Germany’s top teams seem to be having a better time on the European stage than domestically, as Borussia Dortmund, Borussia Monchengladbach and Bayern Munich all failed to pick up Bundesliga wins this weekend. The three clubs, alongside RB Leipzig, all progressed to the last-16 of the Champions League, with Leipzig sending Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United crashing out of the tournament in a winner-takes-all affair.
Dortmund hosted VfB Stuttgart at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday, with pressure mounting on manager Lucien Farve. But it was the visitors who started brightly, with Stuttgart testing ‘keeper Roman Bürki in the early stages. The floodgates were opened after 26 minutes, with wingback Silas Wamangituka converting a penalty after Emre Can’s clumsy foul. But the scores were level at half time after a smart lofted finish from young American Gio Reyna. However, it was Stuttgart who dominated the second half.
UPDATE: Lucien Favre has now been sacked by Borussia Dortmund.
Westfalenstadion, home of Borussia Dortmund. Photo: JohnnyB via Wikimedia Commons
The DR Congo international Silas got his second of the game with a powerful finish inside the box, before Philipp Förster made it 3-1 to the visitors. Striker Tanguy Coulibaly, who had looked dangerous all game, also got on the scoresheet just after the hour mark. BVB looked bereft of ideas and ruthlessness, and even their late consolation goal through Reyna was ruled out due to an offside. Nicolas Gonzalez completed the 5-1 rout for Stuttgart in injury time, with the visitors capitalising on BVB’s inexperienced attack and perhaps a European hangover too.
Union Berlin went toe to toe with Bayern Munich in Saturday’s evening game and looked the likely side to win after an hour. Grischa Prömel had converted another accurate Christopher Trimmel corner to give Union a very early lead, and it was not until the 67th minute that the Bundesliga leaders equalised through key marksman Robert Lewandowski. Both sides had chances to seal the game, with Taiwo Awoniyi proving particularly wasteful in front of goal. A miraculous save by Union ‘keeper Andreas Luthe denied Leroy Sane from snatching all three points for Hansi Flick’s side.
Two first half goals meant Julien Nagelsmann’s RB Leipzig continued their good form from midweek, brushing aside Werder Bremen 2-0 to go level at the top of the table. Arsenal loanee Matteo Guendouzi scored a stunning goal from 25 yards for Hertha Berlin in a 1-1 draw against Borussia Mönchengladbach, with both sides hoping to progress after underwhelming starts to the season.
Köln finished the game with 10 men but held on to a 1-0 win away at 17th placed Mainz, meaning the visitors open up a bit of breathing room between themselves at the bottom two. Freiburg left things late to seal a 2-0 win against Arminia, and Wout Weghorst was the hero with an 88th-minute winner as Wolfsburg came from behind to beat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1.
There are two game weeks before the annual Bundesliga winter break, with Bayern travelling to Bayer Leverkusen next Saturday in the pick of the matches. But as of now, Bayern and RB Leipzig lead the way whilst Dortmund are floundering somewhat, picking up just 4 points out of their last 15. Union Berlin continue to impress in the top half, while German giants Schalke remain rock-bottom, and are the only winless side in the league.
Game of the week: