1. Bayern and Guardiola: Let the negotiations begin
In the final season of a three-campaign deal with Bayern Munich, coach Pep Guardiola, finally is ready to sit down with his employers and discuss a new contract.
Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, the chairman of the FCB board, announced on Saturday that talks would begin at the end of the ‘Autumn Championship’, a week before Christmas, and judging by Rummenigge’s tone and demeanour at the weekend, he clearly is confident that he can keep the ex-Barcelona boss man out of the clutches of the Premier League’s finest.
Bayern are reported to be proposing a two-year extension worth 15 million euros per annum – four million more than he currently receives – but as the German league leasders know only too well, Pep needs much more than a fat financial package. Job satisfaction
and the pursuit of perfection is what really turns the Catalan on and in that regard, he seems more than content with his lot at the moment
“This is the best Bayern side of my time in charge, ” Rummenigge insists.
2. To Dortmund the local supremacy spoils
Dortmund’s 3-2 victory at home to Schalke in the 168th Ruhr derby might not have been the most emphatic in terms of score-line, but nevertheless was a tour de force.
On an afternoon of eardrum-puncturing decibels at the Westfalenstadion, the Schwarz-Gelben were streets ahead of their regional rivals in more or less every department: more vibrant, more incisive, far better organised, quicker in both mind and body.
All credit to new Dortmund coach, Thomas Tuchel, who in just a few months, has taken the turbo-charged pressing machine of predecessor, Jürgen Klopp, and replaced it with the sort of finely-tuned possession game which Pep Guardiola would be proud of.
Slick in their approach play, patient and very clever at varying the tempo, the ‘new’ Dortmund are much less predictable than they used to be and that spells danger for opponents.
In 22 competitive games this season, Tuchel’s side have already amassed 71 goals. Nothing sterile about their care for the ball, They keep it moving. Then pounce.
3. The pressure mounts on Weinzierl.
Under fire FC Augsburg coach, Markus Weinzierl is going to have to pull out all the stops if he is to redirect his rock bottom Bundesliga squad.
Sunday’s 2-1 home loss to Werder Bremen extended his side’s winless streak to seven games and with just six points on the board from a possible 36 and five backyard defeats out of seven, the outlook is grim indeed.
After hammering AZ Alkmaar 4-1 in the Europa League on Thursday, the Augsburger had hoped it would spark a domestic revival. But against Bremen, it was the same old refrain: plenty of decent possession and goalscoring chances, but little in the way of finishing punch and defensive concentration.
Next weekend’s trip to struggling Stuttgart could be make-or-break.
4. Wolfsburg’s firepower goes up in smoke
Beaten twice on their travels in the past seven days – suffering 2-0 defeats to PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League and in the Bundesliga versus Mainz – the VW works club will have to improve considerably as an attacking force if their season is not fall apart at the seams.
As many predicted, the departure this summer of star number ten Kevin De Bruyne, has hit them very hard and without his inventiveness, speed on the break and excellent set-piece delivery, they have traded automatic weapons for a cap gun.
Much for Wolves coach Dieter Hecking to ponder. New attacking midfield signing, Julian Draxler – who was sent-off against Mainz for a king-fu style challenge on Gonzalo Jara – has yet to truly settle in, while fellow German international Andre Schürrle is as frustrating as ever, outstanding one week, off the pace the next.
5. Rudi Völler has a “Calm down, dear” moment
The Bayer Leverkusen director of sport found himself at the eye of a media storm at the weekend when accused of chauvinistic behaviour towards a female TV presenter during an interview after his club’s 2-1 home loss to Köln in the Rhineland derby.
Pressed by Sky Sports Deutschland journalist, Jessica Kastrop, about Bayer’s defensive shortcomings in recent Champions League and Bundesliga encounters, a rather tetchy Völler clearly was not impressed with the line of questioning and palpably losing patience, sighed, patronisingly tapped Kastrop twice on the arm and instead started talking to Sky pundit, the former Liverpool and Uerdingen striker, Erik Meijer. Oh dear.