Week 27 saw Dortmund in record-equalling form as they hit six away from home to maintain their five-point lead at the top. Meanwhile, it is really close at the bottom with seven teams within four points of the drop zone.
KOLN 1 BORUSSIA DORTMUND 6
Lukas Podolski and company knew before this game on Sunday afternoon that they really are in a proper relegation battle. Just one point above the play-off spot and no realistic chance of improving on that with the unstoppable champions in town.
However, when Milivoje Novakovic scored with basically the first decent aerial ball he has received since his return from injury, we got to learn something new about Dortmund, how they respond to conceding first?
The answer is emphatically, they equalised before half-time when they exposed the home sides frailty from set-pieces with a Lukasz Piszczek header. Then a quickfire double from Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski took the game away from Kӧln and the home side fell away mentally late on to allow another three from Ilkay Gündogan, Kagawa and Ivan Perisic to equal the biggest away win in Bundesliga history.
The game it equalled? Kӧln 1 Borussia Dortmund 6 (1994)
SCHALKE 2 BAYER LEVERKUSEN 0
This result realistically closes the book on the race for Champions League qualification, with the result catapulting Schalke up to third in the process.
Leverkusen would have seen this as the perfect chance to close the gap on both their opponents and Borussia Mӧnchengladbach and force their way back into the race but defeat means that Leverkusen must claw back an 11 point deficit on Gladbach with just seven games remaining.
Not surprisingly, it was the ‘Dutch Destroyer’ Klaas-Jan Hunterlaar who is the man who may well have destroyed the Leverkusen upward push, grabbing a goal in each half to put him just one behind Mario Gomez in the scoring charts.
FREIBURG 2 KAISERSLAUTERN 0
A change of manager for bottom club Kaiserslautern, as they brought in Hadjuk Split coach, Krasimir Balakov, but no immediate change in results as Freiburg pretty much strolled to a crucial win that pulls them out of the bottom three and cuts their opponents seven points adrift of even a play-off place after a run of 17 games without a win.
It took just eight minutes into Karim Guede’s first start for him to become the fifteenth different scorer for Freiburg this season, more than any other club. Cedric Makiadi added a second to kill the game of for good after just 20 minutes.
BAYERN MUNICH 2 HANNOVER 1
That one goal lead that Mario Gomez has on Hunterlaar proved the deciding factor in this one as Bayern were able scrape over the line, surviving a nervy last quarter-hour against Hannover, whose aim to repeat their Europa League qualification of last term took a bitter blow as a result.
Toni Kroos gave Bayern a first half lead before Gomez added league goal number 23. Didier Ya Konan hit a quickfire reply but the home side were able to hold on to secure the win that keeps the gap at the top down to five points.
WERDER BREMEN 1 AUGSBURG 1
Augsburg again proved just how stubborn they have become, showing the same qualities that make them the only team to have taken points off Dortmund in the last ten games.
Werder Bremen looked to have negotiated a hard fought path to three points thanks to a first ever Bundesliga goal from young striker, Niclas Füllkrug midway through the second half. Despite this, Augsburg never gave up and salvaged a point in injury time thanks to captain, Paul Verhaegh.
MAINZ 1 HERTHA BERLIN 3
Since Christmas, Hertha Berlin had scored just two goals in nine, now under famously defensive boss, Otto Rehhagel. But they shook the shackles off scoring three in this one to claim a win that suddenly gives hope to their fading survival chances.
The capital city side must have been pinching themselves when Adrian Ramos scored just after the break, adding to Änis Ben-Hatira’s opener to give Hertha a two goal lead. Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting made sure that was short-lived with a goal before the hour mark, but Ramos added a third for the away side.
WOLSBURG 2 HAMBURG 1
It is now Hamburg in the relegation play-off spot, just one point ahead of Hertha, thanks to their fourth successive defeat and their fifth in six games. While the performances have been better than those that saw Michael Oenning out of a job by mid-September, a run like that has meant talk in the city has one again begun to contemplate the possibility that Hamburg might drop out of the top-flight for the first time.
Marcus Berg showed that Hamburg have the stomach for the fight when he responded to Mario Mandzukic opener but Marcel Schäfer hit his fourth long-range special of the campaign to grab the winner for Wolfsburg.
BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH 1 HOFFENHEIM 2
The fact that Gladbach are this far down the weekly review shows how they have dropped out of title contention in recent weeks, and this defeat drops them to fourth.
It was the first time in the Lucien Favre reign they lost having taking the lead, which they did through Marco Reus, and the first time in over a year that they lost a home game. Goals from Roberto Firmino and Boris Vukcevic turned the game for Hoffenheim but the greater blow was their midweek German Cup semi-final defeat to Bayern Munich which means that this incredible season will end trophyless.
Even worse, in an awful case of history repeating itself, Dante, who will be playing for Munich next term missed from the spot just like Lothar Mattheus did in 1984.
STUTTGART 1 NURNBURG 0
The third defeat in a row for Nürnburg only drops them to eleventh, but only four points separates them from lowly Hamburg, meaning they are looking over their shoulders. Meanwhile, the solitary goal from Cacau that separated the teams means that Stuttgart are now pressing for Europa League qualification themselves.
Tags: Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, Hamburg, Hertha Berlin, Shinji Kagawa