Photo grabbed from https://www.vfl-wolfsburg.de/en/home/
Bundesliga returned for its first mid-week matchday since mid-December and its third since the two-month suspension of play. This week saw the second fixture in the Der Klassiker along with some surprising results that has affected the race for European competition next season. With matchday 28 in the books, let us look at the takeaways from the action.
- Borussia Dortmund is still not at Bayern Munich’s level
Borussia Dortmund won back-to-back Bundesliga titles under Jurgen Klopp in 2011 and 2012. Since then, Bayern Munich has ripped off seven consecutive Bundesliga titles and are in cruise control to win their eighth. This also includes a 9-3 record against Dortmund in their last 12 matchups. Bayern was simply a better team than Dortmund in Tuesday’s 1-0 victory over their Der Klassiker foes. They were more creative, explosive, decisive around the goal and took advantage of many Dortmund errors.
Late in the first half, Dortmund was constantly giving the ball away in their own zone. Eventually, a team like Bayern will capitalize and midfielder Joshua Kimmich did to give Bayern the only goal they needed on the day with a gorgeous chip-in. Despite Dortmund adding rising phenom in striker Erling Haaland, Dortmund was outplayed and could not get a goal they badly needed to stay alive in the race for the Bundesliga title. Yes, Dortmund has talent, but they still are not at Bayern’s level. They will need more playmaking in the midfield and back line if they are to close the gap on their bitter rivals.
- Wolfsburg dominates Bayer Leverkusen 4-1 in the strangest result this matchday
This past weekend, Bayer Leverkusen was on fire. They defeated Monchengladbach 3-1 and put themselves in Champions League qualification position. However, in Tuesday’s match at home against Wolfsburg, they fell flat. They lost 4-1 against a team that came off a 2-0 defeat at home against Dortmund in Wolfsburg, and this was despite Leverkusen accumulating 65% possession. This defeat dropped them into fifth place and is a blow to their UCL hopes. Luckily for them, Monchengladbach failed to take three points against 17th place Werder Bremen and only gained fourth place back due to a slim advantage in goal differential. Leverkusen and Monchengladbach are tied for fourth, but a win for Monchengladbach would have been huge in the race for UCL qualification.
As for Wolfsburg, this weekend was perfection. With the win, they are now three points ahead in sixth place, which would qualify them for Europa League play next season. Their offense rebounded from their shaky performance against Dortmund and with other teams below them such as SC Freiburg and Schalke dropping points, they are in good position to finish sixth.
- Schalke’s European hopes are now in peril
Last week, Schalke 04 was in trouble but had hope to maybe climb up to sixth place. Now, they are in peril as today, they blew a 1-0 second half lead against 16th place Fortuna Dusseldorf as they fell 2-1. If Schalke had won, they would only be two points behind Wolfsburg for sixth place. Now, they are ninth and five points behind Wolfsburg for sixth place. 1899 Hoffenheim and SC Freiburg are seventh and eighth respectively. This stat sums up their struggles. American midfielder Weston McKennie has scored the last two Bundesliga goals for Schalke. They were 81 days apart.