Union Berlin returned to the top of the Bundesliga on Sunday afternoon after Bayern Munich reclaimed it for several hours on Saturday. Werder Bremen also recorded an impressive 1-0 win on Friday evening which at the time, placed them sixth. Elsewhere, there were important wins for Wolfsburg and Stuttgart on Saturday.
Top 5 Bundesliga Talking Points – MD12
1 | The Union Berlin fairytale continues. Possibly the most remarkable story in Germany and perhaps Europe earned another memorable footnote last weekend as Union scored a 97th-minute winner to go back to the top of the Bundesliga. The incredible rise of Union is one that goes against spending big and paying huge sums of money on wages. Instead, they’re built on a community spirit which is rarely found across Europe’s top leagues. Union Berlin play in a stadium which was built by their own fans and uses a tried and tested scouting system which enables them to buy cheap and sell for a profit. This was beautifully summed up when Danilho Doekhi scored last weekend’s final second winner. Doekhi was playing and captaining Dutch side Vitesse last season but joined Union on a free this summer. Other bargains include striker Jordan Siebatcheu (€6m, Young Boys), Jamie Leweling (€4m, Greuther Fürth), and Janik Haberer (free transfer, SC Freiburg). Union travel to struggling Bayer Leverkusen this weekend as they hope to keep Bayern and the chasing pack away. How far will Die Eisernen go this season?
2 | Every weekend you can guarantee that at least one team will go home with nothing and feeling aggrieved about a dodgy decision. This weekend, it was Eintracht Frankfurt who lost 2-1 at home to Borussia Dortmund courtesy of strikes from Julian Brandt and Jude Bellingham. Frankfurt were value for money in the late kick-off and had countless opportunities to draw level and win the match. However, an inspired Gregor Kobel and last-minute clearance off the line by Nico Schlotterbeck stood in their way. The scandalous decision was in the 42nd minute when Jesper Lindstrøm was clearly pushed in the back by Karim Adeyemi as he was about to shoot and most likely score given the positioning of the goalkeeper. Frankfurt’s cries fell on deaf ears. After the game, referee Sascha Stegemann admitted there had been a mistake and “the check process was cancelled too early.” In theory, VAR would correct the decision and get it right every time. However, human error is what gives the technology and bad name. Until officials are more educated, these decisions will unfortunately appear.
3 | No Lewy, no problem! Bayern Munich continued their great run of form by beating Mainz 6-2 with six different scorers. It was a very one-sided affair in truth with Bayern registering 24 shots at goal, 13 of which were on target. Despite some early teething problems, Julian Nagelsmann’s side are breezing through their competition both in Europe and domestically right now. This is partially down to the introduction of Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting as an out-and-out number nine whose ability to score and bring others into the attack is there for all to see. The Cameroonian scored another goal in the 6-2 hammering and is surely going to be offered a new contract after the World Cup. Perhaps Thomas Müller and Co will soon be posting another video on social media but this time informing Union Berlin that they are coming.
4 | Werder Bremen’s fantastic start continued on Friday as they beat Hertha Berlin 1-0 in front of a packed Weserstadion. Up to 8th in the Bundesliga, Bremen have come into the league with a secret weapon which may yet feature in this year’s World Cup. Niclas Füllkrug is currently the joint-top goalscorer in the division with nine goals to his name. The next German international on that list is Jamal Musiala in 4th. Füllkrug scored a stunning header late in the game to seal the win for Werder and who’s to say he can’t do the same for the national team? If Hansi Flick wants players who are in form, then Füllkrug deserves to be in the squad for Qatar.
5 | It’s been a rough start to life at Bayer Leverkusen for Xabi Alonso. RB Leipzig were the latest team to inflict defeat on B04 last weekend as they stay rooted to 16th spot. In truth, many Leverkusen fans won’t mind losing midweek to ensure that they don’t have to juggle both European football and Bundesliga matches. What the team needs is to focus on one objective and right now that should be moving away from the relegation spaces. Against Leipzig on the weekend, Leverkusen could only manage five shots and only one on target. Their only saving grace right now is that they’re in front of two terrible sides in Bochum and Schalke.
GGFN | Jamie Allen