Matchday 13 of this season’s German Bundesliga promised plenty of action ahead of last weekend and it more than delivered.
The two fixtures that stood out were the “Ruhrpott-Derby” between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04, the biggest local rivalry in the league, as well as Borussia Mönchengladbach against Bayern Munich, which is arguably Germany’s only true “Klassiker”.
Nonetheless, we have to start with the Friday night game as always. It had plenty of appeal of its own, featuring the two promoted sides from last season’s Bundesliga 2. Hannover 96 and VfB Stuttgart do not sound, look or play like they only just returned to the top-flight however.
They both occupy safe midtable places at the moment and have proven that they belong.
Yet, Stuttgart has shown two different versions of themselves so far, one in home games and the other in away matches. The 1-1 draw they secured at Hannover was the first point gained on their travels this season.
On Saturday afternoon, the Ruhrpott-Derby became an instant classic. It saw Dortmund take a 4-0 lead inside the first 25 minutes, while Schalke answered with four strikes of their own in the last half hour to get an incredible final score of 4-4.
RB Leipzig took advantage of the Royal Blues not winning and overtook them in second place, after a 2-0 victory over Werder Bremen of their own.
SC Freiburg showed it had life in the fight against relegation, by beating Mainz 05 2-1.
Meanwhile, Bayer Leverkusen landed on a European place after their 1-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt and FC Augsburg came from behind to defeat VfL Wolfsburg 2-1.
On Saturday evening Gladbach beat a quite injury-plagued Bayern side 2-1.
On Sunday, Hamburg showed plenty of life near the bottom of the table, as they demolished TSG Hoffenheim 3-0, something which 1.FC Cologne lacked in their 2-0 defeat to Hertha BSC Berlin.
With only two points from 13 games, the Bundesliga 1 lights are slowly but surely going out in Germany’s fourth-largest city. Yet the league stays exiting everywhere else, including at the very top.