Bundesliga leaders Borussia Dortmund had their wings clipped by RB Leipzig while ‘the Heynckes factor’ produced the desired effect down in Bavaria.
FOX Sports Asia takes a look at five things we learned from Matchday 8.
Dithering Dortmund undone by Leipzig
It had to come to an end sometime, and so it transpired on Saturday as Dortmund’s superb unbeaten start to the season finally ended with a defeat at the hands of RB Leipzig. It ended poorly as Dortmund shipped three goals, more than they had in all seven previous games.
While there is no shame in losing to a quality team like Leipzig, Peter Bosz will not have been happy with the manner of the defeat, which saw sloppy defending responsible for all three Leipzig goals. Two more goals for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will have been no consolation for the Dortmund faithful, as they saw their favourites lose at home in the Bundesliga for the first time in 924 days, or 41 games.
With Bayern bouncing back into form at the weekend, how Dortmund react in their next game away to an improving Eintracht Frankfurt will be a good indication of the team’s ability to continue their challenge for the title.
The Heynckes effect
The signals from the Bayern players ahead of Saturday seemed to indicate that they would certainly turn up against SC Freiburg. The visitors never do well in Munich, so perhaps it was not the best time to face a Bayern side with much to prove to returning boss Jupp Heynckes. And so it proved, as a revitalised Bayern side were far too strong for Freiburg, grabbing five goals without reply and looking much more together as they closed the gap on leaders Dortmund to just two points.
Crisis over in Bavaria it would seem, and all the Bayern players needed was a “demanding” coach “who knows what he wants,” according to Mats Hummels. Sorry, Carlo!
Goretzka fires Schalke back to form
Schalke returned to winning ways at the weekend with an impressive 2-0 win in Berlin, ending a run of two defeats in three games that had seen youthful coach Domenico Todesco’s side falter after a strong start to the campaign.
Key to the win was attacking midfielder Leon Goretzka. Fresh from netting a brace for Germany in their 5-1 win over Azerbaijan (the first an audacious backheel), Goretzka was again in good form as he grabbed another goal from the penalty spot for his third of the season. Should he continue in this form then he will surely book himself a spot in Joachim Low’s squad for Russia and get the chance to showcase his talents on an even bigger stage, which is handy given that his contract is up in the summer!
Berlin take a stand
Also, in Berlin on Saturday we saw the first overseas “take a knee” protest as Hertha players and staff linked arms and knelt ahead of the game in support of “an open-minded world.”
— Hertha Berlin (@HerthaBSC_EN) October 14, 2017
The gesture mimicked the protests at NFL games in America against perceived police brutality against minorities in the United States. It’s just a shame that the gesture couldn’t inspire the players to greater heights against Schalke. It remains to be seen whether the #takeaknee protest will catch on in Europe, but the move certainly got fans on both sides of the Atlantic talking.
Rebic rocket fires Frankfurt
Ante Rebic continued his fine recent form at the weekend with a last-gasp goal in Eintracht Frankfurt’s 2-1 win away at promoted Hannover – a second consecutive defeat for Andre Breitenreiter’s men. The Croatian midfielder won it with an 89th-minute rocket, and has now netted in his last three games for Niko Kovac’s side, who are turning into away-day specialists. This was their third win in four games on the road this season (their only defeat on the raod coming at Leipzig.)
Frankfurt’s away form is all the more vital as at home they have struggled, winning just once and losing twice. Rebic and co will no doubt be eager to turn that poor run around and give the home fans something to cheer about next weekend when they entertain leaders Dortmund.