The second half of the German Bundesliga season started with a bang this past weekend.
Round 18 of 34 had plenty of high drama in store. It also included many goals, which the league is most known for, along with its full stadiums and fantastic atmosphere.
The round opened of Friday, when Schalke 04 took on Eintracht Frankfurt and the team from the country’s banking metropolis came up with a 1-0 victory, which put them into third place for the time being. Eintracht’s talismanic striker Alex Meier scored the goal toward the end of the first half.
On Saturday, FC Augsburg came from behind to defeat VfL Wolfsburg 2-1 and thus move past them in the table.
Meanwhile, FC Ingolstadt beat Hamburger SV 3-1 in a relegation six-pointer, that many had predicted to end scoreless beforehand.
Bottom club Darmstadt 98 was hammered 6-1 at home, by 1.FC Cologne, a result that boosted the visitor’s’ European dreams.
League leaders Bayern Munich defeated Werder Bremen 2-1, in a match that the Bavarians seemingly had under control, but almost dropped points in the end.
Bayern’s only serious current title challengers RB Leipzig came from behind to beat ten-men TSG Hoffenheim 2-1. The latter team had been undefeated until then. The controversial club from Saxony managed to stay within touching distance of top spot with the win.
Their coach Ralph Hasenhüttl was quoted as saying, that they had finally avoided relegation (despite the fact that they are already 27 points away from the bottom-three).
The lone Saturday evening match was between the two struggling giants Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Mönchengladbach. They finished third and fourth the last two seasons and are quite far below that this time. Nonetheless, they put on quite a show in the match.
Leverkusen went 2-0 up before halftime. (Mexican star Chicharito Hernandez ended a long goal drought by scoring that second goal.) In the second half, Gladbach came roaring back to win 3-2. According to the FS2 commentators, that team had only scored three goals away from home in the entire first half of the Bundesliga season!
Round 18 came to an end on Sunday, as two teams within reach of third place (Hertha BSC Berlin and Borussia Dortmund) failed to win their games, thus leaving Frankfurt there for the week. Hertha lost 2-1 at SC Freiburg, while Dortmund’s early goal vs. Mainz was cancelled out by a late one from the latter team, for the 1-1 final score.
The second half of the Bundesliga season got off to a promising start. Let’s hope for more of that in the coming weeks and months!