Terry Duffelen
Thu 12 November 2009

Bundesbag Week 12 Round Up

It was Tim Vickery who said that of all the unimportant things in the world, football is the most important. So while Germany comes to terms with the death of Robert Enke, let us take a few moments to reflect on trivial yet happier matters, namely last weekend's Bundesliga action.

Bayern Munich
have problems. Eighth in the Bundesliga, all but out of the Champions League and handing out fines to players for indiscipline and loose tongues. Under pressure boss Louis Van Gaal substituted Luca Toni at half time in the game against Schalke on Saturday. The Italian international didn't take the decision too well. His response was to get dressed and bugger off. The player was fined for breaching club discipline and the incident can be added to the list of reasons why Toni left Bayern when he eventually does.

More serious was a controversial interview given by Phillip Lahm. The German international criticised the club's transfer policy and generally expressed his unhappiness at the way things were going. These comments were particularly damaging, not because of what was said - more who said it. A loan spell in Stuttgart notwithstanding, Lahm is pretty much Mr Bayern. A player who, as Raphael Honigstein reminds us, was offered gigs at Manchester United and Barcelona but turned them down after receiving assurances from Uli Hoeness that the club were investing in the squad at levels which will satisfy Lahm's ambitions. Given the deficiencies in the Bayern squad and their current position in the Bundesliga and the Champions League, Lahm has every right to feel stitched.

Lahm has been fined more money than any other Bayern player and his since expressed his regret for opening his mouth. But the worms have wiggled free now and the much discussed failings at Bayern have become legitamised by Lahm's words. The question now is how will the club respond?

Of course at times like this the last thing you need during a massive domestic is an old family member to turn up at your place. So when former coach Felix Magath turned up he must have repressed a wry smile as the club that sacked him after winning back to back league and cup doubles were thwarted by an 18-year-old debutant for Magath's current club Schalke. Daniel van Buyten gave the Bavarians the lead after 31 minutes, but the visitors equalised 12 minutes later thanks to young Joel Matip whose playing record reads 'played one, scored one'.

The draw keeps Schalke in fourth behind Hamburg and Werder Bremen who themselves could only manage a point. The former rather spunked their lead against Hanover after Tomás Rincón brought down Jiri Steiner in the 86th minute. The Czech international got up and took the penalty himself. Bremen looked to have the measure of Borussia Dortmund after Mesut Ozil scored the goal of the weekend (a beautiful first time shot taken on the full). However they flagged as the game went on and BVB equalised thanks to a goal from who else but Lucas Barrios.

The match also enjoyed the distinction of having one of the three disallowed goals last weekend. The others were at Mainz where Nurnberg were denied an equaliser and Bochum should have taken the lead against Freiburg only to have the goal disallowed incorrectly. To make things worse, Stefan Reisinger scored for the visitors to claim the three points and really piss off Bochum's new coach Heiko Herrlich (who looked very dashing in his duffel coat, by the way).

Elsewhere, Leverkusen extend their lead at the top to three points after thrashing Frankfurt 4-0. Grafite returned to the Wolfsburg first team and scored in their 2-1 win at Hoffenheim. Stuttgart had Markus Babbel has Jens Lehmann to thank for their 0-0 draw against 'Gladbach. He made some quite sensational saves.

Finally, let us take a moment to observe the goings on in the German capital as they celebrate the 20th anniversary of the end of the Berlin Wall. Bottom club Hertha welcomed fellow strugglers Koln in an atrocious match that ended 1-0 to the visitors thanks to a goal from Slovenian international Milivoje Novakovic. It was another wretched performance by the home team and are in danger of being out of sight by the time the Winter Break comes along.

The other prominent club in Berlin are of course 1. FC Union Berlin who received some coverage on these web pages earlier in the season. The Iron Union were an East Berlin club before the Wall came down and played in the DDR Oberliga. They were a strong anti-Stasi club though and didn't fare too well. The club struggled after German unification but have recovered to the extent that they now sit fourth in the 2.Bundesliga. If they fail to gain promotion they can console themselves with the prospect of playing Hertha next season.


That's it. Results and tables here.

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