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Bundesliga Review – Week 9

Hoffenheim made it back-to-back wins in the Bundesliga with an emphatic win against rivals Stuttgart on Saturday evening. Julian Nagelsmann’s side have shown they can turn the pressure on at any given moment with their dominant performance on Matchday eight a prime example. A twelve-minute spell yielded four goals with Ishak Belfodil bagging a brace.

Markus Weinzierl becomes the first Stuttgart head coach since Armin Veh in 2006 to lose his opening two fixtures with the club, although Veh did go on to lift the Bundesliga with Stuttgart the following season and although an unlikely story this time round, we’ve seen miracles in football happen before.

With injuries a concern for Nagelsmann, the 31-year-old opted for a 4-1-3-2 against Stuttgart on Saturday evening but it once again goes to show the how versatile his Hoffenheim side is. With arguably four strikers on the pitch from the first whistle – Andrej Kramaric, Reiss Nelson, Joelinton and Belfodil – Nagelsmann was able to through bodies forward which overwhelmed the Stuttgart defence, although they defended well following Emiliano Insúa’s red card in the opening ten minutes.

With four defeats already this season and Champions League football to contend with, Nagelsmann finds his Hoffenheim side in eighth following their 4-0 win against Stuttgart. Visits to Leverkusen and Berlin in their next three league fixtures will give fans and staff alike a real understanding of where Hoffenheim stand.

However, what’s perhaps a little worrying for fans of the club will be the departure on Nagelsmann in the summer. Unfortunately, it’s time that his Hoffenheim story came to an end and Nagelsmann moves on. His move to RB Leipzig was already confirmed prior to the 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign kicking off and while his focus is completely on Hoffenheim at the minute, you can’t help but feel that Nagelsmann is already planning ahead of his new role in Leipzig.

Losing star players and limited funding at Hoffenheim in comparison to RB Leipzig, Nagelsmann cuts a frustrated figure in Sinsheim. Costly errors resulted in a 3-3 draw against French outfit Olympique Lyon in the Champions League midweek while these mistakes have been taking place throughout the season. For their efficiency in attack, it’s errors in defence that have cost them points – against Manchester City for example while mistakes against Fortuna Düsseldorf and Eintracht Frankfurt adds to the list of errors made this season.

Back-to-back wins in the Bundesliga could certainly shape their immediate future, but it’s what happens when Nagelsmann leaves the club in the summer. His move to RB Leipzig is a move that will certainly be intriguing and it’s one that could potentially see a momentum shift in the Bundesliga. The Red Bull backed company no doubt has the funding to challenge with the likes or Borussia Dortmund and with Nagelsmann at the helm, RB Leipzig will certainly be an exciting team to watch, especially if they’re able to keep hold of Timo Werner et al. It also wouldn’t be surprising to see Nagelsmann raid Hoffenheim and although they won’t come cheap, they’re players that have progressed their careers under the tutelage of the German.

1 | Although conceding a late equaliser to Hertha BSC’s Salomon Kalou, Borussia Dortmund have every right to be happy. They played against a top four club and while they still sit top of the Bundesliga, Jadon Sancho scored a brace to continue his fine start to the Bundesliga campaign. The 18-year-old Englishman has been involved in ten goals (four goals, six assists) this season in just 376 minutes of Bundesliga football. A remarkable achievement while it looks as though Sancho has found his home in Dortmund.

Swapping Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City for Borussia Dortmund was never going to be an easy decision to make, but it’s one that has yielded playing time while away from the British media, Sancho is able to knuckle down and play his football. The youngster has a remarkable understanding with Germany international Marco Reus while watching the duo together really is a joy.

2 | Crisis? What crisis? Bayern Munich picked up three points at Mainz on Saturday afternoon to put them two points behind Borussia Dortmund. Just last week Bayern’s hierarchy had condemned media for criticising their players but ultimately, it’s the players who have got their heads down in training, which is finally showing on the pitch. Thomas Müller, Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski all on the pitch together resulted in numerous chances created and while they only scored two, it could’ve been a different result completely. It’s a game that Niko Kovac’s Bayern Munich never really looked like losing while their upcoming game against SC Freiburg should yield three points before the eagerly anticipated fixture against Borussia Dortmund.

3 | Heading into the weekend, Borussia Mönchengladbach had found themselves second in the table to Borussia Dortmund. However, a trip to the Black Forest to face SC Freiburg was never going to be easy, despite Freiburg’s poor start to the campaign. From the off, Nils Petersen and Gian-Luca Waldschmidt looked up for it while Gladbach didn’t exactly start as they had planned. Petersen put the hosts ahead from the spot before Thorgan Hazard equalised but for all the possession Gladbach had, Freiburg did well to soak it up and take 57th minute lead through Waldschmidt before Lucas Höler added their third in stoppage time from the halfway line.

4 | With just seven points from their opening nine fixtures, questions need to be asked surrounding the future of Domenico Tedesco. A runners-up finish last season had set the foundations ahead of the 2018/19 campaign but with just five goals in their opening nine Bundesliga fixtures, it’s just not going to plan. Recruitment couldn’t have gone much better despite losing both Leon Goretzka and Max Meyer, but many would argue that the arrivals at the Veltins Arena outweigh the departures. If only their performances did. With seventeen goals last season for Hoffenheim, Mark Uth is yet to get off the mark for Schalke this campaign while they’re just not as clinical going forward. With games against Hannover 96 and Eintracht Frankfurt coming up, Tedesco and Schalke need a change in fortunes.

 

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