Terry Duffelen
Tue 9 March 2010

Bundesbag Week 25 - Hope for Hannover, Leverkusen Lose

Last week I posed the question 'could Leverkusen go through the entire season unbeaten yet still not win the Bundesliga'? This week, the question was emphatically answered - no!

The Bayer club are now officially in the collywobbles. Despite their much vaunted unbeaten run, Jupp Heynckes men have only won one game in their last five. They have failed to beat lowly Koln and even lowlier Bochum. Now they have been beaten 3-2 at Nurnberg who were languishing in the relegation zone prior to the match. The home team took an incredible 3-0 lead with two goals from Eric Maxim Choupo-Motim and another from Mikael Tavares. Leverkusen looked like the stuffing had been painfully extracted from them yet more out of casualness than desire they managed to bring the score back to 3-2. However, they knew that only a win would suffice and could not rouse themselves to a finale.

Nurnberg recorded a famous victory which may not save their season but could certainly have ruined their opponents. Leverkusen play Hamburg next week and if they fail to win it's hard to see them recovering themselves in time to restore their old position on the top of the Bundesliga. That being the case, the only teams that could stop Bayern Munich from becoming champions would be Schalke and Bayern themselves.

The Bavarians were missing Arjen Robben and Martín Demichelis for their match against Koln. They also left Franck Ribery on the bench presumably to rest him ahead of tonight's big Champions League game against Fiorentina. However, they needed the Frenchman's skills after Lucas Podolski popped up to score his first goal since 1425 against his old club. Bayern hit the woodwork twice and found an equaliser through Bastian Schweinsteiger. It was a cracking game and Koln deserved their point. Bayern looked weak at the back with Demichelis missing, Badstuber replacing him and young full back Diego Contento still finding his feet. If better teams than Koln can exploit these weaknesses the title may yet be denied the Munich club.

Which could mean that the championship could arrive at an even unlikelier destination at Gelsenkirchen where Schalke recorded a mightily impressive 4-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt. The Royal Blue's record against Frankfurt is excellent. Nevertheless, this was an impressive result. The goals came from young Joel Matip and young Benedikt Howedes followed by young Ivan Rakitic and not so young Kevin Kuranyi, a striker transformed into a complete centre forward who deserved his goal following some excellent unselfish play for Rakitic's goal where he squared the ball instead of blasting it into the side netting which he most assuredly would have done last season. Amazing what a haircut will do for a man.

Elsewhere, Hertha's un-improvement continued with a 1-0 defeat to Hamburg. Wolfsburg's re-improvement continued after beating Bochum 4-1. Dortmund got back on the horse with a 3-0 victory over their Borussian rivals (whatever that means), 'Gladbach. Stuttgart took a 2-0 lead against Bremen, only to piss it up against the wall and concede two. The Hoff lost again, this time to Mainz, 1-0. Look out for Bance's goal as it was a cracker.

Finally, a milestone for Hannover in that they finally won a football match. This was thanks, in large part, to some outrageously bad defending by Freiburg's Papiss Cisse coupled with the most atrocious miss by the same player that would have rendered Landon Donovan mute. Still, a win is a win and Hannover have something to build on.

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

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