Bundesliga Zeitung, by Andy Wales.
This continues to be one of the most competitive Bundesliga seasons in many years, and although I am not naïve enough to believe this will continue beyond the next handful of games, I’m determined to enjoy it while it lasts!
Incredibly, we head into another international break, after Matchday 7, with Borussia Mönchengladbach leading the way in the Bundesliga.
Victory at home to struggling Augsburg wasn’t much of a surprise, but the speed at which they streaked ahead was certainly eye-catching.
A goal from Denis Zakaria inside two minutes set the tone, and a brace from Patrick Hermann meant Gladbach had raced into a 3-0 lead with just 13 minutes on the clock.
Another from Alassane Plea before half-time put the game beyond any doubt, with Breel Embolo adding a fifth shortly after a late consolation strike from Florian Niederlecher.
All in all, a comprehensive win for Marco Rose, who takes his team to Borussia Dortmund in what will be a highly-anticipated Saturday top-spiel game when the Bundesliga resumes.
It will be a game that Gladbach enter with confidence, and not just because they are the current league leaders. Dortmund have continued to stutter in the manner that cost them the Bundesliga title during the second half of last season, and it’s bringing further pressure on boss Lucien Favre.
It rightly seems inconceivable that Favre could be looking at losing his job, at least for now, but the additions to the squad during the summer after the challenge mounted last year have added to expectation levels at the Westfalenstadion.
Simply put, Dortmund now have a team and squad that should be capable of delivering, but have so far struggled to do so.
The issue of seeing games out to ensure victory has cost them points against Eintracht Frankfurt, Werder Bremen and, this past weekend, Freiburg. That’s three successive draws from winning positions and six valuable points dropped that may prove to be priceless come the end of this season.
Favre is going to have to come up with some answers to the increasing number of questions being asked of him, or this winter could become a precarious one in terms of his tenure at Dortmund.
The derby against Schalke comes the weekend after Gladbach, followed by an in-form Wolfsburg, and then Der Klassiker away to Bayern.
A potentially season-defining few weeks for Favre and Dortmund.
As mentioned, Wolfsburg are in form and sit a point behind Mönchengladbach. By no means are they blowing teams away, but they are winning and have conceded few goals.
Sunday’s 1-0 win over Union Berlin was their second successive by that score-line and their credentials will be tested next time out by a Leipzig team that had looked every bit title contenders.
Julian Nagelsmann had been lauded with praise after the opening weeks of the season with Leipzig sitting pretty in the Bundesliga while also winning their opening Champions League group game in Portugal.
What a difference a couple of weeks can make.
The shock 3-1 loss to Schalke was followed by another home defeat, this time to Lyon in the Champions League, and on Saturday it took a late equaliser from Christopher Nkunku to prevent a third successive reversal.
Schalke, meanwhile, have proved that victory in Leipzig was no flash in the pan. David Wagner has settled well into Gelsenkirchen life, helping reinvigorate Schalke from a dour team lacking in spirit, to one willing to fight and brimming with energy.
Only a stoppage time goal from FC Köln’s Jonas Hector prevented Schalke registering a fifth consecutive win in the Bundesliga.
If Schalke have been the form team, Amine Harit and Suat Serdar have been the form players, and Serdar has now been called up to the German national team by Jogi Löw.
Whilst Schalke, Freiburg, Wolfsburg and Gladbach sitting amongst the frontrunners is unexpected, what happened at the Allianz on Saturday was downright gob-smacking.
After a devastating example of clinical finishing against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League midweek, the omens for Hoffenheim did not look good.
Serge Gnabry, Robert Lewandowski and Philippe Coutinho ran riot in the 7-2 massacre of Spurs and you’d be forgiven for thinking Hoffenheim would be in for something similar.
As it was, a full-strength Bayern side couldn’t engineer a breakthrough, and instead fell behind to a debut goal from Sargis Adamyan.
A leveller, inevitably, from Lewandowski, would normally open the floodgates against plucky visitors to the Allianz, but this was not to be the case.
Adamyan scored his second to re-take the lead just minutes later and despite their efforts late on, Bayern lost their unbeaten start to the season in surprise fashion.
The result is that just four points separate Mönchengladbach at the top and Dortmund in eighth.
The unpredictable nature of the table, coupled with key games over the coming weeks, means we could be in for one of the most fun-filled Bundesliga campaigns in years.
Plenty of movement this weekend 🧐
And some new faces at the top! ✨ pic.twitter.com/fw047madBN
— Bundesliga English (@Bundesliga_EN) October 6, 2019