Bayern, and it’s fairly clear they’re not going to lose out on a Champions League place. Still, you’d think they’d at least be able to secure a point at home, even against Schalke. Especially after getting kicked out of the Cup to Bundesliga 2 side Kaiserslautern. But maybe Leverkusen are just saving it up to meet PSG midweek, because they could do little to stop Schalke. In fact, their goal came courtesy of the visitors, an own goal from Felipe Santana. It was Leon Goretzka and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar that put the ball in the back of the Leverkusen net, giving Schalke the win.

Sunday Fixtures

Augsburg vs. Nurnberg
Nurnberg, with just two wins all season, don’t look a likely contender to throw a spanner in Augsburg’s plan to slip into the European positions. Then again, Nurberg do have six draws on the road and managed two wins in a row before facing Bayern, so the visitors grabbing a share of the points wouldn’t be completely out of left field.

Hertha Berlin vs. Wolfsburg
It’s rare that the Bundesliga weekend ends with an intriguing matchup with any relevance whatsoever, but the outcome of this game could have huge implications on which Bundesliga side takes the final Europa League spot. Wolfsburg has sixth right now, but Hertha are just two points back – and holding on to a European position would be quite a way to mark their return to Germany’s top division.

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.