Matchday Moments #3
Every Monday of the Bundesliga season we’ll look back on 8 of the biggest storylines from the past round of fixtures in the Bundesliga & Bundesliga 2. This time FREE for everyone!
Every Monday of the Bundesliga season we look back on 8 of the biggest storylines from the past round of fixtures in the Bundesliga & Bundesliga 2. Normally these are only available for Premium Subscribers, however to give everyone a taste, today’s newsletter will be free for everyone!
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Hertha’s Dynamic Front-Three Provide a Glimmer of Hope
On the surface it looks much the same for Hertha BSC this season.
Sandro Schwarz’s side were knocked out in the first round of the DFB-Pokal, haven’t won a match in the Bundesliga, and have a defence rife with individual errors.
With a trip to Dortmund next Saturday things won’t be getting easier, but something Schwarz can take comfort from is the danger being produced by his front-three.
Hertha BSC ended the match with 6 more shots and 5 more completed dribbles than their hosts, with the attacking trio of Chidera Ejuke, Wilfried Kanga, and Dodi Lukébakio posing a constant threat.
Their blistering pace and dynamic interplay made all three dangerous, but chief amongst them was the in-form Lukébakio.
After an unsuccessful loan with VFL Wolfsburg last season (1 goal in 19 Bundesliga matches) most expected Lukébakio to leave the Bundesliga over the summer, but Sandro Schwarz seems to have convinced the once €20m man to give it another go in the capital.
It’s a decision which this Hertha squad has undeniably profited off.
In 4 matches (in all competitions) Lukébakio has contributed 2 goals and 2 assists, and has had a direct-hand in all of Hertha’s Bundesliga goals. Keeping the 4-time Belgian international beyond the transfer deadline day will be crucial in Hertha’s hopes of retaining their topflight status for another season.
Simon Terodde & the Curse of Top Flight Football
Simon Terodde and the Bundesliga just isn’t meant to be.
In his last 5 seasons in the second tier Terodde has won 3 golden boots, 3 league titles, and scored 133 goals, but fans are still waiting for a glimpse of this output in the Bundesliga.
In 61 matches Terodde has scored 10 goals, and in his last 17 topflight fixtures (cross-seasonal) the former HSV, FC Köln, and VFB Stuttgart forward has failed to find the net.
This weekend was the latest example of his topflight curse in action.
Having scored every penalty he’s taken since signing for Schalke 04, Terodde was the obvious choice when the away side were handed a gift deep into first half stoppage time. What came next, though, may make manager Frank Kramer rethink his decision in the future.
Not only did Terodde miss the spot-kick, but the 34-year old was given a second chance after the VAR found Koen Casteels off his line, and promptly missed again.
With the game finishing 0:0 Schalke could have dearly used the goal to steer in their first win of the season, while, on a more personal note, Simon Terodde is once again showing why the Bundesliga is one or two steps above his pay-grade.
SC Paderborn Just Can’t Stop Scoring
SC Paderborn have constantly been a victim of their own goal scoring success.
The likes of Sven Michel, Philipp Klement, Streli Mamba, and Elias Kachunga all impressed at the Benteler-Arena before being snapped up by bigger names, but time and time again Paderborn proved more than capable of replacing the goalscoring output the following year.
This season looks no different.
After 5 matchdays SC Paderborn are top of the table with a remarkable 18 goals in 5 matchdays. It’s the best ever start to a Zweite Bundesliga season in SC Paderborn’s history, and if they can extend the 3.6 goals per game they are averaging over an entire season, they would shatter the previous 34-game record held by Hannover 96 in 2001/02 (93).
Werder Bremen Strike Late… Again!
We’ll touch on Dortmund in just a moment, but the tremendous performance from opponents SV Werder Bremen is also well-worth a mention.
Their come from behind victory may look fortunate on the surface, but the 3-points on Saturday were more than deserved by the run of play. With marginally more possession, twice as many shots, and almost 5 times as much xG, Bremen displayed a strong showing from start to finish.
Ole Werner’s side could have easily been level (or ahead) earlier in the match, but Bremen were ultimately rewarded for their persistence with 3 goals after the 89th minute.
This tenacity and resolve to keep fighting until the final whistle has become a bit of a trademark over the past 18 months.
In last season’s Zweite Bundesliga 72% of Bremen’s goals came in the second half of play, while 3 matches into this season Werner’s side have already scored 4 goals and rescued 4 points in the final 5 minutes of matches.
We always knew this would be one of the strongest promoted sides in memory, but the fact that Bremen are still unbeaten 3 matchdays into the season shows how well-equipped Werner’s side are to stay up.
Flat Dortmund Attack Underlines Gameweek 3 Woes
We said Dortmund would get a mention, and it’s for all the wrong reasons that they landed in this week’s round-up.
Despite scoring 2 goals, this was one of the worst attacking performances in Dortmund’s recent history. With just 0.29 xG, BVB registered their worst expected goals performance since the Bundesliga began recording the statistic in 2015.
Other than their goals, Dortmund registered just two shots on target, and not a single one of these came off the boot (or head) of new striking star, Anthony Modeste.
The Frenchman was a stand-out for Steffan Baumgart’s Köln last year - scoring 20 goals in the Bundesliga - and Dortmund are hoping he can be a short-term solution in the midst of Haller’s cancer diagnosis.
While it may be a bit early to call him a flop, if Dortmund continue to play how they do there doesn’t seem to be much value in Modeste’s presence.
No player in Europe’s top 5 leagues scored more headed goals than Modeste last season (10), however over the weekend Dortmund rarely looked to utilise his elite prowess in the air.
In 90 minutes BVB attempted just 3 open-play crosses into the box.
Instead of allowing Modeste to dominate in the air, BVB instead looked to involve the goal poacher in intricate 1-touch combination play, something which clearly doesn’t suit his unique qualities in the box.
Hats off to Union’s Dynamic Duo
We briefly mentioned Sheraldo Becker and Jordan Siebatcheu in the first issue of Matchday Moments, but the Berlin forwards deserve to earn a place again this gameweek for their performances on Saturday.
Becker, a fleet-footed and rapid sprinter, assisted Siebatcheu’s opener 32 minutes in, while the new American forward returned the favour 6 minutes later for Becker’s curving finish.
5 of Union’s 7 goals in the league and cup have now been either scored or assisted by Becker and Siebatcheu, while the win on Saturday puts Union second in the table behind FC Bayern, and Becker second in the scoring charts behind Thomas Müller.
The Zweite Bundesliga Makes No Sense!
The Zweite Bundesliga is the most wild, unpredictable, division in all of Europe, and this Saturday was yet another prime example of it.
Jahn Regensburg - unbeaten after 3 matchdays without a single goal conceded - hosted Karlsruher SC on Saturday.
The visitors had just registered their first victory of the season the previous week, but a terrible start, and the fact that Regensburg were unbeaten at home against the likes of 1. FC Nuremberg, 1. FC Köln, and SV Darmstadt - meant this match could really only go one way
Or so we thought, because at the final whistle a 6:0 scoreline stood in favour of the visitors!
It’s the biggest defeat in Regensburg’s second-tier history, and highlights the competitive nature of the division.
After 5 game weeks every side has lost at least once, and just 6 points separate Paderborn in first and SV Sandhausen in 14th. Whether it’s Arminia Bielefeld v Hansa Rostock or SV Sandhausen v Hamburg, you truly never know for certain who will come out on top.
The Best FC Bayern of all Time?
We’ll need more than a handful of words to dive deep into Julian Nagelsmann’s second season tactics, but it’s safe to say that FC Bayern’s start to the season has been phenomenal.
With 9 points, 15 goals for, and just 1 conceded, it’s no surprise to see the record champions building up steam in pursuit of their 11th consecutive Meisterschale.
Sunday night’s 7:0 scoreline marked their third victory on the bounce and the biggest home defeat in VFL Bochum’s history, but that wasn’t the only reason the match has gone down in the history books.
With a perfect record and a +14 goal difference, Julian Nagelsmann’s squad have produced the best start to a Bundesliga season in the topflight’s 60-year history.
Almost every player seems to be in-form and profiting off the fluid tactical outlook, with Bayern’s remarkable goalscoring highlighting the versatile threat within the squad.
Less than a 12th of the way through the season, 9 different players have already found the back of the net for the Bavarian Rekordmeister.
That’s more individual goal scorers than any other Bundesliga club has scored all together!
Excellent review of the weekend in the Bundesliga, Adam.