Bundesliga Round 31

15 Apr

In the Round 28 update, I wrote the following: “From the Bundesliga Round 24 update, I confidently predicted “The lead at the top is now a  surely uncatchable 7 points“. I’d like to take this opportunity to completely back track and suggest that there’s still life in the title race after all. I apologise to everyone involved, and it won’t happen again. Probably.”. I’d now like to retract that retraction, and state that I was completely confident in my belief that Dortmund would win the league, and withdraw my apology. I’m glad that’s all cleared up.

Soon to be repeated scenes

After Dortmund’s massive win last week against Bayern Munich, they faced a potential banana skin this week with a game away at local rivals Schalke 04 in the Revierderby – facing the league’s most deadly partnership, Raul and Huntelaar. With 38 goals between them, and with Bayern a nailed on home win against 11th placed Mainz, there was a chance that the gap could drop back to 3 points, meaning game on. That was the threory anyway. The reality was quite different. With three games left, Dortmund proved why they’re likely to retain their league title with a 2-1 win courtesy of goals from Piszczek (8.5) and Kehl (8.67). In what was an ill tempered game, Dortmund had to come from behind after Jefferson Farfan’s (8.3) 9th minute opener. In the space of 4 days, they’ve beaten 2nd place and 3rd place to leave no doubt they are the best team in the league. They’ll need just 2 points to confirm the league  as Bayern were held to a surprise 0-0 draw. Despite keeping their 17th clean sheet of the season (average opp: 10.47), they failed to bother the score sheet. Ribery, Kroos, Lahm and Flat Track Bully, Mario Gomez were all left out of the starting line up as Bayern had one eye on the Champions League semi final versus Real Madrid. A game that although is cross countries, does have a decent rivalry, as explained by Sid Lowe here.

Schalke’s dropped points has opened the door for Monchengladbach to fight for 3rd place. After going four games without a win, they walked to a 3-0 win over 16th placed Cologne, which left them just one point behind Schalke. Both are safe in the top 4, but 3rd place won’t have to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League. In what was the biggest surprise of the match, Marco Reus gave up his vow not to score against scrappers at the bottom, with the team’s final goal. That’s his 16th league goal of the season, and the worst opponent he’s scored against after he got his hands/feet dirty against 12th placed Hoffenheim in round 27. I’m sure he feels bad about it. Another noticeable scorer was Tony Jantschke, who scored his first goal of the season. The fact that it was him wasn’t really noticeable, the fact that it was his first goal was though. It’s just Monchengladbach’s 9th different scorer this season – the lowest in the whole league. It doesn’t seem to have harmed them too much though, FC Augsburg (15th) have the second most scorers with 15. Reus still holds the title of Big Game Player with 10 goals against the Top 6, but his average ranked opponent per goal has dropped from 5.80 to 6.44:

Elsewhere, in what appears to be a parallel universe or some kind of whacky body swap with Reus, Flat Track Bully Martin Harnik scored a couple of goals against half decent opposition. Stuttgart beat 7th place Werder Bremen (not quite Top 6 – unlucky), 4-1 to take their recent points tally to a mightily impressive 23 from the 27 available. They’re top of the form table, and will be cursing the first half of the season which saw them pick up just 22 points from 17 games, but it’s still a big improvement from last season’s 12th, as they’re close to Europa League qualification in 5th. Harnik now has a respectable 17 goals for the season, almost doubling last season’s tally of 9. The young Austrian will surely be courting interest from some bigger clubs in the near future. Unless they read this site – because he’s still the Flat Track Bully with an average of 13.47 (up from 14.33 to be fair).

That Huntelaar failed to score in Schalke’s biggest league game of the season is no surprise. His 24 goals have only contained 4 against the league’s top teams, and massive 11 against the dross at the bottom. His average of 12.04 meant that Dortmund were unlikely to be bothered by him, and 5 shots all off target would back that up.. You’d expect slightly better than one shot from Raul – a player with big game pedigree (two Champions League Final goals).

At the bottom, FC Augsburg moved 4 points clear of Cologne who fill the last relegation place, with a surprise 2-1 win away at Wolfsburg. It was surprising in that Wolfsburg were 9th and Augsburg had only won one previous away game all season. However, that’s now 3 defeats in a row for Wolfsburg. As it stands, with just three games to go, it looks as if Kaiserslautern, Hertha Berlin and Cologne will be the teams to go down.

Premier League and La Liga updates to come later this week once the fixtures have been completed. Sadly, there’ll be no Serie A update as the games were all cancelled due to the tragic death of Piermario Morosini.

Thanks,

Liam

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