Title chasing RB Leipzig hosted Champions League hopefuls Hoffenheim in the clash of the Bundesliga high flyers on Saturday afternoon. Whilst the hosts knew victory was necessary to keep the pressure on Bayern, they came up against Nagelsmann’s side who were Europe’s last remaining unbeaten outfit.
After 16 games played, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim remains the only unbeaten team in Bundesliga. Apart from having the youngest coach ever in the German top flight, what is so special about the side from Southern Germany?
Borussia Dortmund finished the first part of the season in disappointing fashion. The Schwarzgelben scored three consecutive draws in the Bundesliga before going into the winter break, confirming that they are still heavily struggling with the losses of Mats Hummels, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Ilkay Gündoğan. Yet the departure of these three superstars has not solely caused Dortmund’s recent issues.
Eleven wins, three draws and two defeats. RB Leipzig have surprised many spectators and pundits with their successful run in the Bundesliga so far. After explaining their football philosophy in a previous article, we now examine a few successful displays in recent months.
When a bull is furiously running through the prairie, the earth is shaking. The fauna is on the alert. Everyone knows that a bull is an unstoppable force of nature once he has picked up pace. It is not surprising that a team associated with the image of that animal tries to emulate the bull’s fierceness. It is not surprising that a team with the ambition to become the next big player in German football tries to establish a catchy identity.
Bayern produced their best performance of the season to thrash a weak RB Leipzig in the most eagerly-anticipated match of the now-passed Hinrunde. Ancelotti’s side skilfully handled the visitors’ pressing, which had an off-day lacking several features which define their excellent success so far. Sadly, the game was practically over by the 30th minute, after Forsberg was dismissed for a challenge on Lahm while an excellent Bayern were already two ahead. Therefore, the analysis focuses largely on the first half of football.
In what is considered the Bundesliga blockbuster Borussia Dortmund were able to secure a 1-0 win over Bayern Munich. Thomas Tuchel’s side scored an early goal and protected the lead to the end, despite Bayern’s continuous control after 25 minutes.
RB Leipzig continued their exceptional unbeaten start to the season with an away win at the Volkswagen Stadium. They felled a Wolfsburg team who join the list of teams who failed to cope with the intensity of Hasenhüttl’s side.
Roger Schmidt’s Leverkusen hosted Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund at the BayArena on Saturday evening. The clash pitted two of the more progressive tacticians in world football against each other with what many consider to be similarly talented squads. Leverkusen were searching for their first consecutive league wins of the season whilst Dortmund were looking for their 4th consecutive league win.
After Dortmund’s issues were clear to see in their opening win against Mainz, they were completely exposed by RB Leipzig. The pressing of the hosts gave them full control over the match for large periods in what was a disappointing performance for Tuchel’s side.