The end of Robin Dutt in Leverkusen did little to take the gloss of what happened in Dortmund where there was arguably the craziest and best 20 minutes of any game in any league across all of Europe this season.
BORUSSIA DORTMUND 4 STUTTGART 4
The last 20 minutes of this game was one of the greatest adverts for football you could ever get. That is not to take away from everything before that as it was a decent game by that point anyway. After Kevin Groβkruetz hit the bar and Vedad Ibisevic had a penalty appeal turned down, Shinji Kagawa grabbed a first half lead for the champions. Things looked wrapped up when Jakub Blaszczykowski made it two just after the break.
Cue that crazy last 20 minutes. Stuttgart grabbed a foothold in the game when a lovely timed move resulted with a ball played into the box to Georg Niedermeyer who, with his back to goal, flicked it round the corner for Ibisevic to slot home. Substitute Julian Schieber went on a mazy solo run five minutes later and it was 2-2. Schieber was hardly finished there though as practically straight afterwards he was put through again and he gave Stuttgart the lead.
Dortmund threw everything back up the other end to get back into the game and Mats Hummels delivered as he received the ball on the edge of the area and swept a wonderful shot into the corner of the net to bring Dortmund level. Just as it seemed certain that Stuttgart would take the lead once they had the equaliser, the same was true of Dortmund now. With five minutes left they delivered, low corner from Marcel Schmelzer, turned in by Ivan Perisic. Surely now the scoring was over? Not if Stuttgart had anything to do with it, in injury-time, Cristian Molinaro launched a ball deep into the area which Hummels jumped for and missed, getting into Schmelzer’s line of sight in the process. As a result the ball hit Schmelzer and fell kindly for Christian Gentner who stayed composed to salvage a point for the hosts.
BAYER LEVERKUSEN 0 FREIBURG 2
This home defeat for Robin Dutt’s side against the side he left at the end of last season not only put any realistic prospect of Champions League qualification beyond them but cost Dutt his job at the same time. Dutt may well have some reason to place a large deal of the blame on Gonzalo Castro as he gifted the lead to Freiburg by gifting the ball to Julian Schuster, before wasting possibly the best chance Leverkusen had in a game they dominated.
There was nothing anyone could do about the thunderbolt from Daniel Caligiuri that made it two though, confirming a fourth win in five which has lifted Freiburg away from the drop zone. Meanwhile, short-term stand in boss for Leverkusen, Sami Hyypia, will have a huge battle on his hands in what is an amazingly tight battle for Europa League.
NURNBURG 0 BARYERN MUNICH 1
With this game coming in between the two legs of the Champions League quarter-final, which with the final at the Allianz Arena has been the priority all year, it was all about getting through this one with the victory and taking advantage of the two points that Dortmund had dropped on Friday night.
That was particularly true when Jupp Heynckes’ lineup had several big names rested. It took them nigh-on 70 minutes but they managed in when Arjen Robben finally found a way past Raphael Schäfer. Late on, Almog Cohen found a way past Manuel Neuer, well his hands at least, as it hit his body and ricocheted off the post as Nürnburg almost grabbed an equaliser.
The gap is now just three points at the top with Dortmund hosting Munich on the post-Easter midweek matchday.
AUGSBURG 2 KOLN 1
When you have just one win in seven and have dropped down the league like a stone, going to Augsburg who are five games unbeaten (seven at home), is not preferable. It was to prove so as well. Ja-Cheol Koo was given too much space outside the area and fired the home side into the lead.
Lukas Podolski knew as half-time approached that Kӧln had shown nothing going forward up to that point so bought his side a penalty with good holdup play in the box. He slotted home an equaliser that should have given his side an undeserved level score line to react to after the break. However, Henrique Sereno gave away a penalty himself up the other end which Nando Rafael converted.
It was a blow that the visitors never recovered from, with Augsburg leapfrogging them in the process as Kӧln drop into the play-off spot leaving coach Stale Solbakken with nothing but what was basically the dreaded vote of confidence from president, Dr. Werner Wolf.
KAISERSLAUTERN 0 HAMBURG 1
A massive six pointer as Kaiserslautern knew that this was by far their best chance to end a run of 17 games without a win, knowing that if they managed it that they would close the gap between the two sides to just four points. In Hamburg’s favour though is the fact that Kaiserslautern have only scored 17 goals all season and once they were in the lead, thanks to some diabolical defending that Marcell Jansen took advantage of, it was a case of just keeping the clean sheet.
Things really are not going the way of Kaiserslautern and new boss Krasimir Balakov can, in essence, start the rebuilding programme for second tier football.
HANNOVER 2 BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH 1
To an extent, there are times where it looks like the ‘Gladbach players are already on summer holiday. In this one they only showed any really intent in the last few minutes after they had gone two goals down. As a result, Lucien Favre must be delighted that the gap they have over Hannover, who now sit in fifth, still stands at 10 points.
Didier Ya Konan and Mame Biram Diouf grabbed the goals for Hannover. Once the second went in, Havard Nordtveit scored immediately and they still had time to test Ron-Robert Zieler twice more. However, with form like this and only a 2-1 lead going into Hannover, where the home side are now unbeaten in 15 Bundesliga games, Athletico Madrid will be nervous on Thursday.
HERTHA BERLIN 1 WOLFSBURG 4
A fourth successive win for Felix Magath’s side means that they have catapulted themselves into the Europa League battle, only outside of the spots on goal difference. However, this was one win that, despite the convincing nature of the scoreline, was completely undeserved. Not only did they go behind but they were cut open at the back, almost at will. Levan Kobiashvili was the man that gave the Berlin side the lead but it was Adrian Ramos and in the second half, Pierre-Michel Lasogga who missed hatfuls of guilt edged chances.
Meanwhile, Wolfsburg showed what you can do with a little bit of ruthlessness up front. After Christoph Janker had put through his own net for the equaliser, two from Patrick Helmes (whose return to favour has coincided with the good run) and another from Mario Mandzukic scored three times the goals Hertha scored with about half of the chances.
HOFFENHEIM 1 SCHALKE 1
Following a disappointing 4-2 defeat at home to Athletic Bilbao, a result that almost certainly guarantees a Europa League exit, it seems that the most important thing at this stage of the season for Schalke is whether the great Raul will sign a contract extension. However, for Klaas-Jan Hunterlaar there is still the small matter of the goalscorers charts where his equalising penalty, after an earlier Sejad Salihovic penalty had given the hosts the lead, in this one took him level with Mario Gomez at the top on 23.
Meanwhile, the point Schalke grabbed through that late penalty puts further distance between themselves and ‘Gladbach, cementing a third position that would see them straight into the group stages of the Champions League.
WERDER BREMEN 0 MAINZ 3
The return of Claudio Pizarro was meant to be the boost that Bremen needed to return to form and, if not make a late Champions League charge, lead them to qualification for the Europa League. That may be so but his job is scoring goals, not stopping them at the other end.
Adam Szalai gave Mainz a first half lead before Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting replaced him at half-time and added two more to prove that Mainz are much more than a one man team with Mohamed Zidan left on the bench. On the plus side for Bremen, Cladio Pizarro did score at 2-0, only for it to be disallowed for handball, showing that his sharpness in front of goal is still there.
Tags: Bayer Leverkusen, Borussia Dortmund, Bundesliga, Robin Dutt, Stuttgart