Terry Duffelen
Wed 2 September 2009

Bundesbag Week 4: A little R 'n' R

There is a good reason why I'm a mere football blogger and Louis Van Gaal is a successful football manager and here's it is. When the news broke that Arjen Robben was signing for Bayern Munich I scoffed. "Pah!" I said "What do Bayern need another winger for. They need an attacking central midfielder, not competition for Franck Ribery."

Little did I know of course that Robben was to be played as an attacking midfielder. I was soon to find out and so were Wolsfburg. They were on the receiving end of the Dutchman's second half debut which resulted in him scoring two goals and linking up with Ribery like they'd played together for years. In 45 minutes Bayern had gone from a stuttering, uncertain team to Bundesliga contenders.

The problem is that a season doesn't last 45 minutes and the Munich club still have pressing issues at the back. Were it not for the intervention of Hans Jorge Butt in goal and Phillip Lahm on the goal line, Wolfsburg would have scored at least two goals and the outcome may have been different. On the plus side, the brilliant Anatoliy Tymoschuk not only nullified the Champion's attacking midfielder Zvjezdan Misimovic but was able to distribute the ball to the forward line superbly. Once they got past him mind, things got a bit tense and Bayern, in my opinion, remain vulnerable to wide balls and set pieces.

But what's this? The third Bundesbag in a row which has started with Bayern? What's this - the Bavarianbag? Why are we concerning ourselves with a mid-table outfit struggling to recover past glories when we should be looking to the top of the table and Hamburg?

There were no last minute transfer rabbits pulled from the hat up north. Bruno Labbadia had settled on his side in good order and he is reaping the dividends. The Red Shorts are brimming with attacking zeal in the likes of Paolo Guerrero, Mladen Petric, Piotr Trachowski and Ze Roberto. They may not be international household names but these guys know how to score goals. It was Guerrero who took centre stage on Sunday with a brace against Koln. Trochowski scored the third in the 3-1 win from the spot. The penalty was won under contentious circumstances with Koln keeper Mondragon claiming he never touched Ze Roberto, implying therefore that the Brazilian had dived. Unfortunately, there were no Scotsmen around to get a definitive opinion.

Koln didn't look as bad as the scoreline suggests. If they can find Lukas Podolski's 'on' switch and stop making stupid defensive mistakes they should be OK. You sense that they'll be fine after their first win.

Joint top of the table are Bayer Leverkusen who had to come back from a goal down after a mistake from Manuel Friedrich led to Diego Klomowicz giving their opponents Bochum a 1-0 lead. Friedrich made up for his error with an equaliser before Stefan Kießling restored order. 2-1 was the final score at the Bayarena.

In third are Werder Bremen and it's great to see them back at their knockabout best in a cracking 3-2 victory over Hertha Berlin at the Olympiastadion. Mesut Ozil was on target yet again. His third goal in 4 games. Could he be this season's Vedad Ibisevic?

Last season's Vedad Ibisevic was of course Vedad Ibisevic. He's struggling to find his scoring boots since his return from injury but that's OK because his team Hoffenheim are off and running with their first win of the campaign. Carlos Eduardo scored with an absolute scorcher at Hannover who have given interim coach Andreas Bergmann the gig full time.

Elsewhere, Stuttgart are struggling to get their groove on. They could only manage a 0-0 draw with Nurnberg. Eintracht Frankfurt may prove to be difficult to beat this season and they had a perfectly good goal ruled offside in their 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund. Also, I had a feeling that Mainz would not have returned to Earth after their magnificent win over Bayern in Week 3 and for once I was right. They lost 2-0 to Borussia Monchengladbach thanks to Raul Bobadilla's first goal since his arrival and a wonderful solo effort by Marco Rues. Remember the name.

Felix Magath's position at Schalke 04 was strengthened further last week as he took on the operating duties of the club president and effectively became part of the Board. He would have like to have celebrated his elevation with a comfortable home win against lowly Freiburg. Instead he suffered a 1-0 home defeat to the same. South Korean striker Du-Ri Cha was the pain provider. While it's still early in the season you can't help but wonder if Magath is simply being given a few extra yards of rope to hang himself with. We'll see.

In the 2 Bundesliga, FC St Pauli are the new leaders after an emphatic 4-0 (gerd) mullering away at Karlsruhe. Union Berlin are level on points with the Rieperbahn club after only managing a 1-1 draw at Augsburg.

That's it. Results and tables here. Follow the Bundesbag on Twitter.

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