The penultimate round of games before the Bundesliga enters its winter shutdown proved dramatic as Bayer Leverkusen’s lead at the top fell to just a point after surprisingly failing to beat a spirited Hertha Berlin side at the Olympic Stadium.
Gustavo Ramos gave the home side a shock early lead after just eight minutes with a fine strike from just inside the penalty area. The capital club held on until the 76th minute, when Toni Kroos equalised with a fine half-volley from a corner. Things went from bad to worse for Hertha one minute later when Gojko Kacar was dismissed for a second bookable offence. With Bayer now overwhelming favourites, they looked to have snatched a win after 90 minutes when Burak Kaplan’s effort was wickedly deflected past the Hertha keeper, Jaroslav Drobny. Yet an unlikely denouement was to follow when Ramos powered home a header to earn a valuable point for the floundering Berlin club.
The result allowed a handful of clubs to make ground on the top-spot, most notably Bayern Munich – fresh from their historic win in Turin – who put five past Bochum in their joint-biggest league win so far under Louis van Gaal. The result was Bayern’s fifth straight win in all competitions and van Gaal’s side are now up to third, just two points from the league leaders. Schalke secured a massive win at Werder Bremen, ending Bremen’s 23-game unbeaten run and closing the gap on the leaders to one point. Kevin Kuranyi put Felix Magath’s side ahead early in the second half with his eighth goal of the season and Jan Moravek secured the points after 72 minutes.
Hamburg were able to end a dismal run of seven games without a win by piling the misery onto Nurnberg with a 4-0 trouncing – all the goals coming in the second half. The result leaves Nurnberg routed in the relegation zone. Both Wolfsburg and Hoffenheim will have to vastly improve in the second half of the season if they are to mount any kind of title challenge. The Wolves were well beaten at home by Borussia Dortmund in what was their fourth home defeat of the campaign. Wolfsburg ended last season unbeaten at the Volkswagen Arena, while the Hoff drew 1-1 at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.
Borussia Monchengladbach hosted Hannover 96 in a match that had innocuous mid-table clash written all over it, yet the game produced eight goals. Borussia triumphed 5-3 and the home side were always likely to take the points, maintaining at least a two-goal cushion for the majority of the game. Only goal difference is keeping Stuttgart out of the relegation zone after an injury time Eugen Polanski penalty earned a point for Mainz at the Stadion Am Bruchweg. Freiburg played out a 0-0 draw at Cologne whose last three matches have now ended goalless.
Friday December 11, 2009
Hertha Berlin 2-2 Bayer Leverkusen
Saturday December 12, 2009
Bochum 1-5 Bayern Munich
Borussia Monchengladbach 5-3 Hannover
Freiburg 0-0 Cologne
Hoffenheim 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Nurnberg 0-4 Hamburg
Werder Bremen 0-2 Schalke 04
Sunday December 13, 2009
Mainz 1-1 Stuttgart
Wolfsburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund