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Bundesliga

Bundesliga matchday 19: Talking points

Do Bayern Munich rely too much on one man? Why can't RB Leipzig beat the big boys? Is Mahmoud Dahoud back on track under Hecking? All this and more in this week's Bundesliga talking points.

Dahoud front and center of Hecking's revolution

Although Lars Stindl's individual goal in Borussia Mönchengladbach's win over Freiburg will undoubtedly be the highlight worth watching this weekend, do spare a thought for the wonderful one-two between Raffael and Mahmoud Dahoud for the Foal's second goal.

The young attacking midfielder has reverted back to looking very much like the prodigy that first burst on the scene last season. It's seems no coincidence that this has happened so soon after Dieter Hecking took over as coach.

Against Freiburg, Bayer Leverkusen last week and Darmstadt the week before, Dahoud has pulled strings and dictated play at the very heart of Hecking's new-look side. And as such the Foals have quickly begun moving up the league table, now back up to tenth.

Lewandowski-reliant Bayern finally stumble

Robert Lewandowski has a habit of making art out of football. Two weeks ago he turned a cold, wet night in Freiburg in to a stage for some game-winning magic. He's done it a number of times for Bayern Munich - and this weekend's wonderful chipped finish to take the lead against Schalke was no exception.

However the Polish international's talent has also underlined a problem with Bayern this season; nobody else really seems up to the task of helping him win games.

Lewandowski currently has 15 league goals. The next man on the goalscoring charts is the injury-prone Arjen Robben with six and then its defender Joshua Kimmich with four, who hasn't scored since October.

Indeed the team hasn't been playing well at all this season but for large parts of the league campaign the Polish striker has pulled them out of trouble. Unfortunately, against a stubborn Schalke side, that wasn't the case.

Deutschland Bayern München gegen Schalke 04 (Reuters/M. Dalder )

Robert Lewandowski scored his 15th goal of the season against Schalke

Leipzig missing key players

Although RB Leipzig's strength in depth is undoubtedly one of their key assets and a large part of their success this season, at a certain level you need your very best players for the big games.

This became abundantly clear in Saturday's clash with Borussia Dortmund, when a flu-ridden Timo Werner made way for David Selke, who was tasked with leading the line. Unfortunately, the young striker fell well short of this goal and found himself back on the bench in the second half.

Indeed, Leipzig were also missing Emil Forsberg, Marcel Sabitzer and Diego Demme in a performance that seems to suggest that the key players in this team are exactly that - key to any sustained success in the Bundesliga.

Dortmund struggling up front

Dortmund, on the other hand, are struggling with a completely different problem: they have the key players fit and ready but such stars are still struggling to deliver the goods each week.

Ousmanne Dembele's dribble, run and cross for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's opening goal was a thing of beauty but when the euphoria of picking up all three points against Leipzig wears off fans of the club will perhaps wonder why he can't do exactly that from one game to the next.

Indeed, Marco Reus' string of misses in the second half highlighted the simple facts. Dortmund have scored 13 fewer goals in the league this season than they had done at this point last year.

Over 19 games it's easy to imagine just how many more points Thomas Tuchel's side would be sitting on if they could reach that same potency in front of goal again - maybe even all eight separating them and Leipzig in second.

Deutschland Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig (Reuters/W. Rattay )

Ousmane Dembele (pictured jumping) set up the winner with an outstanding run and cross

Consistent Frankfurt are Champions League contenders

Whilst all the attention has centered around RB Leipzig, Hoffenheim and Dortmund, Niko Kovac has overseen a quiet revolution in Frankfurt. Their 3-0 defeat in Leipzig aside (where they played with ten men for 87 minutes after Lukas Hradecky's moment of madness), Eintracht have only lost one other Bundesliga game since October to find themselves third. 

Statistically, the improvement can be explained by defensive solidity - by the end of the Hinrunde, the first half of the season, Frankfurt had conceded 13 goals less than they had at the same stage last season. 

But what cannot be explained in simple mathematics is the change in team spirit since Kovac took charge. Kovac is close to sporting director Fredi Bobic and together, the two have established a tangible sense of togetherness in the dressing room, with Alex Meier telling kicker magazine in November that the team are "much more compact" and willing to work for one another.

Goal-scoring, however, remains a sticking point, with Frankfurt having found the net less than any other side in the top seven. If Kovac's Frankfurt family can find a solution to that as well, there's no reason they can't continue to fight for a Champions League place. 

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