Hamburg’s revival under new boss Bert van Marwijk continued as The Red Shirts inflicted a heaviest home defeat on Nürnberg in 30 years with a 5-0 win. Hamburg simply oozed class in the early exchanges, as Rafael van der Vaart opened the scoring with a mid-air volley off the outside of his boot after just 17 minutes. The deficit could have been much greater than just a single goal given Hamburg’s first half dominance, but a combination of luck and the visitor’s inability to convert their chances meant Nürnberg still had a foothold in the game at the break. It didn’t last long, as Hamburg finally translated their superiority onto the score sheet in the second half. Pierre-Michel Lasogga, on loan from Hertha, grabbed a superb eight-minute hat-trick to end any slim Nürnberg hopes of a comeback. After latching on to a sublime pass from Van der Vaart, the 21-year-old powered his first strike into the far corner from the edge of the box. Three minutes later and the duo combined once again, Lasogga half-volleying in from range from a corner, before the young German got his third with a spectacular drive following a dire back-pass by Nürnberg defender Per Nilsson. Van Marwijk would have been proud of his side’s performance, especially given their late comeback against Frankfurt last week, but Hamburg’s fifth goal would have made him ecstatic. Tolgay Arslan capitalised on an unfortunate clearance by goalkeeper Raphael Schäfer, and duly lobbed him with a first time shot from 40 yards. Nürnberg’s are still searching for a win, along with a manager, having fired Michael Wiesinger in response to the result. Hamburg themselves are reaping the benefits of making a change early in the season, as they enjoy a new lease of life under the Dutch master.
After losing André Schürrle in the summer to Chelsea, Bayer Leverkusen haven’t had to look far for an ample replacement. Winger Sidney Sam has made a stellar start to the season, and contributed a massive six goals and four assists to help keep his side to within touching distance of the summit. His pace and trickery make him a thorn in the side of the opposition, yet his movement off the ball is just as telling, giving him the time and space to make crucial contributions. While his goal against Bayern Munich was somewhat fortuitous, Sam got into huge amounts of room in the box after some good work on the wing. His quick reflexes allowed him to reshuffle and score his sixth goal, which interestingly have all come from his left foot. He couldn’t quite lead his Leverkusen side to the full three points against Munich, but continued his record of scoring in each of B04’s home games this season. The hotly-contested affair was a joy to watch for both Bayern’s attacking prowess and Bernd Leno’s fantastic performance in the Leverkusen goal. The 21-year-old stopper made eight saves, had more touches than any of his team-mates, and made a massive contribution as his team told strong in the face of Munich.
It was written in the stars that Eintracht Braunschweig – bottom of the table, no win in eleven, and without a win in the Bundesliga in 28 years – would end those three runs with victory over none other than their local rivals Wolfsburg. The Wolves were quickest out of the starting blocks, and kept the Lions at bay from very early on. Ivica Olic had two good opportunities to put the home side ahead, but Daniel Davari stood firm in the Braunschweig goal. Brazilians Diego and Luiz Gustavo were the next Wolfsburg players to be thwarted, and the home side were left to rue missed chances as Braunschweig scored on the half-hour mark from their first shot on goal. After a storming counter-attack Mirko Bolland beat the offside trap to advance down field, and square for the sprinting Karim Bellarabi to slot into the open goal. The large travelling support went ballistic in a reaction mirrored by their coach Torsten Lieberknecht on the touchline. Wolfsburg rallied, and Olic missed several more chances. Ivan Perisic was brought on at half-time to give the hosts more fire power, but Braunschweig sealed all points just before the final whistle. Another counter-attack found Domi Kumbela in the box, and he adjusted his body to stab past Benaglio, and break his duck for the club. The Braunschweig fans were sent into raptures once more as their side held on for a first win of the season. They remain at the bottom of the table after Freiburg’s last gasp equaliser at Frankfurt, but Braunschweig’s style of win gives their fans hope of more to come after the international break.
Eight games in and we are yet to have an outright favourite for the title. It’s exciting, and incredibly open. Dortmund seemed to have grabbed the initiative until a 1-1 draw with Nürnberg at the end of September, while Leverkusen and Bayern have also slipped up this season. Following Dortmund’s loss at Monchengladbach earlier in the day, Leverkusen and Munich had the opportunity to leapfrog BVB to the top of the table. By sharing the points, it meant just a single point splits the top three, while six points separate third from fourth. Dortmund should have been entering the international break at the summit, but in similar style to Munich, they simply couldn’t make their dominance and shot-count matter against Monchengladbach. Dortmund registered 19 shots on target to the home side’s three. However, all three of Monchengladbach’s shots hit the target, in comparison to only eight of Dortmund’s. Marco Reus was guilty of missing a hatful of chances, while Mats Hummels really should have done better when Marc-André ter Stegen parried a long-range effort into his path. The match was decided by two late goals after Hummels conceded a penalty and was dismissed. Max Kruse sent Roman Weidenfeller the wrong way from nine yards before Raffael completed the mission just five minutes later. The top of the table looks closer every week, and some serious shooting practise will be taking place over the break for the strikers of Leverkusen, Bayern and Dortmund. Game on.
MORE: Man United latest news
MORE: Arsenal latest news
MORE: Chelsea latest news
MORE: Liverpool latest news