Padraig Whelan Saturday, May 23, 2020, 15:27 UTC
The Bundesliga returned for a second weekend of action and didn’t disappoint with the offering on Saturday afternoon.
There were massive results at both ends of the table across the four fixtures.
Here’s what went down…
Havertz the hero again in derby win
Kai Havertz continued his sensational form by keeping Bayer Leverkusen in the title race and striking a big blow to rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach, who they leapfrogged thanks to the youngster’s brace.
Gladbach came into this one chasing an unprecedented Rhineland derby clean sweep after wins in each of the previous five fixtures but they and their 13,000 cardboard fan cut-outs in the stands were stunned by an early Bayer goal.
Some slack play in midfield allowed Karim Bellarabi to slip the red-hot Havertz in and he deftly steered the ball into the corner to take his streak of games either scoring or assisting to six in the league – a career high.
He could have had another before the break for a Leverkusen side who were in command and comfortable, firing off the bar before Kerem Demirbay’s rebound was brilliantly blocked by Nico Elvedi.
They were made to pay for that and other misses six minutes after the break when Alassane Pléa found Marcus Thuram with a neat chipped pass and the youngster volleyed calmly into the bottom of the corner with perfect technique.
This game lived up to is pre-match billing as no sooner had Gladbach levelled than a late challenge on Bellarabi in the area after he had already fired wide resulted in a penalty, which Havertz squeezed in despite a strong hand from Yann Sommer.
Die Werkself secured the win in the closing stages when Sven Bender steered a header into the corner.
Wing-backs fire Dortmund to victory
Borussia Dortmund warmed up for Tuesday night’s Klassiker against Bayern Munich with a vital and essential win 2-0 away to Wolfsburg.
Following last weekend’s brilliant derby win over Schalke, Dortmund picked up where they left off thanks to an unlikely goal source chipping in again.
Raphaël Guerreiro scored twice that day and added another as a delightful (yet utterly ordinary given his talents) Julian Brandt flick set BVB free on the right, where a Thorgan Hazard cross was met by the Portuguese international.
Lucien Favre’s men were given a massive let-off at the start of the second half after losing Mats Hummels to a precautionary substitution, allowing Renato Steffen to run unchallenged through the BVB defense only to blaze over with the goal gaping.
That was as close as the hosts came and BVB killed the game off with just over 10 minutes left when their trump card Jadon Sancho was brought off the bench and it was his run and pass which allowed Achraf Hakimi to put the game beyond doubt.
Wolfsburg ended the game with 10 men when VAR aided the referee in sending off Felix Klaus for a studs-up rake on Manuel Akanji.
Touch of Klaass hands Bremen vital victory
Werder Bremen picked up a massive three points in their bid to avoid the drop thanks to a narrow 1-0 away to Freiburg on Saturday afternoon.
They surprised many by going ahead on 19 minutes when Leonardo Bittencourt found the corner from the edge of the box but in truth the goal was all about a sensational assist from Davy Klaassen to find him.
However, Bremen have dropped 21 points from winning positions in the league this season (more than any other side) and when Philipp Bargfrede was shown the line with two minutes remaining, you sensed the inevitable.
It arrived instantly when Manuel Gulde found the net via a rebound only for VAR to incredibly and correctly rule it out for offside – leaving Bremen just two points off the relegation play-off spot.
Hoffenheim held as wait for win goes on
Hoffenheim’s winless run stretched to seven games as a shocking error gifted bottom side Paderborn a point at the Benteler-Arena.
It took just four minutes of this one for the visitors to hit the front when Pavel Kadersebek slipped easily past his marker and found Robert Skov to drill over Leopold Zingerle’s arms.
In all five previous meetings between these sides, Paderborn had failed to score but rectified that sorry stat on nine minutes thanks to a massive gift.
A big mistake from Ermin Bičakčić saw him hand Dennis Srbeny the ball on the edge of the box and he didn’t even need to take a touch, capitalizing by swiftly curling into the corner for the only two goals of the game.