Bayer Leverkusen 2-0 Greuther Fürth

SIDNEY Sam came off the bench to score twice and lead Bayer Leverkusen to victory over 2011/12 2. Bundesliga champions Greuther Fürth at the BayArena. The newly-promoted side’s defensive set-up and tactics nullified the hosts in the first-half, and right-back Bernd Nehrig even had two great chances right on half-time to hand the visitors a shock lead. However, Leverkusen’s joint coaching duo Sascha Lewandowski and Sami Hyypiä made a wise choice in replacing Karim Bellarabi with Sam for the second-half, as the former Hamburg attacker’s coolness in front of goal ensured that the home side eventually cruised to victory.

Fürth’s fourth loss of the season wasn’t for want of trying, but coach Mike Büskens’ side lack experience and creativity in midfield, and quality in attack. This latest loss means the Franconian minnows will end matchday six second-bottom of 1. Bundesliga unless Wolfsburg beat Mainz by four or more goals tomorrow afternoon. Leverkusen, meanwhile, are now up to sixth spot in the table, although Dortmund will leapfrog them if they Borussia Mönchengladbach this evening.

Match preview here.

Starting formations

Bayer Leverkusen (4-3-2-1, from right to left): Bernd Leno; Daniel Carvajal, Philipp Wollscheid, Ömer Toprak, Michal Kadlec; Lars Bender, Simon Rolfes, Gonzalo Castro; Bellarabi, André Schürrle; Stefan Kießling

Greuther Fürth (4-1-2-1-2, from right to left): Max Grün; Nehrig, Thomas Kleine, Mergim Mavraj, Heinrich Schmidtgal; Milorad Peković; Edgar Prib, Stephan Fürstner; Thanos Petsos; Sercan Sararer, Edú Continue reading

Bayer Leverkusen-Greuther Fürth preview

1. BUNDESLIGA strugglers Greuther Fürth continue their top-flight adventure this weekend as they travel to North Rhine-Westphalian big-guns Bayer Leverkusen. Mike Büskens’ side lost their third home game of the season during the week at the hands of Fortuna Düsseldorf, but have been in good form on the road, if you exclude their cup exit at the hands of Kickers Offenbach on August 18. Although Leverkusen – under joint coaches Sami Hyypiä and Sascha Lewandowski – have looked decent enough at the BayArena in 1. Bundesliga so far, they haven’t exactly made a flawless start to the season overall; losing two away games, and being held at home in the Europa League by Ukrainian outfit Metalist Kharkiv. Continue reading

1860 Munich 1-1 Eintracht Braunschweig

EINTRACHT Braunschweig’s 100 per cent start to the season came to an end at a packed Allianz Arena this afternoon, as the 2. Bundesliga leaders were held to a 1-1 draw by 1860 Munich. Both sides missed a number of chances, with Braunschweig guilty of not putting the game to bed in the first half following Domi Kumbela’s opener, and 1860 Munich guilty of not making the most of their improved penetration and attempts on goal in the second period. By the end of the game, a nervy, bitty and generally uninspiring affair, Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht looked to hold onto the draw – a result that gives his side a two-point lead over second-placed Energie Cottbus in the table. As for 1860 coach Reiner Maurer, although he will be pleased that his side maintained their own unbeaten start to the 2012/13 campaign, he will be disappointed his side did not go on and win today, as come the end of the season, it is far likelier they – rather than Braunschweig – will be challenging for promotion.

Match preview here.

Starting formations

1860 Munich (4-2-3-1, from right to left): Gábor Király; Grzegorz Wojtkowiak, Necat Aygün, Guillermo Vallori, Moritz Volz; Dominik Stahl, Kai Bülow; Marin Tomasov, Daniel Bierofka, Daniel Halfar; Benjamin Lauth

Eintracht Braunschweig (4-4-2, from right to left): Daniel Davari; Marcel Correia, Ermin Bičakčić, Deniz Doğan, Ken Reichel; Dennis Kruppke, Kevin Kratz, Norman Theuerkauf, Mirko Boland; Kumbela, Orhan Ademi Continue reading

1860 Munich-Eintracht Braunschweig preview

RUNAWAY 2. Bundesliga leaders Eintracht Braunschweig travel to fellow unbeaten side 1860 Munich this weekend looking to make it six wins out of six. The Lower Saxony minnows – who were in Germany’s 3. Liga as recently as last May – didn’t spend a cent on transfers over the summer, which makes their start to the 2012/13 season all the more impressive. Goals and assists have been spread out among the squad so far too, which bodes well for the rest of the campaign, because Braunschweig don’t have any star names in their squad, let alone a 20-goal-a-season striker.

Torsten Lieberknecht’s side will face their sternest test of the campaign to date in travelling to the 69,000-seater Allianz Arena on Sunday. Laying in wait are an 1860 Munich side who boast a number of ‘star’ names and have only conceded in one of their six games so far this season (ditto Braunschweig). The Bavarian side have also been more prolific in front of goal than the league-leaders, who have scored eight goals to 1860’s ten. However, although the visitors netted just 37 goals in 34 games last season, they conceded the third least amount of goals in 2. Bundesliga: therefore, this match promises to be tight, but also a real litmus test for both sides.

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Borussia Mönchengladbach 2-3 Nuremberg

HIROSHI Kiyotake scored one and set up two others as Nuremberg continued their fine start to the season by winning in Mönchengladbach for the first time since 2005. Dieter Hecking’s side deserved their win, as Gladbach put in a hit and miss performance, despite at one point clawing the score back to 2-2. Although Nuremberg looked accomplished tactically and showed good spirit, the visitors were indebted to summer signing Kiyotake for his technical brilliance and goalkeeper Raphael Schäfer – who pulled off one of the saves of the season – for their 3-2 win, which lifts them up to joint second in the table. Next weekend, Nuremberg host 1. Bundesliga’s other surprise quick-out-of-the-block side, Eintracht Frankfurt, while Gladbach will look to pick themselves up as they visit Bayer Leverkusen for a Rhine derby clash.

Match preview here.

Starting formations

Borussia Mönchengladbach (4-2-3-1, from right to left): Marc-André ter Stegen; Tony Jantschke, Martin Stranzl, Álvaro Domínguez, Filip Daems; Håvard Nordtveit, Granit Xhaka; Patrick Herrmann, Tolga Ciğerci, Juan Arango; Luuk de Jong

Nuremberg (4-2-3-1, from right to left): Schäfer; Timmy Chandler, Per Nilsson, Timm Klose, Javier Pinola; Hanno Balitsch, Timmy Simons; Róbert Mak, Kiyotake, Alexander Esswein; Tomáš Pekhart Continue reading

Borussia Mönchengladbach-Nuremberg preview

TWO teams who underwent vastly contrasting summer transfer campaigns go head to head in the third round of the 2012/13 1. Bundesliga season this weekend. Whereas Borussia Mönchengladbach lost three of their best players, Nuremberg had a relatively quiet summer, keeping the squad pretty much intact. Both sides have made decent starts to the latest league season, with Gladbach beating Hoffenheim and drawing away at local rivals Fortuna Düsseldorf, and Nuremberg winning away at Hamburg before holding reigning champions Borussia Dortmund to a draw at home last weekend (a game in which Dieter Hecking’s side had more than enough chances to win).

An international break has seen the German top-flight campaign have a two-week break since then, but you imagine both Hecking and Gladbach coach Lucien Favre will have appreciated the time this has given them to work with their players on the training ground; particularly the latter, whose side had played two Champions League games, a DFB-Pokal tie and two 1. Bundesliga matches in the space of 14 days. Continue reading

Hoffenheim 0-4 Eintracht Frankfurt

HOFFENHEIM paid the price for missing a number of gilt-edged chances early on, as Eintracht Frankfurt struck twice towards the end of both the first and second half to make it two wins out of two in the new 1. Bundesliga season. The home side finished the match with nine men after right-back Stephan Schröck and substitute midfielder Sejad Salihović picked up red cards midway through the second half. However, Hoffenheim hadn’t looked like they were going to get back into the game even with a full complement of players on the pitch, with Frankfurt both mentally and tactically adroit after getting their two-goal cushion shortly before the break. In fairness to Hoffe coach Markus Babbel, whose side have now lost two league games and one cup tie in the 2012/13 campaign, he got his tactics spot on at the start of the match. Allowing the visitors to monopolize possession, the former Liverpool and Stuttgart defender utilised the counter-attacking talents of his foremost four players, as Hoffenheim created – but spurned – a number of one-on-one opportunities. But, once his team had fallen behind through an own goal and a spectacular Pirmin Schwegler strike, Babbel was unable to get his team back into the game, and could only watch on helplessly as his players lost their heads. Lose next week’s match at Freiburg, and the young tactician’s position might become untenable.

Match preview here.

Starting formations

Hoffenheim (4-2-3-1, from right to left): Tim Wiese; Schröck, Matthieu Delpierre, Marvin Compper, Fabian Johnson; Tobias Weis, Sebastian Rudy; Boris Vukčević, Kevin Volland, Roberto Firmino; Erin Derdiyok

Eintracht Frankfurt (4-2-3-1, from right to left): Kevin Trapp; Sebastian Jung, Carlos Zambrano, Bamba Anderson, Bastian Oczipka; Schwegler, Sebastian Rode; Stefan Aigner, Alexander Meier, Takashi Inui; Olivier Occéan Continue reading