1. Lewandowski: One, two, three, four, five
For all the superlatives rightly being heaped on Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski following his astonishing five goals in nine minutes against Wolfsburg last week – the first top-flight quintuple since MSV Duisburg’s Michael Tonnies single-handedly destroyed Karlsruhe back in 1991 – in terms of Bundesliga history, a ‘Fünferpack‘ is not as uncommon as one might think.
No fewer than eleven other players have managed it and between 1972 and 1976, iconic Bayern centre forward Gerd Müller did so on four occasions.
Despite Lewandowski’s heroics, the double hat-trick Dieter Müller rattled in for Koln in a 7-2 thrashing of Bremen in August 1977 remains the ultimate act of German top-flight finishing and now 61, the once-deadly Dieter admits he was fearing the worst.
“As I was watching the FC Bayern-Wolfsburg game, friends were sending me texts and telling me my record was in danger. When he (Lewandowski) scored his fifth, there was a good half-hour left and I knew it was going to be tight. I was very jittery on my sofa, but it all ended OK. I’m proud that one of the oldest records in the Bundesliga still belongs to me. ”
2. Hecking singles out another Wolfsburg star for criticism.
After recently accusing striker Bas Dost of brattish behaviour, Wolfsburg coach Dieter Hecking is now pointing an accusatory finger at attacker, Andre Schürrle.
Unhappy with the latter’s contribution since arriving from Chelsea in a 33 million euro deal early this year, Hecking announced during a TV talk show that he could no longer protect the German international and that if Schurrle wanted to remain a first-teamer at the VW club, he would have to pull his socks up.
“Andre’s been with us for nine months and knows that up to now he has not lived up to expectations.,” said Hecking. “He’s asking himself too many questions. He’s worrying too much. I can see he’s trying hard in training, but he has to finally do it on the pitch. ”
Plain speaking indeed. If only the engineers at VW had been as honest.
3. Hummels’ home truths
Dortmund centre-back and skipper Mats Hummels has a refreshing tendency to tell it as it is and certainly was not pulling his punches in the wake of his side’s 2-2 draw at home to newly-promoted Darmstadt, a game the Yellow-and-Blacks dominated from first to last, only to sloppily concede a 90th minute equaliser.
“Darmstadt were dead, they were finished, ” roared Hummels after the match. “When we went 2-1 up mid-way through the second-half, they didn’t have the will to fight back. We were in compete control. But we continue to push men forward, lost the ball and then failed to deal properly with a free-back. If an opponent is left unmarked 15 metres from goal and is free to get his shot off, the mistake is ours. As in our last fixture (a 1-1 draw in Hoffenheim), this was an unnecessary loss of points.”
The Dortmunder will have to be much more ruthless and switched-on at Bayern next weekend.
4. Schubert begins to turn it around at Gladbach
Brought in to administer first-aid after Mönchengladbach were left bloodied and bruised by five straight Bundesliga losses and the shock ‘nada mas‘ declaration of coach Lucien Favre, interim boss Andre Schubert – previously in charge of Paderborn, St Pauli and the Gladbach’s Under 23s – did not take long to perform triage, tend to the wounds and have everyone raring to go again.
Thanks to two wins in a week ( 4-2 at home to Augsburg and 3-1 in Stuttgart), the Foals can breathe easily once more and while director of sport, Max Eberl is rumoured to have Augsburg boss, Markus Weinziel on top of his short-list, Schubert appears determined to complicate matters.
5. Schalke to Draxler: We’re not missing you.
So much for the many Schalke fans who were complaining long and loud about the sale last month of creative wunderkind Julian Draxler to Wolfsburg.
With the Royal Blues enjoying their best start to a Bundesliga campaign for 20 years – currently sitting pretty in third-place following four straight wins – and the youthful attacking midfield trio of Leon Goretzka, Max Meyer and Leroy Sane blazing a fiery and incisive trail, all the talk on the terraces of Draxler of being irreplaceable and the club lacking ambition suddenly has dried up, replaced by a 100 per cent wall of sound backing.
One of the main reasons for the Gelsenkirchener to be cheerful is the brilliant form on the right-flank of Sane. The irrepressible 19-year-old has scored in each of their last three games and already looks a gem.