Football is back, baby! That’s right, after twiddling our thumbs for two long months without the beautiful game, the Bundesliga decided enough was enough, and thrust fußball fever upon us all.
And what a set of fixtures we had to look forward to on this glorious Saturday afternoon! Of course, there was the small matter of the Revierderby, but there were also five other pulsating matches for us to enjoy.
One man who had to wait a little longer for football’s return was Jadon Sancho, who was left on the bench as Borussia Dortmund took on Schalke in the big clash of the weekend. The young Englishman’s exclusion came as a shock to the entire football world, and even when his replacement Gio Reyna fell injured in the warmup, coach Lucien Favre selected Thorgan Hazard as the last-minute replacement, instead.
But did Dortmund miss him? Not really. Der BVB dominated the 90 minutes, and found the breakthrough on the half-hour mark following a clinical passing move. The man who struck the decisive blow was none other than Erling Haaland, who cushioned a lovely finish into the back of the net, before celebrating in spacey style.
The hosts doubled their advantage when Raphael Guerreiro rattled home a wicked left-footed strike, and the result was put beyond doubt three minutes into the second half, when Hazard staked his claim for a regular starting place, by driving a fierce effort beyond Markus Schubert.
It soon got embarrassing for Schalke, when Guerreiro and Haaland linked up once more to tear through the heart of the defence, adding a wonderful fourth just after the hour mark.
Good news for Schalke – there were no supporters in the stadium to worsen the situation. Bad news – the entire world was watching. Yikes.
So Dortmund got off to the perfect start, but what about fellow title hopefuls RB Leipzig? Well, it was a nightmare 90 minutes, to say the least. Leipzig fell behind against the run of play in their Bundesliga return, with Frieburg’s Manuel Gulde giving the visitors a shock lead.
Timo Werner and co piled on the pressure in the second half, but Freiburg stood strong, mainly thanks to some horrific finishing from Youssuf Poulsen. But the big striker made amends with 15 minutes to play, rising to head home an in-swinging cross and setting up a grandstand finish.
Despite the hosts dominating the game, it was Freiburg who thought they’d pulled off the ultimate smash and grab with an injury-time winner, but Robin Koch’s goal was ruled out for an offside infringement, and the points were shared.
A huge blow for Leipzig and their title dreams.
Borussia Mönchengladbach attack this season:
??Alassane Pléa: 29 games, 9 goals & 8 assists
??Marcus Thuram: 34 games, 11 goals & 9 assists
??Breel Embolo: 29 games, 7 goals & 4 assists
One of the most interesting attacking trios in Europe. pic.twitter.com/fIBFQfJToL
— Football Talent Scout – Jacek Kulig (@FTalentScout) May 16, 2020
In the evening kickoff, Borussia Monchengladbach stormed to a 3-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, taking the lead inside the opening minute through Alassane Plea, and then doubling their advantage six minutes later, thanks to a close-range finish by Marcus Thuram.
Ramy Bensebaini sent the visitors into a commanding 3-0 lead from the penalty spot on 73 minutes, but Andre Silva’s nice finish took the gloss off the result with only nine minutes left on the clock. The victory sees Monchengladbach grab third spot, and keep the pressure on Bayern and Dortmund.
Elsewhere, Hertha BSC hit Hoffenheim with the old one-two, grabbing two goals in two second-half minutes via an own goal and a Vedad Ibisevic strike to stun the home seats into silence.
Hertha wrapped up the three points with 15 minutes to play, when Matheus Cunha whipped home a ruthless curling effort to end Hoffenheim’s hopes of a comeback. Elbow bumps all round for Hertha.
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg snatched an injury-time winner to sink Augsburg by two goals to one, but they had to come from behind after Renato Steffen opened the scoring with an outrageous, powerful header from the edge of the box.
Tin Jedvaj levelled proceedings in the second half, but Daniel Ginczek tapped home Kevin Mbabu’s fizzing cross to claim a crucial victory for Wolfsburg’s European ambitions.
Now, Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Paderborn may not have been top of everyone’s list this weekend – and well – you were probably right to swerve this one. But hey, we’ve got football! Let’s be grateful, shall we?
In fairness, the duo played out an entertaining 0-0 draw, with both sides having plenty of chances to win the match.
Augsburg 1-2 Wolfsburg
Borussia Dortmund 4-0 Schalke 04
Fortuna Dusseldorf 0-0 SC Paderborn 07
TSG Hoffenheim 0-3 Hertha BSC
RB Leipzig 1-1 SC Freiburg
Eintracht Frankfurt 1-3 Borussia Monchengladbach