Although top spots remain reserved for Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt, the middle of the Bundesliga continues to see major movement as the competition for European qualification progresses.
Two of those looking for a top six finish got the weekend’s action underway on Friday when Schalke 04 traveled to one of this season’s surprise packages, promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Huub Stevens’ side looked as imperious in attack as has become almost rudimentary in the last two seasons, with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Joel Matip both striking early to put the visitors 2-0 up before halftime. However, a second half revival from the F95 saw Dani Schahin score twice with his head to draw the hosts level before the full-time whistle.
Saturday bore witness to the majority of the weekend’s fixtures, and the likes of Augsburg, Stuttgart, Hamburg and Mainz all did some good for their cases against relegation with their respective results.
After pulling off a massive upset with their 3-2 victory over Borussia Dortmund last weekend, Hamburg built on their momentum with a 1-0 triumph against Hannover 96, dashing away the cobwebs that seemed to be present at the start of the campaign. The raft of HSV’s summer signings would appear to be settling in and it was one of those summer arrivals, Artjoms Rudnevs, that netted the sole goal on this occasion.
Stuttgart collected their first win of the season, seeing off Nuremburg on their home patch, climbing out of the bottom three in the process. Vedad Ibisevic opened the scoring within the first minute and it was another 74 minutes before Martin Harnik returned after his one-match suspension to double his side’s tally.
The weekend’s activities were marred by the news that Hoffenheim midfielder, Boris Vukcević, had been involved in a car accident and was put into an induced coma prior to the club’s game against Augsburg. It’s understandable if the Hoffenheim players’ minds were elsewhere during the fixture, and the 0-0 draw showed signs as such. Augsburg will have walked away the far happier of the two, but are desperate for points and still seeking a first win of the 2012-13 season.
In a brief moment of hysteria, Sejad Salihovic lost his cool and committed a strong foul to receive a straight red in the second half despite coming on as a substitute not much earlier.
Another side slipping further down the German top flight is promoted party, Greuther Fürth, who traveled to the Bay Arena on Saturday hoping to claw back some much needed points. However, Sidney Sam had something else to say about the matter and netted an 11-minute brace just after half-time to give his outfit all three points.
Slightly higher in the table, Borussia Dortmund clinched their third win of the season with a resounding 5-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach, who would look as if they’re failing to recapture the magnificent form of last season. And it was one of the brightest sparks of the last campaign, Marco Reus, who made sure of that condemnation.
“Rolls Reus” netted twice in the dominating defeat, while Ilkay Gundogan, Mats Hummels and Jakub Błaszczykowski also contributed goals. The latter has been prolific so far this season and is making a habit of helping out in any scoring efforts having scored three goals and made three assists this season.
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich traveled to the Weserstadion where they saw off what was looking like strong resistance from Werder Bremen. Jupp Heynckes will be hoping for more decisive finishing in future if his side are to continue their imperious run so far this season, as Luis Gustavo and Mario Mandzukić left it late to score in the 81st and 83rd minute, respectively.
However, Sunday saw Eintracht Frankfurt stick closely to the heels of the league leaders, sending Freiburg packing from the Commerzbank Stadion empty handed. The visitors actually took the lead through Max Kruse but Armin Veh’s side displayed Bundesliga-standard resolve to net twice in the last 25 minutes to secure the win. Alexander Meier scored his second double of the campaign to ensure that Eintracht remained in second place. Freiburg showed their frustration too, as Karim Guede saw red in extra time for a kung-fu style challenge after only 18 minutes on the field.
In one of the weekend’s last games, Wolfsburg’s situation worsened and Felix Magath’s team fell to 16th after Mainz emerged as victors from the Volkswagen Arena. Junior Diaz and Adam Szalai got on the score sheet to earn a crucial three points for the 05s that sees them move to within just three points of the top six.