After Bayern Munich left it late to get past Schalke on Friday evening, Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Mönchengladbach & Co. needed a win against their respective teams to keep on the pressure.
Here’s three points Get German Football News editor Daniel Pinder took from Saturday’s Bundesliga fixtures.
Joel Pohjanpalo stakes claim for Bayer Leverkusen starting place
Despite Bernd Leno signing a new contract with Bayer Leverkusen that will keep him at the club until 2020, it was Hamburger SV’s summer signing who delivered an early blow to der Werkself.
United States international Bobby Wood found the net midway through the second-half, which is his second in as many games following his arrival from Union Berlin. Something that HSV has been missing in the past couple of seasons? Most definitely. Wood could be that striker that Bruno Labbadia has been searching for.
For the hosts, Joel Pohjanpalo saved the day with the equaliser for Bayer Leverkusen. Heading into the game, Roger Schmidt knew that they would need something special to beat an improved Hamburg side, but it was the Finland international who spared Leverkusen’s blushes as he scored his second header in as many games.
Not only did Pohjanpalo score the equaliser for Leverkusen after being introcuded in the 72nd minute, but he went on to score two more goals in added time to win it for Bayer Leverkusen. A start in the next league game against Eintracht Frankfurt? You would like to think so.
Plenty that Borussia Mönchengladbach need to work on
Things started positively for André Schubert’s Borussia Mönchengladbach, when midfielder Thorgan Hazard continued his fine form after finding the net with a curing effort from outside the area in the first-half.
In what looked to be a positive start, die Fohlen soon capitulated. A brace from Maximilian Philipp gave Freiburg the lead before Nils Petersen piled more misery on Schubert.
Gladbach’s dreadful away form continued, and managing just one shot in the Freiburg box, it’s clear where the problems lay.
Sven Müller impresses on Köln debut
With Timo Horn and Thomas Kessler out injured, it meant that Peter Stöger had to throw 20-year-old Sven Müller between the posts. Not an ideal situation, but last season’s youth goalkeeper certainly impressed.
Coming up against fellow debutant Mario Gomez, who joined Wolfsburg in summer, Müller proved his worth following early pressure from the hosts in the opening 15 minutes.
Midway through the second-half, Müller was also called upon to deny Ricardo Rodriguez and Gomez once again, which resulted in a clean sheet on the road for the Billy Goats.
Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Hamburger SV
Darmstadt 1-0 Eintracht Frankfurt
Freiburg 3-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach
Ingolstadt 0-2 Hertha Berlin
Wolfsburg 0-0 1. FC Köln