So match day 5 is well and truly played and after 3 games in 9 days, here are 3+1 thoughts on the Bundesliga after the notorious “English Week”:
1. This Highly Unexpected Table
Looking at the table on the last match day when the 2015/2016 season ended, you’d never have imagined that it would look like this after match day 5:
The usual suspects are there (Bayern and BVB) but the lovely surprise is seeing Cologne and Frankfurt so high up the table. Yes it’s still early, but it’s definitely a confidence booster for the two clubs considering this time last year, even though they both started well (fifth and eighth respectively), Cologne eventually missed out on a Europa League place and Frankfurt only just avoided relegation!
And Schalke… saying it’s strange to see Schalke at the bottom of the league without a single win to their name is an understatement. Again, it’s early yet, but for a team that is expected to regularly qualify for places in the UCL/EL, it’s a worrying place to be. Could it be the new coach and it’s taking a while for the players to settle down in the new system? Who knows, but since I love quite a lot of players at Schalke and am a huge fan of their youth academy, I’d love to see them rally and fight their way back to Europe contention.
2. Yes, we’re still talking about Leipzig (and probably will for the rest of the season)
Hoffenheim fans earned my undying respect when they unfurled a banner at their game against Leipzig.
“We want our throne back: Germany’s most hated club.”
So the battle for the Bundesliga’s hated club continues and Hoffenheim fans aren’t about to give up their throne without a fight. And who said German fans don’t have a sense of humour?
The next time they meet for El Plastico will be on match day 18, home to Leipzig - I can’t wait to see what the fans will come up with next.
3. The Bayern side: Manuel freaking Neuer
A mutual once told me that having Manuel in goal is almost like having a 6-point advantage. Seriously, the amount of times our super-keeper has bailed us out is astounding, the game against Ingolstadt being the prime example.
Our makeshift defence wasn’t gelling quite as well as we liked it’s the only goal conceded so far this season, but it still ended up being a game where Manuel showcased to the world why he’s on another level.
+1. Other Bundesliga notes: VFB Stuttgart
I have a bit of a soft spot for Stuttgart, not just because some of my favourite players have played there at one stage, but mainly because their relegation was genuinely sad. BUT, it’s good to see that the fans haven’t abandoned their club, and the players are playing well and are determined to win. Seeing Kevin score against Eintracht Braunschweig was extra special.
Olaf Janßen: “In comparison to the weekend, our game clearly improved, we made better use of the space available to us and you could see that we absolutely wanted every ball. We really could have done better in the odd situation too. The development of the team is far from being completed, but the lads are right on track. In the end, we deserved the win. I am especially happy for Kevin Großkreutz, who came back from a lengthy injury and rewarded himself with a goal.” [source]