It’s definitely crisis o’clock at Stuttgart. The Swabians are one of the Bundesliga’s biggest clubs and regular European competitors who last won the championship as recently as 2007. Their coach back then was a guy call Armin Veh. He is now the coach of Eintracht Frankfurt, who were responsible (in part at least) for Stuttgart eighth consecutive defeat on Sunday.
Stuttgart went ahead with a nice finish from the Austrian international, Martin Harnik after half an hour and it was all going pretty well for the away side. Particularly when, on 72 minutes, the linesman overruled the referee after the latter had incorrectly awarded a penalty to Frankfurt. But shortly after that Alexandru Maxim spurned a golden chance to make it 2-0 and that is when the Football Gods struck and Jan Rosenthal equalised before Alex Meier yoinked the winner at the death.
Thomas Schneider, the Stuttgart coach, had trouble getting out of his seat at the end of the game. This is Schneider’s first crack at the big chair after having been a successful youth coach at the club. There seems to be a genuine understanding at the Mercedes Benz Arena that Stuttgart can only return to the right end of the table with coaching stability and that Schneider is the kind of young, brave and innovative coach that they want. This, after all, is the guy who had the nerve to play 4-4-2 against Bayern Munich in January and very nearly got away with it.
The trouble is that in the short term Schneider is losing matches and his team are fourth from bottom of the table. Inevitably, there will be speculation that he is for the chop and by the time you read this, there may be another coach’s head in the metaphorical basket.
As for Eintracht, that win helps to make up for their heart breaking last minute Europa League exit to Porto, last Thursday and eases their own relegation fears, for now. They move the 12th, one place above Werder Bremen who relieved some pressure themselves by winning the 100th Northern Derby against their bitter rival Hamburg. Zlatko Junuzović was the history maker in Werder’s 1-0 win. Hamburg remain third from bottom level on points with Stuttgart, a place above them and Freiburg who are a place below. The black forest club were in Berlin last Friday and drew 0-0 with Hertha.
At the top, Dortmund recovered from their 3-0 defeat to Hamburg, last week by beating Zenit in the Champions League on Tuesday and winning against Nuremberg at the weekend. Mats Hummels celebrated his return from the treatment table with the first goal. This was followed by the obligatory Robert Lewandowski strike before Henrik Mkhitaryan rounded the result up to 3-0. BVB have moved into second thanks, in part, to this result and also to a dreamy back heel from Mainz’ Eric Maxim Choupo – Moting. That was enough to consign Bayer Leverkusen to yet another defeat and they can be grateful that other team seem reluctant to capitalise on their hideousness.
Schalke 04 were brutalised by Real Madrid last Wednesday in the Champions League and fared little better at Bayern Munich the following Saturday. If fact they were 4-0 down before the half hour mark. But the champions, went easy on their opponents in the second half, despite Schalke going down to ten, with only won more goal. They even chucked in an own goal for good measure. There ended a truly horrible week for the Gelsenkirchen club.
With the door left open for Wolfsburg to enter the top four they fell victim to the free scoring Hoffenheim who beat the Wolves 6-2. Only Bayern and Dortmund have score more goals than Hoffenheim who boast some really exciting attackers such as Roberto Firmino, Anthony Modeste and Kevin Volland. But the third highest scorers in the Bundesliga are also the third highest conceders (if that’s the word I’m looking for). Wolfsburg did have Christian Träsch sent off but they were already 5-2 down by that point. Hoffenheim are in a comfortable mid table position, nice and snug between Augsburg and Hannover who played each other at the weekend and drew 1-1.
Finally, hilarity ensued in Brunswick as Eintracht Braunschweig’s 1-1 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach was notable for two own goals by both goalkeepers. Braunschweig’s Daniel Davari took the lead for his opponents after turning in a cross from Raffael. Not to be outdone, ‘Gladbach’s star goalkeeper miss controlled the tamest of back passes from Filip Daems and guided the ball into his own net. It was a real Enkelman moment for the man who is set to be a Barcelona player next season, assuming the Catalans don’t change their minds.
Results and tables here (pdf)
Picture from Wikipedia