1. Bayern: frustrated and not too magnanimous.
Held to a goalless draw at Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday night, Bayern’s players – and particularly Philipp Lahm, Manuel Neuer and Arturo Vidal – were not at all pleased to have dropped their first points of the season, allocating much of their post-match to time ferociously criticising the home side for their negative approach.
But can Armin Veh’s side really be blamed for putting almost everyone behind the ball and defending as though their lives depended on it? Air rifles against a nuclear power is no fair fight; an expansive Eintracht would have been taken apart.
For all their possession (74 per cent) and massed ranks of star names, Bayern still only managed two shots more on goal than the Frankfurter and that should be a cause for concern for Pep Guardiola.
“Frankfurt did an excellent job of defending deep,” declared the Bayern coach.
“We probed a lot and had enough chances to win. We should have been in a position to find the answers. Football does not always work out as you want it to. ”
2. The curse of the ‘irregular’ goal strikes again.
Modernists pushing for the introduction of a video referee will be even more convinced of the strength of their argument as a result of Wolfsburg’s controversial first goal in their 2-1 home victory over Leverkusen on Saturday.
Incensed that match referee Manuel Gräfe saw fit to ignore an offside flag in the build-up to Nicklas Bendtner’s 34th minute finish, Leverkusen director of sport Rudi Völler immediately left his seat to make his feelings known to the fourth official and was even more apoplectic when Gräfe issued a post-match mea culpa.
“It’s an absolute injustice,” stormed Völler. “I’ve asked Grafe why he took the mrisk of overruling his assistant. He can’t just be 90 or 95 per cent sure. He has to be 100 per cent certain.”
In a recent Sky Deutschland survey, 22 of Germany’s 32 professional clubs said they supported greater technology-based decision-making.
3 Geis pays the price.
Young Schalke midfielder, Johannes Geis, will be watching from the stands for the next month or so after receiving a five-match domestic ban for his brutal red card foul last week on Gladbach winger, Andre Hahn, an ‘over the top’ challenge which left the latter with a fractured tibia and a torn cartliage in his left-knee.
While Geis, a big money signing from Mainz in the summer, could not have been more remorseful and apologetic, the damage is done and certain sections of the media – such as Bild who dubbed him a ‘Kneebreaker‘ – will not easily let it lie.
The incident would have reminded older Gladbach fans of an infamous match back in
August 1981, when their star wide-man Ewald Lienen was on the receiving end of a two-footed assault by Werder Bremen defender, Norbert Siegmann, who incredibly was only booked. Siegmann called it an ‘everyday’ foul. The gaping hole in Lienen’s thigh said otherwise.
4. Hoffenheim and the ‘Baby Trainer’.
No one could accuse Hoffenheim of lacking bravery in their decision to appoint Julien Nagelsmann as their head coach for next season.
Due to become the youngest boss in the history of the Bundesliga when he steps into the shoes of current caretaker, Huub Stevens, in six months’ time, the 28-year-old Nagelsmann certainly has a good reputation on the German circuit, delivering the goods with Hoffenheim’s youth team – leading them to the national title in 2014 and the runners-up spot last season – recently reported to be on a short-list for a role at the Bayern Munich academy and known to be very close to present-day Dortmund coach, Thomas Tuchel.
Forced to hang up his boots at the age of just 20 because of chronic knee trouble, Nagelsmann played under Tuchel for Augsburg’s reserves and it was TT who launched his coaching career, initially using him as an analyst of the opposition.
5. Munich enjoys a knock-out clean sweep
The second round of the German Cup proved especially rewarding for clubs from the Bavarian capital, with Bayern comfortably seeing off Wolfsburg 3-1 at the VW Arena, second-tier strugglers 1860 – who, up until that point, had not won a league game all season – pulling off a shock 2-1 win at top-flight Mainz and the regional league part-timers of Unterhaching
handing out a 3-0 lesson to 2. Bundesliga promotion hopefuls, RB Leipzig.
Other noteworthy performances included Dortmund’s 7-1 drubbing of Stefan Effenberg’s Paderborn and the giantkilling feat of third division Erzgebirge Aue, whose 1-0 victory over Bundesliga outfit, Eintracht Frankfurt, earned them a much-needed 527,000 euro prize money windfall.