The Week Before
There was some major shake-up around German football and the Bundesliga this week. The major news is the stepping down of Germany boss Joachim Low after the Euro tournament later this year. Low has been in charge of the German Men’s National team since July 2006.
The 58-year-old was Jurgen Klinsmann’s assistant at the 2006 World Cup, helping Germany to a third-place finish on home soil. Low first took Germany to the final of Euro 2008, then the semi-final of the 2010 World Cup (they collected Bronze), and a semi-final at the Euro 2012. After that, success came. Low won the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2017 Confederations Cup in Russia and in between, he took Germany to the semis of Euro 2016.
This was before an acrimonious exit from the 2018 World Cup and Germany has been unstable since then. The DFB setup had to change and Olivier Bierfhoff was never going to be the fall guy. Low is the manager with the most matches for Germany by a mile, but all good things come to an end.
More DFB news, Kicker continues to report that Thomas Muller and Mats Hummels will get recalls to the German national team.Although Low does not sound as optimistic as the news outlet. “I wish people would listen to me. When you’ve initiated a rebuild, you shouldn’t interrupt it under normal circumstances. I have neither opened nor closed any doors,” said Löw.
“Ahead of a tournament, I question everything. What do we want to achieve? What is our playing style? How can we make the team work? I’m making these considerations for the upcoming tournament, and then we’ll see.”
Yes yes, we get it but surely you have to call Thomas Muller after the remarkable season he had and he is having. Hummels is still the best German centre-back out there even if the gap may not be as much as when he was in his prime. Low needs to cut the crap and call them up.
The big news from the Bundesliga is the return of Ralf Ragnick to Schalke 04. The 62-year-old is available having stepped down from his role as head of sport and development at Red Bull last summer. He has two memorable spells with Schalke, winning them the DFB Pokal, the German Supercup, and taking a squad that included Raul and Manuel Neuer to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in 2011. (Straight to Bundesliga Matchday 25 recap)
Schalke is Still Shit
The links to Ralf Rangnick did not stop Schalke from losing in embarrassing fashion to Wolfsburg. Shkrodran Mustafi has not been the uplifting figure that Die Knappen hoped he would be. He opened the scoring with a ridiculous own goal in the 31st minute. He headed teammate Malick Thiaw’s attempted clearance past his own goalkeeper to put Wolfsburg ahead. Shortly after the resumption of the second half, Wout Weghorst scored his 16th goal of the Bundesliga campaign.
The assist came from the impressive Bote Baku and they combined for the third goal after Mustafi gave away possession around his box, this time Weghorst was squaring the ball for Ridle to score.
Josip Brekalo and Maximilian Philipp added a 4th and 5th to compound the misery. Oliver Glasner and Wolfsburg retain their 3rd position on the table. Schalke, on the other hand, has failed to win any of their last ten games since ending their almost record-equalling winless run against Hoffenheim in January and is heading towards a first relegation since 1988.
Maybe You Should Not Announce Your Coach is Heading to a League Rival
Since the announcement that Marco Rose will leave Borussia Monchengladbach at the end of the season and take over Borussia Dortmund, here are the results from Die Fohlen; Lost 1-2 to Mainz, lost 0-2 to Manchester City, lost 2-3 to RB Leipzig, lost 0-1 to Borussia Dortmund, lost 0-1 to Bayer Leverkusen, and this Friday, they lost 1-3 to Augsburg. Marcus Thuram led a brilliant counter-attack in the 37th minute before firing a shot that was deflected off target.
The referee pointed to the spot for a foul on Thuram by Raphael Framberger before he pulled the trigger. Lars Stindl missed the penalty as the captain lashed his effort wide. Heiko Herrlich introduced Ruben Vargas for the second half and in six minutes, the Swiss attacker powered in a header from Daniel Caliguri’s corner.
Gladbach found openings in the Augsburg defense as Thuram and Valentino Lazardo missed their chance. Oscar Wendt found some space inside the box and fed the incredible Florian Neuhaus who curled one in from just inside the box. His celebrations echoing game on. 8 minutes later and Marco Richter pounced on a stray ball in the Gladbach box and slid it in.
As Gladbach pressed for their equalizer they left space behind. Marco Richter carried the ball before sliding a pass for Andre Hahn to chip a delightful finish. Maybe next time do not announce that your head coach is heading to a rival club before the end of the season.
Bayern Swat Werder Bremen Aside & Borussia Dortmund See Off Hertha Berlin
Fresh from their comeback Der Klassiker win, Bayern Munich traveled to Bremen. The home side failed to make any significant impact against Die Rekordmeister. Bayern had them pinned in their own box but Bayern’s midfield was too sloppy in some instances. Thomas Muller flicked on a corner for Leon Goretzka to head in the first goal in the 22nd minute. Muller set up Serge Gnabry for the 2nd with a great left-footed pass after brilliant work from Robert Lewandowski in the build-up. The former Bremen man finished expertly.
Lewandowski would score goal number 32 for the season in the 67th minute and Bayern’s third but he could have had more. Lewy hit the post 4 times. Of course, Bremen scored an obligatory goal to deny Bayern their clean sheet. Through pass and Milot Rashica fired but Manuel Neuer saved Bayern only for Niclas Fullkrug to tap home. Bayern was in control of proceedings from the start and never seemed in any real danger in what was a thoroughly dominant performance.
Edin Terzic and Borussia Dortmund put the ambitious Hertha Berlin aside to continue their impressive form before Der Klassiker. BVB dominated the team from the capital city as Hertha did not have a shot on target and had only 32% of the ball. Marco Reus shined a volley wide and clipped the top of Jarstein’s goal. Jude Bellingham had the best chance to score but his effort was saved by the Norwegian keeper.
The opening goal did not come until the second half but it was worth the wait. Captain Marco Reus skipped midfield challenges in transition before laying the ball off for Julian Brandt. Brandt collected, calmed the ball, and powered a long-range strike only for Rune Jarstein to produce a howler-of-the-season contender.
Mahmoud Dahoud’s cross hit the crossbar to give Jarstein another scare. Substitute Giovanni Reyna hit the post when he tried to connect to fellow substitute Youssoufa Moukoko’s cross/shot. Jarstein pulled off a superb reaction save to deny Emre Can before Vladimir Darida got a straight red card for a rash challenge on Reus. Moukoko scored his first home goal for Dortmund in the dying minutes. The Old Lady moves closer to relegation as Dortmund climb to 5th on the Bundesliga table.
Disappointment For Bayer Leverkusen & RB Leipzig
Bayer Leverkusen faced Arminia Bielefeld and duo Ritsu Doan and Masaya Okugawa struck in a 2-1 win which lifted the East Westphalians out of the relegation zone on Matchday 25. Doan slid in ahead of Edmond Tapsoba to turn Christian Gebauer’s low cross in for his fourth goal of the season.
Their first shot and it was a goal. Leverkusen created chances and half chances but Bielefeld held on. Okugawa took his first Bundesliga goal well, slotting it behind Lennart Grill before Patrik Schick scored a consolation goal in the 85th minute. Dortmund moves ahead of Leverkusen on the Bundesliga table as the race for European spots heat up.
As soon as the second half started, Leipzig took the lead. Kluivert took the ball and cut inside to shoot, Trapp parried the shot away but Emile Forsberg slammed it home for the opening goal. Peter Gulacsi pulled off a spectacular stop to prevent Amin Younes after a fine Filip Kostic cross.
The new Shinji Okazaki Daichi Kamada scored the equalizer as Leipzig searched for their winner. Yussuf Poulsen, Christopher Nkunku, and Alexander Sorloth found Trapp hard to best as they settled for a point apiece. Frankfurt consolidated fourth place and they are two points ahead of Borussia Dortmund. Leipzig slipped to four points behind leaders Bayern Munich ahead of their meeting on matchday 27.
Stuttgart, Mainz and Union Berlin Record Wins
Robin Quaison scored the only goal of the game as Mainz beat Freiburg in what was a very scrappy game. Danny da Costa hit the woodwork for Mainz in the first half, the 14th time that has happened for Mainz this season as they put the pressure on Freiburg. Roland Sallai of Freiburg hit 2 efforts against the woodwork. Once on a counter and one from a free-kick. Robert Glatzel missed from point-blank range twice but the second time, fellow substitute Quaison was on hand to tap home. Finally, a goal for Mainz after 2 games without one.
Union came back from a goal down to beat FC Köln and keep their impressive campaign going. If they push hard, a European spot may be theirs. Stuttgart beat Hoffenheim as Pellegrino Matarazzo’s side maintained their mid-table standing. Sasa Kalajdzic scored a club-record 7th goal in a 7th consecutive game.
Silas Wamangituka’s burst ended up with a low cross for Kalajdzic but Kasim Adams turned it in for the first goal of the Baden-Württemberg derby. Adams’ 2nd own-goal. Wamangituka’s low cross in the second half this time found the Austrian striker to equal Fredi Bobic’s record from the 95/96 season and his 13th goal of the season.