Sunday, 24 January 2016

Bundesliga Diary: Sunday 24 January - Fabián and Fritz emphasise the Bundesliga's unpredictability

Bayern Munich's dominance aside the Bundesliga remains a tough league to forecast as evidenced by the two Sunday matches in which two unfancied teams overcame superior opponents despite themselves.

The early kick off saw Eintracht Frankfurt host Wolfsburg. The Wolves are 7th in the table, through to the next round of the Champions League and boast such high quality players as André Schürlle, Julian Draxler and Ricardo Rodriguez. Eintracht have suffered a number of departures of quality players and sit 14th in the table, only two points off third bottom.

The home side were atrocious in the first half. Deservedly going down to a set piece goal from Dante after 25 minutes. Frankfurt looked broken by half time and rightly were given the bird by their fans as they left the pitch for the interval. There was no reason to assume that Wolfsburg would not increase their lead and go some way in redressing their appalling away record (The Wolves have only won once on the road all season).

But the second half saw Eintracht reinvigorated thanks in large part to the introduction of the Mexican attacking midfielder Marco Fabián who is a winter signing from Chivas Guadalajara. This is easily the most interesting Bundesliga signing of Bundesliga Winterpause. His debut for Eintracht was telling and may well completely rewrite the narrative for the Frankfurt club's Rückrunde.

Fabián sat behind the front two of Stefan Aigner and Alexander Meier, calmly restoring confidence in the Frankfurt attack. With their tails up, Frankfurt went on to win 3-2 with Meier scoring a hat trick. His final goal came in the 93rd minute after some dazzling footwork from Fabian without which the goal would not have happened.

Later in the day, Schalke, a team replete with talented youngsters played a truly hapless Werder Bremen side. For the entire first half Werder played like a team that had never met. Joel Matip's header from a corner scored for Schalke. This should have established a platform for a convincing win to kick start their bid for Champions League football next season.

Instead, after spurning a series of chances, Werder punished them with a world class effort just before the interval from a Bundesliga veteran. Clemens Fritz was playing his 300th Bundesliga match and it was his first goal since August 2011.

In the second half, Werder were abject, particularly when it came to looking after Leroy Sané who drifted into the box from wide positions at will. But Schalke have confidence issues of their own and failed to increase their tally. Needless to say way was paved for an unlikely Werder win and it was Fritz who laid on assists for another veteran, 37 year old Claudio Pizarro on 53 minutes and finally Anthony Ujah on 89.

The Bundesliga is blessed with a number of teams with some truly top class players. It is also blessed that some of these teams are fallible and be undone by a debutant with no Bundesliga experience and a veteran.

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