After the weekend’s thrilling action, Bundesliga fans were treated to a midweek special which saw Bayern Munich continue their incredible winning streak for the season, and current champions Borussia Dortmund lose further ground on their rivals as they squandered a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 with Eintracht Frankfurt.
Schalke, meanwhile, kept up with their fellow title contenders with a 3-0 win over Mainz, as Stuttgart’s appalling start to the season continued as they crashed to a 3-0 home loss to Hoffenheim. And, as ever, Goal.com is here to salute the best performers on show in Germany’s top flight.
Diego Benaglio may have ended up on the losing side when Wolfsburg travelled to the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, but the Swiss goalkeeper made a string of fine saves to limit the Bavarians to three goals.
At the back, Andreas Beck was in excellent form as Hoffenheim claimed a much-needed victory at the Mercedes Benz Arena, while Jens Langeneke and Heiko Westermann were both key for Fortuna Dusseldorf and Hamburg respectively. Holger Badstuber completes the defence after another assured showing at left-back.
Marco Hoger came into the Schalke team and performed admirably, while Bastian Schweinsteiger‘s roaring return from injury continued with another goal from midfield, while Franck Ribery seemed to be approaching he brilliant best for die Roten. Takashi Inui was in a destructive mood as Frankfurt stunned Dortmund, and Szabolcs Huszti continued his flying start to his second spell at Hannover with another incredible midfield showing.
The Hungarians team-mate, Didier Ya Konan, completes the XI for this round of matches after scoring two of his side’s four goals against Nurnberg as Mirko Slomka’s men climbed to third place in the table.
Philipp Lahm has stressed that Bayern Munich have learned from last year’s mistakes and have no intention to give up top spot in the Bundesliga in the remainder of the season.
The Bavarians have won their opening five league games and hold a seven-point lead over titleholders Borussia Dortmund, and Lahm is determined to keep it that way until the end of the 2012-13 campaign.
“We are not thinking about any statistics or about what happened in the past. We are sitting atop of the table right now and intend to keep it like that until the end of the season,” Lahm said to Sport1.
“At some point last year we even had an eight-point lead over Borussia Dortmund, yet still managed to throw it all away.
“We can not let that happen this term. Last season was a warning for us. We have to be focused in every game we play.
“We can break the record of winning our opening seven league games. We have to make sure we remain focused, though.”
Bayern resume match action on Saturday when they travel to Werder Bremen.
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness has insisted that people should not be expecting anything out of the ordinary from Javi Martinez just because of his hefty price-tag.
The holding midfielder left Athletic Bilbao for Bayern for a record fee of €40 million in the summer transfer window, but Hoeness has stressed that Javi Martinez’s job is to protect the Bayern back-four rather than be decisive in attack like Barcelona star Lionel Messi and Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo.
“You can not expect him to play like Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo just because he cost us €40m,” Hoeness was quoted as saying by TZ.
“He cost us €40m because that was his release fee, but normally we would have paid €10 to €15m for him.
“We don’t expect him to play like Messi or Ronaldo. It’s his job to protect our defence and make sure we don’t concede goals.”
The 24-year-old has made four Bundesliga appearances up till date.
Hamburg had only themselves to blame as they conceded a late equaliser away at Borussia Monchengladbach.
After a frantic opening period, it was the hosts who took the lead through Rafael van der Vaart, who scored his first goal since his return to the Imtech Arena with a spectacular effort that looped high over Marc-Andre ter Stegen and into the net. However, the hosts fought back, and soon found themselves level when Martin Stranzl headed home five minutes from the break.
The parity was short-lived however, and Artjoms Rudnevs earned his side a half-time lead with a cool finish just before the whistle. Hamburg had a golden opportunity to put the match beyond Gladbach soon after the restart. A clumsy tackle in the box earned Stranzl a red card, only for Van der Vaart to send the resulting spot kick against the woodwork.
The visitors had a further effort chalked off for offside, but soon slowed the pace, and were made to pay for their wastefulness when Alvaro Dominguez nodded home Juan Arango’s free kick to secure a point for his side.
Hasan Salihamidzic has showered praise on former side Bayern Munich, after they cruised to a 3-0 victory over Wolfsburg on Tuesday.
The former Bosnia international spent the majority of his career in the Bundesliga with the two clubs who clashed at the Allianz Arena midweek, and he believes the Bundesliga leaders gave an immaculate performance on the night.
“They played as every coach wants,” Salihamidzic told Sky. “They were rapid, exploited the wings and spread the ball around quickly. [They were] perfect.”
Meanwhile, Mario Mandzukic, who netted a pair of goals on the night, claimed team spirit was responsible in Bayern securing five wins from five games.
“We all have fun together and everyone is fighting for everyone on the pitch,” the Croatian striker added.
Bayern top the German top flight after five rounds of games and travel to Werder Bremen this weekend.