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TALKING POINTS | Bundesliga – Week 24

1 | For anyone hoping to see any team not called Bayern Munich lift the Meisterschale at the end of the season, this was a bleak weekend. Bayern were able to draw level on points with leaders Borussia Dortmund with a 5-1 trouncing of Borussia Mönchengladbach, another team that had been there or thereabouts, on Saturday night whilst they are also now just two within Dortmund’s goal difference. The Foals are completely out of form and Bayern took full advantage, and if not for Yann Sommer it could have been a lot worse for Dieter Hecking’s side. Niko Kovač called it one of “the best performances of the season” and Thomas Müller said that “momentum is on our side,” although no-one’s getting too carried away just yet.

2 | The opportunity to catch up to Dortmund was presented to them on Friday night as Lucien Favre’s winter of discontent continued in Augsburg. It was a first league defeat since December at the worst possible time, with Ji Dong-won coming back to haunt his former club again with two goals – one scrappy, one magnificent. Both though were the result of defensive errors, with Favre lamenting that “every mistake led to a goal,” although their lack of penetration at the other end was just as concerning, with super-sub Paco Alcácer only having time to pull one back after coming on. The Spaniard ending his goal drought, and a return for Marco Reus, were about the only glimmers of light.

3 | Following that shock win for Augsburg, the bottom two are being cut further adrift from the rest and with ten games to go looked doomed. Nürnberg could probably live with a 1-0 defeat to RB Leipzig, but Hannover were beaten 5-1 in a supposed six-pointer at Stuttgart. Ozan Kabak and Steven Zuber were destroyers-in-chief, scoring two each after Mario Gómez got his sixth goal of the season. The visitors threatened a comeback when Jonathas scored to make it 3-1 early in the second half, but soon returned to the mess they had been in the first. Thomas Doll looks increasingly incapable of saving their Bundesliga status.

4 | Wolfsburg are back on the right track this season, so on the surface it seems incredible to think that Bruno Labbadia might soon be on his way out. However, that appears to be the case as speculation mounts he will leave when his contract expires in the summer. Labbadia said nothing to either douse or fuel the flames, after sporting director Jörg Schmadtke has admitted publically that the pair have a frosty relationship, and it seems he may want he own man having only arrived after Labbadia had kept them up last season. This year of course they’re in the fight for Europe, although they let a 1-0 lead slip at home to Werder Bremen on Sunday, Max Kruse cancelling out John Anthony Brooks’s opener.

By James Rees.

 

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