I’m aware that posts about tactics can be something of a turn off in these web pages but you may be interested to learn about the possible start of a rethink regarding formations in the German club football. As in most senior European leagues, Bundesliga coaches tend to use a five man midfield with a single striker up front. Sometimes that striker has been replaced with a false nine who is more like an attacking midfielder. Think Mario Götze at Bayern Munich.

However, both Stuttgart coach, Thomas Schneider and new Hannover 96 coach Tayfun Korkut have started playing with two strikers up front in  a formation which looks closer to an orthodox 4-4-2. Of course and perhaps inevitably there is something of a twist on this formation as both teams press the opposition very hard when they don’t have the ball so it’s not quite the free flowing retro football of Tim Sherwood’s Spurs which we all enjoy for various reasons but it is an interesting move by two young coaches who took their coaching badges together.

In Stuttgart’s case the performances have been positive but the results fruitless. They nearly took a point of Bayern last Wednesday by taking a one goal lead only to succumb to a Claudio Pizarro equaliser and an injury time winner from Thiago Alcântara which is already a YouTube classic. Stuttgart’s defeat was the second straight 2-1 loss in which they have taken the lead. On Saturday it happened again, this time against Bayer  Leverkusen. Tough luck on Thomas Schneider whose alternative approach (I hesitate to say “new”) deserves greater reward.

Hannover, on the other hand are going great guns with their two strikers, Artjoms Rudņevs and Mame Biram Diouf playing up front. After an impressive win last weeks against the hotly tipped Wolfsburg, they did a real number on fourth placed Borussia Mönchengladbach. The 96ers made a mockery of the game’s possession stats with a classic counter attacking style. All the goals came in the second half. Rudņevs and Diouf put them 2-0 up, ‘Gladbach substitute Peniel Mlapa got one back for the visitors only for Diouf to score his second of the day.

That result opened up the European spots, somewhat. Wolfsburg who lost again, this time to Schalke who’s much maligned coach, Jens Keller keeps getting the results despite criticism of his tactics and frequent talk in the press that he will be replaced in the near future. 2-1 was the final score in that game and the Gelsenkirchen club move up to fourth.

At the top, Bayern continue on their sedate way after thrashing Eintracht Frankfurt 5-0. Bayern had struggled somewhat in their last game but with Franck Ribéry back in the starting eleven and Arjen Robben coming off the bench they made short work of Frankfurt. Indeed, despite the mauling, Eintracht coach Armin Veh said he was satisfied with the result.

Third placed Borussia Dortmund are anything but satisfactory and have to blow hard for their 2-1 win at bottom club Eintracht Braunschweig. And boy did they blow.

Elsewhere, Werder Bremen made some useful signings in the transfer window and their fans will be praying that they make an impact after they lost 3-1 at Augsburg. The home side continue to surprise under coach, Michael Weinzierl who also took his coaching badges with the aforementioned Schneider and Korkut. As did Marcus Gisdol whose Hoffenheim team beat Werder Bremen’s bitter rivals, Hamburg 3-0. HSV are now in the bottom two, below Freiburg who were beaten by Mainz, 2-0.

Out of the bottom three after two straight wins are FC Nürnberg but their win was not without controversy. On the 88th minute the score was 2-1 and Hertha, striker, Ronny’s long range shot was thwarted by the hand of Nürnberg defender Ondřej Petrák. The referee, Michael Weiner, awarded a penalty to Hertha and sent off Petrák. That was until the linesman pointed out that Hertha’s Adrian Ramos was in an offside position and interfering with play as Ronny took his shot. The offside cancelled out the penalty and red card. Minutes later, Nürnberg won a spot kick of their own down the other end and won the game 3-1.

It took a while to pick the bones out of that decision but it does look like it was the right call. Not that this is any consolation to Hertha fans who must have thought they’d rescued a point. However, as Bundesliga writer Nik Wildhagen pointed out in this piece on the matter, Ramos could have won the game in the first half alone. so I guess thems the breaks.

Full results and tables are here (pdf).