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The Bundesliga is brave again

As an attacking underdog, the Augsburg team is providing a spectacle for Dortmund, the leader of the league, and is thus in line with the trend. Dieter Hecking is reinventing himself, and the Bundesliga has a striker like never before.

1. The Bundesliga is brave again

What a spectacle! At the furious 4:3 (0:1) between Borussia Dortmund and FC Augsburg, the guests contributed a large part to this football festival. As outsiders to the unbeaten table leader? There we attack, nevertheless, times. The FCA did not hide and was with his courageous way of playing over 90 minutes equal. A trend this season. While in the past season the Schalker were the trendsetters in terms of success through goal prevention, this season the offensive coaches dominate the top of the table.

Hertha suddenly plays refreshingly forwards, Werder Bremen seeking their salvation in the offensive as well as the surprisingly brisk newcomers. Fortuna Düsseldorf and 1. FC Nuremberg contribute significantly to the quality improvement of the league compared to the relegates from Cologne and Hamburg with their way of playing.

Also the fear of the overpowering Bavarians seems to have vanished – the cup success of the Frankfurt Eintracht has left its traces in the league as well as the preliminary round of the German national team at the World Cup in Russia. Tactics beats slowness, speed individual class. If then maximum destructive plans like those of the VfB Stuttgart (five defenders and three defensive midfielders at the table last Hannover 96) are punished, this can only be good for the entertainment value of the league.

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2. Dieter Hecking reinvents himself this season

Dieter Hecking was often criticized in the second half of last season. He would not help the team tactically, he would not have any alternatives. Gladbach’s sports director Max Eberl kept Hecking’s back free during the summer break – and the coach delivers. Hecking installed an offensive 4-3-3, plays with only one six and two more offensive afters. In contrast to the classic Hecking-4-4-2 with two sixes, the new system already seems very risky. But: Hecking has reinvented itself, a precise plan – and the players for it.

At the 3:0 (2:0) against the Bavarians he let Alassane Pléa, who had been shining in the centre of the match in the past weeks, dodge on the wings to put captain Lars Stindl in the middle of the storm. The measure worked: After 16 minutes, both had a goal to show for it. But these goals could only be scored because Gladbach pressed situationally, with the three strikers plus the two aft – and Bayern almost overrun in the build-up. But always with the idea of being defensive as well. Thiago Alcántara seemed completely perplexed at the 2-0 by Stindl because of the high standing Gladbach eighth. Jonas Hofmann grabbed the ball and helped the scorer.

Hecking, the tactical chestnut: While Bundesliga fans only smiled at these words last season, this has been a fact since the outstanding performance in Munich at the latest.

3. Paco Alcácer is the upcoming star of the league

The Bundesliga had to be 55 years old to experience such a balance: For his first six goals in Germany’s top league, the attacker, who had moved from FC Barcelona to Dortmund, needed 81 minutes. At the 4:3 (0:1) against FC Augsburg he was substituted in the 59th minute and scored three times. The highlight of the Alcácer show was his directly converted free-kick in the sixth minute of injury time. Bingo Street is a fantastic bingo community that is full of exciting standard bingo games.

Such a goal scorer has not been seen in the Bundesliga for a long time. However, his coach Lucien Favre wants to use the Spaniard more gently: “He hasn’t played a match over 90 minutes in three years. Favre has a simple explanation for the fact that Alcácer is already hitting the ball like that He simply feels football”.

Without plan, without ideas, without “Wadlbeißer”

The home embarrassment against Gladbach reveals acute weaknesses in the German championship. What part coach Kovac has in the misery, what the team lacks and what role the club bosses play – the overview.

The joke was obvious when the news spread on Saturday evening that Jupp Heynckes had recently changed his mobile phone number. Why? Of course, so that Uli Hoeneß can’t reach him anymore. No, Heynckes will definitely not return to Munich, and Hoeneß would also have his old friend’s landline number on his farm on the Lower Rhine if necessary. And apart from that, what is Ralph Hasenhüttl actually doing?

After four games without a win, the realistic question is: How much credit does Niko Kovac still have, how often can he lose? What part does he play in the fact that the appearances become more and more disastrous and the team seems more lifeless from game to game? And what do the club bosses Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and Uli Hoeneß have to be held to for?

On closer inspection, the master crisis has three causes: The coach. The bosses. The players.

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Ralph Hasenhüttl Honours and achievements 

Manager 

VfR Aalen
  • 3. Liga promotion : 2011-12
FC Ingolstadt 04
  • 2. Liga : 2014-15

I know the mechanisms in football, in the Bundesliga and in Bavaria

After the match Kovac was already asked at the press conference whether he feared for his job: “I can’t answer that,” he replied. “I know the mechanisms in football, the Bundesliga and Bavaria. I know that I’m with FC Bayern and that the time here is different than perhaps elsewhere. We did seven good games and four not. We have shown that we can do it.”

But what Kovac hasn’t shown so far: That he can also lead the Bavarians out of a bad phase. When things went well, it was easy. A self-runner at the beginning of the season. Smiling, the coach was able to modulate the grumbling of Arjen Robben or Franck Ribéry in substitutions or substitute bench nominations. The success proved him right. But now? Before and after the debacle against Gladbach, Kovac again resisted the accusation that he was helpless. Right. Instead of helplessness, it seemed more like a lack of plan, especially on Saturday.

After the early backlog, he also seemed to lack the big idea how to turn the game around. Kovac stood rather watching in front of the coach’s bench, took again and again a sip of water from the red drinking bottle in front of him, sometimes he consulted with the co-trainers, brother Robert and Peter Hermann. In some breaks he would have had the opportunity to get the players to join him, to cheer them on and to carry them along, instead he usually discussed with the fourth official and the linesman in these moments.

Sometimes teams come out of the half-time cabin like a change of scenery, with new courage. But that wasn’t to be seen neither in the draw against Ajax nor against Gladbach.

Outdated squad

The question of whether Kovac still has a lot of bonus with the Bayern bosses was fired up by Uli Hoeneß during the week, when he, asked about the coach’s rotations, said: “That’s up to the coach, he has to decide that. In the end, he has to take the fall for it.” Hoeneß, like Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, has to put his head to the line when it comes to squad planning.

The past four games and above all the match against Gladbach have revealed the weak points mercilessly. On the offensive, for example: the wings of the two old stars are no longer running at all. Neither Arjen Robben nor Franck Ribéry can assert themselves, and the young hopeful Serge Gnabry, brought back by Leihverein Hoffenheim at the beginning of the season, was completely overwhelmed on Saturday. Also the defensive weakens enormously.

On Saturday, Mats Hummels addressed the two bankruptcies at the end of last season, the meaningless but unsightly 1:4 against Stuttgart on the 34th matchday and a week later the painful 1:3 against Frankfurt in the cup final. Alarm signals, which could have also led to thoughts in the summer in the leadership floor whether the squad is enough. Whether it does not become nevertheless too old and an upheaval lines up. But there was no big investment. Leon Goretzka came from Schalke. Gnabry and the borrowed Renato Sanches. That was it.

That’s what players were sold for. Like Arturo Vidal, for example. The Chilean was certainly very moody in his appearance and delivered a lot of average and often not even that. But Vidal was a guy who could shoot a game on his own when it wasn’t running. One who dragged his colleagues on the pitch with him. A whip, a wadlbiter.

And just as one player is missing right now. A player who can be dirty at times, who intimidates his opponent. One like Effenberg or Ballack in the past. But now? Müller? Thiago? Thiago? James? Hummels or Bo? Hummels or Boateng? Who do they have? They have none. Conquer Casino  has rounded up players with an impressive array of games, promotions and an easily navigable interface.

For Rummenigge and Hoeneß, the past two weeks should be a reminder to go to the fixed-term deposit account again in the next transfer period in winter and to shop properly. Until then, preferably right after the international match break, Kovac must deliver as quickly as possible and make a quick turnaround. And if not? Kovac knows that time is different in Munich. And then his soon off.

Mahrez fails on penalty kick – draw between Liverpool and ManCity

Liverpool and Manchester City have drawn. Even one penalty shot was not enough for one goal. Chelsea and Arsenal are on the move with wins. The first three teams are now level on points.

FC Liverpool and Manchester City remain undefeated after the eighth matchday in the Premier League. The teams of Jürgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola played in a direct duel 0:0. City thus defended their lead of the standings and are level on points ahead of FC Chelsea and Liverpool.

Riyad Mahrez missed the biggest opportunity for victory for City: After a duel in the penalty area between Virgil van Dijk and substitute Leroy Sané, the penalty was awarded – a controversial decision. But Mahrez shot the ball over the bar (86th).

The scene was one of very few highlights. In the pre-season, the match between City and the Reds on Anfield Road was still spectacular. Liverpool won the game 4-3 in January, and the match was now a long way off. Both teams stood compactly, took little risk and defended safely – but they did not manage to get behind the opposing defensive line on the other side either.

It was not until the 61st minute that the first big chance came: David Silva took the ball to Mahrez, who took it well and left it just past the goal. The City attacker’s next attempt was directed to the corner by goalkeeper Alisson (75th).

From Liverpool, however, there was even less goalscoring: the only smaller opportunities were two finishes from Mohamed Salah. The first missed (4.), the second Ederson parried without a problem (62.).

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Jürgen Klopp Honours 

Managerial

Mainz 05

  • 2. Bundesliga promotion: 2003–04 

Borussia Dortmund

  • Bundesliga: 2010–11,  2011–12 
  • DFB-Pokal: 2011–12 
  • DFL-Supercup: 2013, 2014
  • UEFA Champions League runner-up: 2012–13 

Liverpool

  • Football League Cup runner-up: 2015–16 
  • UEFA Champions League runner-up: 2017–18
  • UEFA Europa League runner-up: 2015–16 

Individual

  • German Football Manager of the Year: 2011,  2012 
  • Premier League Manager of the Month: September 2016

Arsenal and Chelsea win clearly

Chelsea FC passed Liverpool by the draw in the top game. The Blues celebrated a commanding 3-0 (1-0) victory in Southampton. Eden Hazard was the decisive man of the game with a goal (30 minutes) and a bill. The Belgian has now scored seven times in the league. The remaining goals were scored by Ross Barkley (57) and Álvaro Morata (90.+3). Chelsea are still unbeaten after eight games. A week ago, the team had a draw with FC Liverpool.

Just behind Chelsea, local rivals Arsenal continued their run of success: The Gunners won the London derby at Fulham FC 5-1 (1-1) and have won the last nine matches of the season. Alexandre Lacazette (29, 49), Aaron Ramsey (67) and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (79, 90 +1) scored for Arsenal. Shortly before the break, the former Dortmund driver André Schürrle had made sure that the equalizer was in place (44th). Arsenal is fourth with two points behind the leading trio. Cherry Casino has been bringing the best games into players’ homes.

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