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Sports

Bundesliga: Five things we learned from Matchday 7

Another tepid performance from Bayern Munich, Cologne's match-winning striker pulling them up to second and Gladbach's frustrations all played a significant part in this weekend's Bundesliga action.

Gladbach desperately miss Raffael and Hazard

Sometimes the ball just won't go in the net. As the tried and tested cliché goes, teams often huff and puff with one-way traffic for 90 minutes only to then leave the pitch with the points shared, amazed at how they didn't win the game. However, what happened in the 0-0 draw with Hamburg at Borussia Park was on a whole different level.

Not only did the Foals have 22 attempts on goal and eight shots blocked by Hamburg defenders, but they also missed two penalties after Andre Hahn and Lars Stindl missed from the spot in either half. If Andre Schubert had any hair on his head he'd surely have pulled it all out by the final whistle.

Indeed, despite a host of chances created against a limited Hamburg side, the absence of injury victims Thorgan Hazard and Raffael was all too clear to see throughout the match. Although the likes of Fabian Johnson, Hahn and Stindl can all skip past players and create chances, it's the absent duo that top Gladbach's goalscoring charts.

If Gladbach are to finish in the top four this season or progress from their Champions League group, it's these two players that they'll need front and centre of any formation.

Bayern Munich still flat under Carlo Ancelotti

After the Champions League defeat to Atletico Madrid and the home draw with Cologne, it was not a huge surprise to see another subdued performance from Carlo Ancelotti's side on Saturday, which ultimately cost them another two points.

Saturday's draw was only the second time Bayern have dropped points in seven league outings this season, yet there has been a clear drop in the intensity of the team's play under the new coach. It was once again up to young starlet Joshua Kimmich to pop up with a second, vital goal for his side on Saturday, while the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller drew a blank.

Without all four of the midfielder's unexpected goals in the Bundesliga this season, Bayern would currently be sitting in third place alongside Borussia Dortmund. And very few of their fans would argue with the idea that they deserved to be there after a rather erratic few weeks that will give hope to clubs hoping to prevent Bayern winning an unprecedented fifth straight title.

Modeste vital to Cologne's march to second place

Peter Stöger's Cologne side are quite correctly known for their defensive, careful playing style. It's a simple, yet effective way of grinding out results which has seen them march to second in the table, just two points behind Bayern.

The player that deserves the most credit is their key target man, Anthony Modeste, who bagged two goals in Saturday's 2-1 win over Ingolstadt to lift himself to the top of the Bundesliga goalscoring chart. Although the Frenchman bagged an impressive tally last season – 15 goals in 34 league matches – it's the manner in which Modeste's seven goals in seven Bundesliga games in this campaign have won games and ensured success for his side that stands out. The 28-year old is no longer just a goalscorer for Cologne: he's now a vital match winner.
 

Eintracht Frankfurt matching the very best at home

Although the famous ultras weren't on show on Saturday at the Waldstadion, Eintracht Frankfurt still put on another spirited performance as they welcomed guests Bayern to town. Nivo Kovac's side have very quickly established themselves as no pushovers this season and that was clear to see as they fought back to bag equalizers on two occasions in their 2-2 draw against Bayern.

Yet rather than a simple smash-and-grab draw against the German champions, this was a gladiatorial performance that we may have to get used to from the Eagles this season. Having already beaten Schalke and Leverkusen and taken points off Hertha Berlin, a draw against Bayern certainly suggests that very few teams will relish travelling down to Frankfurt this season.

Manneh continues to repay faith shown in him by Nouri

Werder Bremen's 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen proved enough to pull them out of the relegation zone for the first time this season. And it was rather fitting that the man who scored the winning goal was a 19-year-old former refugee that new coach Alexander Nouri promoted from the youth team as soon as he got the chance. 

Indeed, after a physical target man role against Wolfsburg, a vital assist against Darmstadt and now a goal against Leverkusen, Manneh has proved himself as an absolutely necessary cog in Nouri's new-look Bremen machine. Saturday's sliding shot was not only his first in the Bundesliga but was also the first gal scored in the German top division by a Gambian player. Bremen fans and his ecstatic coach will be hoping it can only continue.