Leipzig Climb as Hamburg Threaten to Fall – Bundesliga Zeitung

Leipzig Climb as Hamburg Threaten to Fall – Bundesliga Zeitung

The Bundesliga table continues to morph as this intriguing season continues, both in the race for Europe and the struggle for survival, writes Andy Wales.

The top half has all been about the very much competitive race for the European spots behind a dominant Bayern Munich.

A perfect example of just how quickly things can change is Borussia Mönchengladbach going from being in contention for a Champions League place, to bottom half of the table in just three weeks.

 

Those top four positions have swapped and changed multiple times in recent weeks, and Bayer Leverkusen, who have occupied the second spot for most of that period, now find themselves in fifth place after a surprise defeat at home to Hertha Berlin.

Instead, it’s now RB Leipzig in second, following a 2-0 victory on Friday night. They overcame the tricky task of Augsburg thanks to goals from Dayot Upamecano and a deflected free kick from Naby Keita.

It wasn’t long ago that questions were beginning to be asked of Leipzig, with their form somewhat patchy, but back-to-back wins lifting them up to second probably says more about how tight the European race is than it does about Leipzig hitting top form.

Schalke lost their second successive league match, though not surprisingly because their opponents were champions and league leaders, Bayern. The stuttering Bayern side at the end of the Ancelotti era is now such a distant memory that it’s almost difficult to believe it really existed. A token Robert Lewandowski goal gave Bayern an early lead before Franco Di Santo equalised for the visitors.

However, it didn’t take Bayern long to restore their lead through Thomas Müller, and that was how the game ended.

There will be bigger games ahead for Schalke, including the Saturday evening match this week at home to Hoffenheim. Can Tedesco’s men get their challenge for a Champions League spot back on track? It will be interesting to see if Julian Nagelsmann can derail his old friend.

Eintracht Frankfurt are becoming the dark horses in this race. They currently sit fourth after dispatching the rejuvenated Köln 4-2 in an impressive performance. A real test for them awaits this weekend though as we get something unusual in German football – Monday night football – with Frankfurt hosting Leipzig in a match that could again change the shape of the top four.

Dortmund are a side not exactly firing on all cylinders, but they are sitting just a point behind Leipzig in third. Saturday saw Dortmund take care of the beleaguered Hamburger SV 2-0. Michy Batshuayi was again on the score sheet as he continues to endear himself to the Dortmund fans. The win was far from comfortable though, and it was only confirmed in stoppage time with a Mario Götze goal.

This may seem a bit of a stretch, but that goal could yet prove to be a turning point for the former golden boy of German football, because it was very reminiscent of the Mario Götze of old. Could we be about to see him rediscover some of the form that saw him become one of the hottest properties in European football? It seems unlikely, but only time will tell.

For Hamburg, this was another blank, another defeat, and they are another game closer to their long stay in the Bundesliga potentially coming to an end. They had their moments in this game, and they have some players capable of lifting them out of the danger zone, but they have now gone nine Bundesliga matches without a win. If the Dinos are to get themselves out of trouble, they’re going to have to turn things around pretty quickly.

One team who turned their fortunes around recently are Werder Bremen. Back-to-back wins have lifted them out of the relegation zone and above Mainz to suddenly find themselves hot on the heels of Stuttgart, Wolfsburg and Freiburg. The latter play host to Bremen this weekend in a match that could see Bremen put daylight between themselves and the relegation places.

With Mainz facing the unenviable prospect of a trip to Berlin on Friday night, Hamburg must get something from their home match against Bayer Leverkusen, who have plenty to play for themselves.

And that encapsulates this Bundesliga season quite nicely: the title race might be over, but there is still plenty to play for, involving almost every other team in the league.

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