Following their historic 7-2 win at Tottenham in the Champions League, Bayern Munich fell to a disappointing 2-1 loss at home to Hoffenheim over the weekend. Neither Borussia Dortmund nor RB Leipzig took advantage of the Bavarians’ slip-up, meaning we have a tantalizing Bundesliga title race heading into the second international break of the season.
Bundesliga Title Race Heats Up
Bayern Fall Flat
Bayern Munich made a huge statement to the rest of Europe on Tuesday by smashing Tottenham 7-2 in their own stadium. Unfortunately, the Bavarians could not follow up on their spectacular Champions League display with a similar performance over the weekend.
Instead, Bayern succumbed to a disappointing 2-1 loss to Hoffenheim at the Allianz Arena. Whereas Die Roten put away their chances midweek in clinical fashion, they were totally wasteful on Saturday. They did not create an overwhelming amount of opportunities, but they did make enough to feel disappointed in their lack of goals.
Niko Kovac sent out a largely unchanged lineup from the one that beat Tottenham. His attack looked rather stale, and the addition of either Thomas Muller or Ivan Perisic into the starting lineup would have been well warranted.
Bayern were even more suspect at the back, though. Niklas Sule and Jerome Boateng never looked like a solid pairing, while Manuel Neuer will feel a bit disappointed in himself for the goals he let in.
As great as the Bavarians’ Tottenham win was, it is important they follow up on such occasions with similarly impressive displays on the weekends. Their loss to Hoffenheim shows they still have a little bit of work to do to be the dominant force in Europe they hope to become.
Dortmund Again Fall Apart
Forget what Marco Reus says, Borussia Dortmund have a mentality problem. For the third consecutive weekend, Lucien Favre’s men took a 2-1 lead over their opposition only to throw it away near the end of the match. This time Freiburg were the ones to take advantage of Dortmund’s mental lapses and steal a point they probably did not deserve.
Marco Reus is adamant his side’s struggles are not down to their lack of a winner’s mentality, but he is wrong.
Dortmund are punching far below their weight. They currently sit eighth in the Bundesliga table with just 12 points to their name. But their squad is at least the second-best in Germany. The only explanation for their ongoing struggles to put away games is that they lack the proper mentality.
Lucien Favre has some serious work to do over the international break to get his side back on track. However, some are already beginning to wonder if Favre himself may not be part of the problem.
Regardless, Borussia Dortmund look a far cry from the title contenders many expected them to be at the season’s outset. BVB must address their mental issues and learn to put games to bed if they hope to re-establish themselves as one of the favorites for the Bundesliga table.
Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig Share a Point
While Bayern and Dortmund both faltered in their matches, neither RB Leipzig nor Bayer Leverkusen could take advantage of the bigger sides’ shortcomings. Julian Nagelsmann and Peter Bosz instead led their sides to a 1-1 draw in Leverkusen.
The hosts looked set to escape with all three points thanks to a Kevin Volland goal in the 66th minute. New signing Christopher Nkunku instead rescued a point for the Red Bulls just 12 minutes later.
Both sides had the chance to go top of the Bundesliga table. Both sides showed too much resilience, though, to allow their opponents to do that.
Gladbach Go Top
Ultimately, it was Borussia Monchengladbach who walked away the big winners on matchday seven. The Foals now lead the Bundesliga title race. Marco Rose and Co. put their superiority over FC Augsburg on full display on Sunday, thrashing their opponents 5-1 thanks to a four-goal first-half performance.
Their spot atop the Bundesliga table is well-deserved too. Other than a 3-1 loss to RB Leipzig on matchday three, the Foals have been spectacular this season. Alassane Plea, who scored once and assisted twice yesterday, has led the forward line with aplomb. New signings Marcus Thuram and Breel Embolo have had no issues adjusting to their new club. And Peter Hermann adds that last little bit of needed firepower to the attack.
In midfield, the creativity of Laszlo Benes and Florian Neuhaus is matched by the robustness of Denis Zakaria and Christoph Kramer. Yann Sommer sits behind a decent enough backline, led by Germany international Matthias Ginter and young Swiss Nico Elvedi.
Gladbach are undoubtedly the biggest surprise of the new Bundesliga season, but all the evidence suggests this side should continue competing for a spot in the top four throughout the remainder of the season.