After almost two months, one of the big leagues in Europe is back. The Bundesliga was the first of the top five leagues to return to action, with the Premier League, Serie A, and La Liga close to resuming. Ligue 1 has already cancelled their season and awarded Paris-Saint Germain the title. Football’s return will be divisive due to the ongoing pandemic that is still in full throttle, and whether you fall on either side of the argument, last weekend’s games had some implications on the season.
This Will Be the New Norm For Awhile
Football is part of many people’s identity. Often times your mood changes based on your favourite football team’s performance. The fans are everything to this sport, especially in the Bundesliga. With the fans comes the atmosphere that they bring with them. A team’s performance can be dictated by the home support. This is one of the reasons that away goals mean more in knockout competitions. Interestingly, Bayern Munich have their number 12 retired in honour of their fans who are considered “the twelfth man”.
Unfortunately, but understandingly, football will be without fans for awhile. That twelfth man won’t be present and that will be something fans, players, and coaches will have to get used to for the time being.
Erling Braut Haaland Doesn’t Miss
Erling Braut Haaland has been almost unstoppable since moving to Borussia Dortmund in January. In 12 official games, Haaland has scored 13 goals. The 19-year-old prodigy has already been linked with some of Europe’s biggest sides, despite only moving to Dortmund a few months ago. This phenomenal run continued last weekend with Dortmund’s 4-0 win against bitter rivals, FC Schalke 04.
Haaland led the line and opened the scoring with a left-footed one-touch finish. The Norweigan’s day wasn’t done there, as he assisted Raphael Guerreiro for Dortmund’s fourth goal. It’ll be interesting to see if Haaland can keep up this monstrous run of form for the rest of the season. Dortmund are currently four points away from league leaders Bayern with eight games left in the season. If they want any chance to catch up to Bayern, Haaland will be a key piece to the puzzle.
Sluggish Schalke Get Dismantled
Bundesliga teams have been back in training for a few weeks. However, when there haven’t been any football games for two months, teams won’t likely immediately hit top form. Usually, after a two-month break football players go through a pre-season to get back to match fitness. The team that looked most in need of preseason was Schalke. It doesn’t help that they went against one of the nation’s top teams in Borussia Dortmund.
Schalke conceded four goals in less than 65 minutes. This now means that Schalke hasn’t won any of their last eight league games. Their last Bundesliga win came against Borussia Monchengladbach in mid-January. David Wagner’s men are only two points away from a Europa League spot but they’ll need to shake off the cobwebs from their loss to Dortmund. Luckily, their next three games will be against bottom feeders Augsburg, Dusseldorf, and Werder Bremen.
Differing Results Ahead of Berlin Derby
Dortmund was undoubtedly the most impressive side of last week’s fixtures. However, a good shout for second place is Hertha Berlin. Hertha are currently in 11th place after they defeated Hoffenheim 3-0. Die Alte Dame have suffered from inconsistency this season, with their attack failing to be very prolific, but this game was different. Hertha were helped by a Kevin Akpoguma own goal right before the hour mark. The momentum was now on their side and they took advantage of it. Minutes later Vedad Ibisevic extended the lead to 2-0 with a well-timed header.
City rivals Union Berlin lost out at home against the league leaders Bayern on Sunday. That said, it has been a relatively successful debut Bundesliga season for Die Eisernen, have already seen off Dortmund, Monchengladbach and Hertha at home.
It is, however, the away form that has slowly seen Urs Fischer’s side creep down the table, and they now sit one point behind their city rivals ahead of Friday’s fixture.