Five things we learned from Bundesliga Matchday 7

Richard Hazeldine Richard Hazeldine

Willy Sagnol’s first game in charge at FC Bayern Munchen didn’t exactly go to plan, while Claudio Pizzaro’s arrival couldn’t inspire FC Koln to that first elusive Bundesliga win.

Willy doesn’t have the magic touch

Following the midweek sacking of Carlo Ancelotti, much of the attention was on whether Bayern club legend and interim coach Willy Sagnol could inspire the reigning champions to new heights after some disappointing recent showings.

The answer seemed to be a resounding ‘yes’ early on as Bayern eased into an early lead courtesy of a goal involving three players (Arjen Robben, Jerome Boateng, and scorer Mats Hummels) that Ancelotti had dropped midweek. With Robert Lewandowski adding his regulation goal just after half-time, things were definitely looking up.

But then it all went wrong again as Bayern managed to throw away a two-goal lead for the second time in a week – and the first ever time in the Bundesliga. Of course, it’s still too early to judge whether Sagnol is the right man to be handed the reins permanently, but he won full marks for honesty after the match, admitting that Bayern are no longer the best team in Germany. On current form that is certainly true.

Pizarro fails to bring Koln ‘Pizzazz’

Another veteran brought in to make a difference this week was Claudio Pizarro, the Bundesliga’s most prolific foreign goalscorer was recruited by rock bottom FC Koln to provide a spark as Peter Stoger’s side seek to reverse a slump that had seen them score just one goal and earn one point from their first six matches.

Pizarro started on the bench for the Billy Goats, but his appearance early in the second period failed to inspire Koln as they went down a sixth defeat in seven to a Timo-Werner less Leipzig. There was no fairytale start for the Peruvian, but he at least had a hand in Koln’s goal, only their second of the campaign. Stoger will be hoping that Pizarro can inspire more net bulgers in the coming weeks.

Northern Derby gets added Asian spice

Markus Gisdol’s Hamburg side managed to break a run of four-straight defeats at the weekend as they played out a goalless draw against fellow strugglers Werder Bremen in the Nordderby. It was the first goalless derby in 17 years as both keepers stood tall, making a succession of great saves to earn Gisdol and his opposite number Alexander Nouri a crucial point.

Despite Hamburg’s fifth blank in a row, Gisdol will have been buoyed by the debut of young Japanese winger Tatsuya Ito. Despite his small stature (1.66m tall and weighing just 58kg) Ito put in a big performance on the left wing, terrorising the Bremen defence before he was subbed off with cramp after 53 minutes.

Ito’s appearance, which only came about because of injuries to Nicolai Muller and Filip Kostic, will have given Gisdol some food for thought, as his impressive cameo suggested he could make a difference for the strugglers in the coming weeks.

Highs and lows for Harnik

Hannover’s great start to the Bundesliga campaign came to an end at the weekend when they suffered their first defeat of the season at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Martin Harnik has been key to their success so far, and the veteran Austrian did it again on Saturday, hitting his fifth goal with a thumping header from a second-half corner to draw Hannover level. He then contrived to miss an absolute sitter with the scores level and just three minutes to go, somehow side footing against the bar with the goal at his mercy. It got worse as Gladbach then won the decisive penalty in injury time. Harnik’s howler shouldn’t though take away from what has been a stellar start to the season from Hannover and their main goal getter.

The end of the road for Franck?

What should have been a day of celebration for Bayern winger Franck Ribery on Sunday quickly turned to disaster after he suffered a serious looking injury.

Ribery was making his 234th appearance for Bavarians, equalling the club record for a non-German, when he pulled up on the hour mark and collapsed clutching his left knee. German TV has reported that the flying Frenchman tore his external ligament, an injury that could keep him out for up to three months, while the Bayern club doctor later admitted that things didn’t look good.

Whatever the prognosis, at 34 years of age, this kind of injury is never a good thing. Let’s hope that Franck is tearing down the flank again sometime soon for Bayern and that he can bounce back and break that record.