Terry Duffelen
Wed 4 February 2009

Bundesbag Week 18: Soothsaying

You may recall, just before the Bundesliga’s winter break, the first ever league match between the traditional powerhouse of German football Bayern Munich and the new upstarts/young pretenders Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena. It was a pulsating match between the top two teams which resulted in the current champions Bayern snatching a win right at the death.

After that game you couldn't help but think that the jig was up for the Hoff. It still promised to be a fantastic season for the village club but in terms of the title race, the psychological advantage lay with Klinnsy and the gang. Especially when it turned out that the Hoff's top scorer Vedad Ibisevic had damaged his ligaments and would spend the rest of the season sat on the bench in his club's swanky new stadium which was opened in January. Well, that may still be true, however if last weekend’s action is anything to go by, there's life in the title race yet.

The weekend began with a trip to Hamburg for Bayern on Friday. There they met a dogged home side determined to make their own mark on the season. Hamburg were missing Olic who was suspended but that didn't stop his countryman Petric from making an impact. His goal was enough to beat the Champions. However, as Lord Of The Wing pointed out, Bayern missed a lot of chances. Luca Toni also had what looked like a decent goal disallowed.

The following day, Hoffenheim held a housewarming party at their new home and everyone, including Energie Cottbus, was invited. Not wishing to ruin the moment, the away side accepted a 2-0 defeat thanks to goals from Demba Ba and new loan signing Boubacar Sanogo. The win sends Hoffenheim top of the league. So far, my predictions that Hoff will have to settle for a UEFA Cup place is looking shaky, as is my prediction that Hertha will fall away by the end of the season.

The Berliners move up to second in the table. Last Saturday they won 2-1 against Frankfurt. Marco Pantelic (who, it was suggested, may have left in the transfer window) notched two goals and looks in good form. I think Hertha made hard work of things towards the end and let Eintracht back in.

With Bayern relegated to fourth in the table, fifth and sixth place are occupied by Leverkusen and Dortmund respectively. Conveniently, the two played each other at the Westfalon. It looked a decent enough derby game with Alex Frei stooping to conquer Rene Adler in goal with a fine header only for Patrick Helmes to strike back with a cracker.

On Sunday there was a right ‘sechs punkter’ at the bottom of the table. Bochum started the day in the relegation zone and finished it out of the zone at the expense of their opponents Karlsruhe. Bochum have signed BVB striker Diego Klimovicz and he came up trumps for them with the second goal in the game. Karlsruhe looked awful.

Elsewhere, mid-table Hannover beat mid-table Schalke 1-0, FC Köln drew 1-1 with Wolfsburg and Bielefeld made history by beating Bremen at the Weserstadion for the first time ever. Werder could claim some mitigation because they were missing the suspended Diego and Pizzaro but try telling that to King Artur Wichniarek who scored the winner. Neither he nor Bielefeld's supporters are likely to have any truck for such flimsy excuses. I have, though, because I predicted Bremen to finish the season in third. Is it too late to change my mind?

That's it. Results and table here.

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