Borussia Dortmund stayed top of the Bundesliga after surrendering a two-goal lead at Eintracht Frankfurt, but only just as champions FC Bayern Munich continued their resurgence under new coach Jupp Heynckes.
FOX Sports Asia takes a look at some of the talking points from Matchday 9.
Dortmund denied on day of landmarks
It was a day of landmarks for Dortmund on Saturday as Mario Gotze made his 100th appearance for BVB and 17-year old former Manchester City starlet Jadon Sancho became the first Englishman ever to play for the club.
— Mario&Ann-Kathrin✨? (@gotzmel) October 21, 2017
Injury-hit Dortmund were also unlucky not to mark their visit to Frankfurt with another landmark as they came close to a first win in several years at the Commerzbank Arena following three losses in their last three visits. It wasn’t to be, however, as Frankfurt keeper Lukas Hradecky saved Sancho’s late effort before Makoto Hasebe pulled off a miraculous goal-line clearance to deny Nuri Sahin.
Landmarks aside, Peter Bosz’s side have seen their early lead at the top of the table evaporate having dropped five points in their last two games and combined with their poor European form, the Dutchman now has a mini crisis on his hands just a few weeks after all appeared to be going swimmingly.
Heynckes not entirely happy
With three wins in a week and Bayern now level on points with leaders Dortmund, it would appear that Bayern’s mini crisis is over following the return of Jupp Heynckes to the Allianz Arena hotseat. That doesn’t tell the whole story though as Heynckes was critical of his players at the weekend, calling their first-half display against Hamburg ‘arrogant’ before praising them for a much better showing in the second period as Corentin Tolisso’s goal gave them all three points.
Still, Bayern didn’t have things all their own way against Markus Gisdol’s side and had the officials to thank for making their task much easier with the extremely harsh sending off of Hamburg’s Gideon Jung in the first period. Had Jung not been red-carded things could have been very different altogether.
Brandt boosts Bayer
Bayer Leverkusen stretched their unbeaten run to four with a big win at Borussia Monchengladbach, Die Werkself hammering five second-half goals as Gladbach conceded five goals at home for the first time since 1998. The second-half goal blitz was all the more surprising as former Gladbach striker Heiko Herrlich’s side had only picked up a single point on their travels before Saturday’s win.
Key to the win was the half-time appearance of starlet Julian Brandt, who had an assist and a goal as he upstaged Bayer’s original ‘supersub’ Joel Pohjanpalo with his third goal from the bench this season. Brandt has been in sparkling form so far this term and it’s no wonder he continues to attract the attention of many of Europe’s top clubs.
Late lapses a niggle for Nagelsmann
Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann has a reputation as a perfectionist, so you can bet he wasn’t best pleased as his side conceded a late equaliser for the second time in a week through Wolfsburg defender Felix Udoukhai’s late header, although it could have been worse had Hoffenheim keeper Oliver Baumann pulled off a spectacular save from Maximilian Arnold’s early penalty.
The fact that Hoffenheim have now scored in all 14 of their Bundesliga away matches this calendar year will mean little to the 30-year old coach as Hoffenheim slipped further behind leaders Dortmund and Bayern.
Four points is now the difference between first place and Hoffenheim in fourth place, which is the same number of points they have let slip against Augsburg and now Wolfsburg. Fine margins are everything in football and Nagelsmann will no doubt be at pains to point that out to his players over the next few days.