26th October, 2014
Leaders Bayern Munich dropped their first Bundesliga points for over a month after being held to a goalless draw at second-placed Borussia Moenchengladbach in Sunday’s high-tempo clash.
Gladbach threatened to inflict a first defeat of the season on Pep Guardiola’s Bavarians despite less than 30 percent possession, counter-attacking relentlessly.
The hosts’ tactics were to soak up Bayern’s pressure and hit the league leaders on the counter in an intense game and it nearly paid off.
Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had a busy night to deny Gladbach forwards Raffael, Max Kruse and Patrick Herrmann, while at the other end Munich’s David Alaba hit the post in the first-half.
Poland striker Robert Lewandowski also fired wide for Bayern while replacement Claudio Pizarro squandered a chance in the dying stages.
Bayern drew for only the third time this season after six consecutive wins — including Tuesday’s stunning 7-1 thrashing of Roma in the Champions League — but stay four points clear of second-placed Gladbach.
Earlier, VfL Wolfsburg moved up to third after inflicting Mainz’s first defeat of the season on their guests with a 3-0 win.
Goals by Naldo, Ivan Perisic and Daniel Caliguri gave the hosts the three points.
Wolfsburg — for whom Belgian playmaker Kevin de Bruyne was outstanding — took the lead when Brazilian defender Naldo headed home from a corner after only 15 minutes.
Mainz’s goalkeeper Loris Karius denied De Bruyne when he pushed the former Chelsea midfielder’s fierce strike over the bar on 58 minutes, but Wolves’ second goal came from the resulting corner.
Naldo was again left unmarked in the area and he headed on for Croatian international Perisic to guide his header past Karius from close range.
Caliguri made sure of the win on 87 minutes when he tapped home a cross by Belgium Under-21 international Junior Malanda.
“You could see that we were really on top of things. Mainz started strongly, but we showed our potential,” enthused Wolves’ coach Dieter Hecking.
“The way we played, Mainz couldn’t take anything off us and they were really a class below us.”
On Saturday, Borussia Dortmund’s horror run of domestic league results continued as a 1-0 defeat — their fourth successive loss — by Hanover 96 left them 15th and just a point above the relegation places.
They have the daunting task of facing Bayern next Saturday in Munich.
Dortmund’s terrible domestic form is in stark contrast to their Champions League campaign, where they top their group with three straight wins after Wednesday’s impressive 4-0 victory at Galatasaray.
In a bid to bring their European form to the Bundesliga, Dortmund even had special permission to face Hanover in their Champions League strip, but to no avail.
Roberto di Matteo failed to pick up his third straight win as Schalke 04 coach on Saturday evening as the Royal Blues lost 1-0 at ten-man Bayer Leverkusen in the battle between two of Germany’s Champions League sides.
Turkey midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu settled the matter with a superbly-struck free-kick on 53 minutes although the hosts suffered a blow with the loss of German international midfielder Stefan Reinartz for three months after fracturing an eye socket.
Bottom side Werder Bremen sacked coach Robin Dutt on Saturday, less than 24 hours after his side’s 1-0 defeat at home to Cologne.
The 49-year-old is the third Bundesliga coach casualty this season after Mirko Slomka (from Hamburg) and Jens Keller (Schalke 04).
Bremen’s Under-23 coach Viktor Skripnik has been appointed as caretaker coach, with ex-Germany midfielder Torsten Frings during the search for Dutt’s successor.