Team P W D L F A W D L F A GD PTS
1 Bayer Leverkusen 12 4 0 2 15 6 4 1 1 14 8 15 25
2 TSG Hoffenheim 12 5 1 0 14 3 3 0 3 17 14 14 25
3 Bayern Munich 12 3 2 1 18 14 4 1 1 9 4 9 24
4 Hamburg 12 5 1 0 11 5 2 1 3 8 14 0 23
5 Hertha Berlin 12 3 2 1 9 5 3 1 2 7 10 1 21
6 Schalke 04 12 3 2 1 8 4 2 3 1 10 6 8 20
7 Wolfsburg 12 5 1 0 17 4 0 3 3 9 14 8 19
8 Cologne 12 3 1 2 5 6 3 0 3 8 8 -1 19
9 Borussia Dortmund 12 1 5 0 10 7 3 1 2 10 11 2 18
10 Werder Bremen 12 3 2 1 17 11 1 3 2 11 12 5 17
11 VfB Stuttgart 12 4 0 2 12 7 1 2 3 6 10 1 17
12 Eintracht Frankfurt 12 1 2 3 6 10 2 2 2 9 9 -4 13
13 Hannover 96 12 3 2 1 12 7 0 1 5 2 15 -8 12
14 Borussia M'gladbach 12 2 0 4 7 10 1 1 4 5 12 -10 10
15 Karlsruhe 12 2 1 3 6 10 1 0 5 6 13 -11 10
16 VfL Bochum 12 1 3 2 9 10 0 3 3 5 9 -5 9
17 Arminia Bielefeld 12 1 2 3 8 11 0 3 3 4 11 -10 8
18 Cottbus 12 0 1 5 4 12 1 2 3 2 8 -14 6

  Bundesliga Wrap: Week 13 - 18/11/2008

Hannover v Bochum – 1-1

The Friday night fixture saw a bottom of the table dog fight between two clubs who have both started the new Bundesliga season in disappointing form. Hannover went into this vital home match coming off a loss to surprise packets Cologne, while Bochum, lying in the relegation zone with just 9 points, came off a 0-0 draw at home to struggling Werder Bremen.

In front of a disappointing crowd of just 30,000, Hannover struggled in front of goal with the final ball often missing the target. In a boring game, Hannover opened the scoring in the 62nd minute thanks to former Bayern Munich man Jan Schlaudraff. Just 4 minutes later, Bochum pegged back the opening goal thanks to a horrendous mistake by stand-in goalkeeper Florian Fromlowitz. Despite both teams having chances to take the lead in the final 25 minutes, the game ended in an uninspiring 1-1 draw.

Hannover remains in the bottom half of the table in 13th place, while Bochum moved out of the relegation zone thanks to goal difference. Next week, Hannover faces a tricky task away to a desperate Eintracht Frankfurt side, while Bochum is at home to a high-flying Hertha Berlin side.

Hertha Berlin v Hamburg – 2-1

This match saw 4th v 5th with Hamburg travelling to the capital to take on a rejuvenated Hertha Berlin team. Berlin came into the match off the back of a surprise win over Hoffenheim while Hamburg beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at home.

Hamburg got off to a flying start with a goal from Croatian star Mladen Petric in the 12th minute. They dominated the early stages of the game with more shots on goal and more possession then their hosts. However, Hamburg could not maintain this pressure and Berlin came back into the match just after half-time with a match winning 4 minute burst. Brazilian Cicero opened his sides scoring with a goal just one minuted after the break. Only 3 minutes later, Berlin took the lead thanks to half time substitute Valeri Domovchiyski. Hamburg was unable to equalise and lost the game 2-1.

Berlin now sits just 4 points off the summit of the Bundesliga while Hamburg is just a point behind them.

Borussia Dortmund v Eintracht Franfurt – 4-0

72,000 passionate fans filled Signal-Iduna Park in Dortmund to see mid-table Dortmund take on a 12th placed Eintracht Frankfurt side. Borussia Dortmund went into their home fixture off the back of an away loss to Hamburg while a struggling Frankfurt side had a draw at home to 2006/07 champions VfB Stuttgart.

In a game totally dominated by a rampant Dortmund team, Neven Subotic scored a double to help his team to an easy 4-0 win. Subotic opened the scoring in just the 5th minute to give his side a 1-0 lead. The former Karlsruhe playmaker, Tamas Hajnal, doubled his sides lead in the 19th minute. Just 8 minutes later Subotic scored his second, and his team’s third, to give Dortmund an unassailable lead. Centre-back Felipe Santana put the nail in the coffin in the 69th minute to complete the rout. Dortmund had 28 shots, 11 of which were on target compared to a terrible Frankfurt side who only managed 11 shots the whole game. Frankfurt’s manager, Friedhelm Funkel, must now be under immense pressure to improve his sides plummeting form.

Dortmund rise to 6th position, just one place from European competition, while Frankfurt remains in a lowly 12th place.

Hoffenheim v Wolfsburg – 3-2

The most exciting match of the weekend saw Hoffenheim at home to an inconsistent Wolfsburg side coming off a 3-0 win over Energie Cottbus.

Bosnian starlet Vebad Ibisevic opened the scoring for the home side in the 22nd minute, but their lead didn’t last long with Wolfsburg warrior Grafite scoring just 5 minutes later. In a match where Hoffenheim dominated possession, they grabbed the lead back in the 37th minute thanks to Brazilian Carlos Eduardo. But, once again, Hoffenheim were unable to hold onto their lead for any stretch of time with Edin Dzeko scoring 3 minutes later to level things up at 2-2. In an open, attacking game, Hoffenheim regained the lead after half time with Obasi scoring the winner.

Incredibly, after 13 rounds, Hoffenheim remain in 2nd place in the Bundesliga table. It is now entirely plausible that Hoffenheim could end up in the UEFA Champions League, or perhaps even win the league. Wolfsburg move back down to 9th place but they are only 4 points from Europe.

Stuttgart v Arminia Bielefeld – 0-0

Stuttgart went into this home game expecting to grab all 3 points and to cling to any hope of winning the title they won just two seasons ago.

In an utterly boring and dull game, Stuttgart dominated possession but they were unable to break down a resilient Bielefeld defence. Stuttgart remains in 11th place and is now facing a long, hard season with the prospect of not qualifying for Europe. They have now got only 2 points in the last 4 games and are in serious danger of remaining in mid-table mediocrity. Armin Veh’s job is no longer stable.

Bayer Leverkusen v Schalke – 2-1

The match of the round saw top of the table Leverkusen take on the Royal Blues of Gelsenkirchen.

In an entertaining game, Bayer Leverkusen recorded an ultimately comfortable home win against one of the title challengers. Lanky young German striker Stefan Kiebling opened the scoring for Leverkusen in the 30th minute. Just 11 minutes later, another bright young German prospect, Patrick Helmes, doubled the advantaged for the home side. Leverkusen had 7 shots on target compared to a lacklustre Schalke who had just one shot on goal. Kevin Kuranyi, the German national team outcast, scored a consolation goal for the Royal Blues.

Schalke have now dropped down to 8th position, below their bitter local rivals Borussia Dortmund. Meanwhile, Leverkusen remains in top position on top of the Bundesliga table, ahead of TSG Hoffenheim on goal difference. Both teams now face easy tasks against weak teams. Stuttgart travel down to a terrible Bielefeld team. Schalke are at home to a struggling Gladbach side.

Energie Cottbus v Karlsruhe – 1-0

Well this game certainly doesn’t get the pulses racing, save for the fact that our own Jesus look-a-like, Joshua Kennedy, started another game for Karlsruhe. His team are really struggling at the moment, languishing in the relegation zone after an extremely successful season last year where they almost qualified for Europe. However, this year they have really struggled for goals.

This game ended 1-0 to the home side, leaving Karlsruhe in the relegation zone and in grave danger of going down to the Bundesliga II. Cottbus sealed the game in the 80th minute thanks to Branko Jelic. In fairness, Karlsruhe dominated the game. They had 20 shots and dominate the possession 62-38%. They should have won the game.

Josh Kennedy was substituted in the 69th minute after failing to score again. He has now gone hours without scoring for Karlsruhe and his form must be worrying for his club coach and for Socceroos manager Pim Verbeek.

Borussia Monchengladbach v Bayern Munich – 2-2

This match up was once the biggest game in German football, when Monchengladbach was a giant of European football. Since their glory days, Gladbach have steadily declined to the point where they are now a yo-yo team.

Bayern Munich grabbed a 2-0 lead away to Gladbach with Luca Toni and Franck Ribery grabbing Bayern’s goals. With 10 minutes to go it looked as though Bayern would get yet another 3 points. However, a two minuted burst levelled the game up.

Bayern remain in 3rd place while Gladbach are two places out of the relegation zone.

Werder Bremen v Cologne 3-1

Werder Bremen went into this game needing a win to keep their hopes of a title fight alive. And win they did.

In a comfortable game for Bremen, they easily accounted for a lacklustre Cologne side 3-1. Diego opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 15th minute while strong centre-back Naldo and Portuguese striker Hugo Almeida rounded off the scoring for Bremen. Novakovic got a consolation goal for Cologne, with Roda Antar once again failing to score.

Bundesliga II

Ingolstadt v Nurnberg 0-3

Nurnberg continued their push for promotion back to the Bundesliga with a 3-0 win over Ingolstadt. However, Australian youngsters Matthew Spiranovic and Dario Vidosic failed to even make the bench for the Nurnberg.


Beautiful Bundesliga- Early Season Wrap:
'High-Flying Hoffenheim, Woeful Werder' - 12/11/2008

Well, about a quarter of a magnificent Bundesliga season has gone past us already so, naturally, we thought what better time than now to do a ‘quarter-season’ wrap. From the exploits of Hoffenheim who have grabbed the headlines across Europe for all the right reasons, to the performances of a sometimes brilliant, always inconsistent Werder Bremen team, and the worrying form of German giants, Bayern Munich.

First of all, has this been the best Bundesliga season in years? We are well over the 3 goals per game mark which common for a league which consistently tops the goals-per-game ratio in Europe. Secondly, the unexpected performances of a few teams, for the right or wrong reasons, has made this season the most unpredictable to date. Over the past 10 years all but 3 championships were won by Bayern Munich (those teams being Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund and Stuttgart), but there is renewed faith that a new team can win this year.

This year, Bayern have had a stuttering start to the season. Otmar Hitzfeld was replaced at the end of last year by the contentious signing of former German striker and German national team manager, Jurgen Klinnsman. His appointment has not been welcomed by everyone, with some people questioning his tactical nous, and managerial experience. Critics of Klinnsman inside Germany are plentiful. After Germany’s successful run in their home World Cup in 2006 (they made the semi-finals, eventually losing out to eventual champions Italy), it was revealed that Joachim Low, the current German national team manager, was the real tactical mind behind the scenes. He has also brought in a whole new training regime to the Bayern team, something which, judging by recent results has not been too successful.

Bayern started with 2 draws against Hamburg and Dortmund, and then conjured up a 4-1 thumping of Hertha Berlin at home. They then lost 2 straight league games against Werder Bremen (a 5-2 thumping at home) and away at Hannover. Since then they have won 5 and drawn one game in the league, but this has not stopped the criticism levelled at Klinnsman. It is fair to say that Bayern have never looked comfortable this season with many come from behind wins and nail-biting endings. They were leading 3-1at home to Arminia Bielefeld, but ending up drawing 3-3 after Bielefeld scored 2 goals in the last 10 minutes. Wolfsburg travelled to the Allianz Arena a few weeks later and led 2-0 at half time only for Bayern to come back and win 4-2. Whilst it has been a rocky start to the new season for Klinnsman and Bayern, they are still getting the points they need to carve out a title-challenge. But can they still win the league, especially with the surprise packets of Europe, Hoffenheim on top of the league? Time will only tell...

The story of the Bundesliga season, and perhaps in Europe, is without a doubt that of TSG Hoffenheim. To give some context to this amazing story, we need take a trip back to 1990. Dietmar Hopp, former Hoffenheim youth player, and co-founder of software firm SAP bought the club. In 1990, Hoffenheim were a lowly amateur side playing in effectively the eighth-division of the German football system (the Baden-Württemberg A-Liga to be precise). Since then, they have flown up the German football system to the point where this season was their first in the top division. The club are now building a brand new 30,000 seat arena and people are beginning to believe that they can actually qualify for European competitions, or even win the Bundesliga.

There are people who are totally against the influence of Hopp on the team, and say that without his investment they would still be in the lower divisions of German football. So much so, some renegade Dortmund fans were caught and punished for chanting death threats against Hopp. However, the main achievement of this team is the style of their play and their position on the table. Hoffenheim can lay claim to playing the most exciting brand of football in Germany at the moment, taking over from a struggling Werder Bremen team (more on that later). So much so that when these two teams met back in September, the final score was 5-4 in a game that will go down in Bundesliga history as one of the best in history. Only two weeks ago Hoffenheim played a top-of-the-table match against a strong Hamburg side. Hoffenheim scored 3 times in 30 minutes and totally blew Hamburg away with crisp, one touch, attacking football. Can they keep their title challenge up? Will they qualify for Europe in their first season in the Bundesliga? Like Bayern, time will only tell...

And the most inconsistent team award goes to.....Werder Bremen! Bremen is renowned for their free-flowing, attacking football but a defence that’s as leaky as a sieve. They are currently sitting 10th in the league, sitting below newly promoted Cologne. However, they have the 3rd best attack (28 goals) and the worst defence (23 goals) in the Bundesliga. There was a lot of transfer talk over the future of Brazilian star Diego which has destabilised the club. He is, without a doubt, their best player. Without him, Bremen looks flat in the midfield and rarely looks their same free-flowing selves. The most stunning result of the season was when Bremen travelled south to Munich and thumped the defending champions 5-2 (after leading 5-0), and then beat surprise-packet Hoffenheim 5-4 before being beaten away 1-4 by Stuttgart. A few weeks later Bremen lost a mid-week game 0-2 to Bayer Leverkusen at home, and then thumped Hertha Berlin (riding high in 5th place). Just a week later they drew 0-0 away to lowly Bochum. Bremen are now 8 points from top spot after 12 games, and just 8 points from the relegation zone. Can they challenge once more for the title, or will they remain in mid-table? As ever, time will tell.

But what of the rest? Well, newly promoted Cologne has impressed as have giants Borrusia Dortmund, Hertha Berlin, Bayer Leverkusen and a born-again Hamburg team under the tutelage of former Tottenham manager Martin Jol. Stuttgart, 2006/07 champions, have stumbled in their chase for the Bundesliga crown, same with last year’s surprise-packet Karlsruhe (home of Jesus look-a-like Josh Kennedy) and Frankfurt have faltered this year as well, with a lot of pressure being heaped upon trainer Friedhelm Funkel.

Who will win the most tightly contested Bundesliga in years? Well, time will only tell. But what we know now, is that the Bundesliga is arguably the most exciting league in Europe.


Lehmann may quit in ref protest

Former Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann says he may retire from football in protest at the standard of refereeing in Germany's Bundesliga.

The Stuttgart goalkeeper was unhappy after picking up his third booking for dissent this season.

"I may as well not bother playing in future. I didn't even say anything nasty to the referee," he said.

"Surely there are better ones. Things can't go on like this. It's sad for the whole of the Bundesliga."
During the summer the 39-year-old returned to playing in Germany after five years playing in England.

"These are referees for us and not for the two people in the stands who are writing a report about him," he said after his booking in Sunday's 2-2 draw with Eintracht Frankfurt.

"What that man did was unbelievable," he said.

"A Frankfurt player feigned an injury so we could not counter-attack.

"The referee said he had to stop play for the injury and then the man stands up and doesn't even leave the field to be treated.

"I told the referee, 'Look! There he goes!' and he shows me a yellow card - incredible."