Terry Duffelen
Tue 3 November 2009

Bundesbag Week 11: After you. No after you.

Every league experiences them, sometimes more than once. That's a weekend where the championship contenders all contrive to lose the initiative.

We'll begin with a shock defeat to Hamburg who were at home to 'Gladbach. A fixture, rare in the Bundesliga as one in which you should have been able to put the house on a home win. However, if the homeless population of the Rieperbahn increased over the weekend it's because the away side stormed back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 thanks to a winner from substitute Rob Friend.

Bruno Labbadia's squad is missing the odd striker or twelve and is said to be interested in signing Andrei Voronin. However, their problems at the back require urgent attention and lend credence to my earlier contention that Bremen are emerging as the title favorites given their strength at the back. At least it would if Werder had not surrendered two goals to Nurnberg and had to chuck the kitchen sink at them to salvage a point.

That draw was enough to briefly move Bremen to the top of the table on Saturday afternoon. The way was clear then for Leverkusen to extend their morning lead or for Schalke to top the table by beating the Bayer club in the 5:30 kick off later that day. Needless to say the pressure got to both of them and the game finished with another 2-2 draw. The result could have been so much more for Leverkusen after going 2-0 up with goals from Toni Kroos and Stefan Kiesling. However, Kevin Kuranyi and Vincente Sanchez lifted the roof off the Arena Auf Schalke with two late strikes to keep their guests on top while narrowing the gap at the top AND bringing Hoffenheim into the fray. Yes, Hoffenheim are back on the agenda after an impressive 1-0 win at Freiburg on Sunday.

Immediately behind them are Bayern Munich who could have sealed Stuttgart coach Marcus Babbel's fate had they won at the Mercedes Benz Stadium. As it happened, the home side busted a gut for their coach and claimed a point in a goalless draw. Babbel lives to fight another day but will fear what awaits them in Sevilla in the Champions League this week. Bayern on the other hand were to suffer the indignity of losing to a French team last night.

Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund are slowly progressing up the table after beating Hertha 2-0 at the Westfalon. BVB had to work hard for their result which was not completely assured until Lucas Barrios scored a late nerve-settler. Improving Hannover should be well pleased with their away win at Koln. Bochum, meanwhile, are not improving and lost again, this time to Frankfurt.

Finally, Mainz have made a great start to the season. They have 18 points, only one behind Bayern and level with their opponents last weekend, Wolfsburg. Much of their success is down to the six goals and five assists from attacking midfielder Andreas Ivenschitz. He was on the mark once again last Saturday. The champions took the lead with two goals from Obafemi Martins. Chadri Amri and Ivenschitz and brought it back to 2-2. Then Misimovic scored The Wolves' third and that looked to be that until Tim Hoogland struck late to round off this weekend of meaningful draws.

In the Second Division, Armenia Bielefeld stay top thanks to goals from Giovanni Federico and Christopher Katongo in their 2-0 win against Cottbus. Second are Kaiserslautern followed by St Pauli.

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

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