The Bundesliga wraps up play this week ahead of the Winterpause, and eight teams were in action on Tuesday. Jack Grimse brings you up to speed on everything that happened on the first day of Round 16.
Borussia Mönchengladbach 1-2 VfL Wolfsburg
“El Sackico” got off to a fast start as Wolfsburg’s Daniel Caliguiri finished a quick counter attack off with a sharp finish just two and a half minutes into the match. André Schubert was trying to hold on to a shred of something to keep his job, but even the strong form Gladbach traditionally have at Borussia Park was not enough. His future remains in doubt heading to the winter break.
Thorgan Hazard leveled the match at one seven minutes into the second half, getting on the end of a rebound spilled by Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio and firing home with a poacher’s finish. The scoreline only stayed that way for five minutes, as Mario Gomez got his fourth goal of the season to make it 1-2 in favour of the visitors.
Gladbach: Hazard (52′).
Wolfsburg: Caliguiri (3′), Gomez (57′).
Borussia Dortmund 1-1 FC Augsburg
Ji Dong-won finished off a counterattacking move that caught the Dortmund defence looking very unorganised. Five players collapsed on the ball, it was played to the Korean striker, and although Roman Weidenfeller saved his initial effort, Dong-won put the rebound into the roof of the net.
Marc Bartra had a poor first half, and BVB boss Thomas Tuchel replaced him with Sven Bender following the break. It didn’t take long for the home side to get back to level pegging, as Ousmane Dembélé added another fantastic finish to his impressive debut season.
Dortmund didn’t have enough to find a winner, and slip to fourth in the Bundesliga heading into the Winterpause, and they are level on points with Hoffenheim and Hertha who both have a game in hand. Christian Pulisic played 90 minutes, but didn’t make much of an impact.
Borussia Dortmund: Dembélé (47′).
FC Augsburg: Dong-won (33′).
Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 Mainz 05
Frankfurt took the lead 18 minutes in through Branimir Hrgota’s second goal of the season. The strike broke Eintracht’s 277-minute goalless drought. Coincidentally, the last time they scored it was Hrgota, 11 minutes into Augsburg 1-1 Frankfurt on 4 December.
Jhon Cordoba got sent off in the 55th minute, and the road back for Mainz got even harder 20 minutes later. Hrgota made another important contribution for the Eagles, assisting Aymen Barkok with a tidy through ball.
The pair of Barkok and Hrgota combined yet again five minutes from time, this time in the opposite order of Eintracht’s second goal. Hrgota capped off a stunning performance, bagging a brace after finishing from close range.
Three points today sees Frankfurt leap three spots, up to third in the Bundesliga with 29 points. Both Hertha and Hoffenheim (5th and 6th, both 27 points) are in action tomorrow, and the two sides ahead of them (FC Bayern and RB Leipzig) are still seven points ahead before they face off tomorrow.
Eintracht Frankfurt: Hrgota (18′, 85′), Barkok (75′).
Mainz 05: None.
Mainz 05: Jhon Cordoba (55′)
Hamburger SV 2-1 FC Schalke 04
It was a slow start in Hamburg, but the match heated up as the day wore on. Nicolai Müller made it 1-0 with half an hour left, and that’s when the match really sprung to life.
The home side had a chance to put the game out of reach, when Schalke’s Thiro Kehrer picked up a yellow and gave away a penalty with a poor tackle. Johan Djourou took the spot kick for the Rothosen, but Ralf Fährmann didn’t even have to move across his line in the Schalke goal, making the save with ease.
However, Hamburg put it away with eight minutes remaining, as American Bobby Wood curled a strike into the far corner from just outside the six-yard box with his left foot.
It proved crucial, as Schalke really pressed to get back late in the match. They scored in the penultimate minute of regulation as Donis Avdijaj scored his first Bundesliga goal, but couldn’t convert a corner in stoppage time to level it up.
Hamburg hop out of the (automatic) relegation zone for the time being, as they now sit a point ahead of Ingolstadt with 13. Ingolstadt have a chance to make up the deficit, however, as they will be in action tomorrow against SC Freiburg.
Hamburg: Müller (60′), Wood (82′).
Schalke: Avdijaj (89′).