Hamburg’s first win in eight Bundesliga games was an absolute rollercoaster from start to finish. Mirko Slomka is in the hotseat now after Bert van Marwijk’s sacking, but many of HSV’s fans still didn’t back the new man to win his first game against the might of Borussia Dortmund. But digging deeper would have shown that sometimes it’s best to go with destiny and let everything else work itself out. Slomka’s six predecessors didn’t lose their first game and he himself had only lost once to Jurgen Klopp at home while a manager. However, it wasn’t odds and history that won the ‘Dino’ the game – it was composure from Pierre-Michel Lassogga and outright brilliance from Hakan Calhanoglu, whose 40-yard free-kick is still being dissected by scientists and explained. Though blaming Roman Widenfeller might start, but not too much. Hamburg moved out the bottom two and had their smiles returned.
Dortmund were simply outplayed, outfought and outthought in Hamburg. But a 3-0 reverse isn’t the worst of the worries to emerge from match-day 22. Sven Bender – so often the fulcrum of the side – is out for ten weeks with an inflamed pubic bone and will miss much of BVB’s season. Klopp has been cursed with injuries this season. Ahead of the trip to Russia to face Zenit St Petersburg, the Yellow and Blacks are still missing Mats Hummels, while Robert Lewandowski – much subdued on Saturday – is ill, but will still travel. After the HSV defeat, Dortmund’s second-place ambitions are starting to look long, so the trip to Russia will make or break their season. Once chick of light – Marco Reus returned from injury on Saturday. In keeping with Klopp’s luck, he’s suspended for next week.
Many said after Arjen Robben was hauled down in Bayern Munich’s win over Arsenal on Wednesday that he hadn’t been denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity because a penalty is a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Someone should tell FC Nurnburg and Eintracht Braunschweig that. They managed to miss three between them in their relegation battle on Saturday as Raphael Schäfer made two outstanding stops, and Marjan Petković also clawed one onto the post. This was the first time in Bundesliga history that three penalties had been missed in one game, and the ten men of Nurnburg managed to turn around the deficit and win 2-1, rendering Braunschweig’s hard work seven days ago against Hamburg useless.
Go through a wrap of the weekend and not mention the champions-elect? Impossible. After scraping past Arsenal on Wednesday, Pep Guardiola’s men headed to Hannover. The Spaniard managed to give Manuel Neuer the day off after his penalty heroics, and also rested Dante and Robben. Still won 4-0 though. Thomas Mueller used his head for only the second time this season, while Mario Mandzukic marked his 100th Bundesliga appearance by imbibing the spirit of Les Ferdinand, who made hanging in the air headers his own during his career. If results continue to go their way, Bayern will have the league won on match-day 25 – in three weeks. There’s no point talking about the standard of the league as a reason for why, because it doesn’t wash. They are simply too good, and would dominate any league. The Bavarians are seriously targeting becoming the first team to retain the Champions League in the modern era, and it would take some doing to stop them.
Results: Schalke 0-0 Mainz, Hamburg 3-0 Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart 1-2 Hertha Berlin, FC Nurnburg 2-1 Eintracht Braunschweig, SC Freiburg 2-4 FC Augsburg, Borussia Monchengladbach 2-2 Hoffenheim, Wolfsburg 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen, Eintrach Frankfurt 0-0 Werder Bremen, Hannover 96 0-4 Bayern Munich
MORE: Man United latest news
MORE: Arsenal latest news
MORE: Chelsea latest news
MORE: Liverpool latest news