Wolfsburg and Augsburg scored for fun in an entertaining afternoon of Bundesliga football one week after the deadly attacks in Paris. The matches brought 17 goals as top clubs gained ground on the Bundesliga leaders.
Werder Bremen had wins in each of their last two road games, but that record did not help them when they traveled to Wolfsburg this weekend.
The Northern Germans got off to a less than ideal start in Wolfsburg when defender Alejandro Galvez turned a cross into an own goal in the 11th minute. In the fullback's defense, Bas Dost was bearing down behind him on the ball. Max Kruse doubled the Wolves' advantage one minute before half-time.
Bremen fans were hoping for a fight-back after the break but what they got was an unconditional surrender. Vierinha, Josuha Guilavogui, Dost and Kruse all found the net in the second half, as Wolfsburg romped to a 6-0 win. For the Wolves, it was an impressive result after some disappointing performances of late.
"We want to be one of the best teams, and you can't play with so little emotion as we did against Eindhoven and Mainz," Wolfsburg coach Dieterf Hecking said after the match. "Our play in trasition worked much better today."
The blow-out cements Wolves third-place status, while Bremen are thirteenth with a goal difference of minus 12. More outings like this could mean the end of the road for Bremen coach Viktor Skripnik.
Augsburg thrash Stuttgart, Zorniger in trouble
Alexander Zorniger may have already reached the terminus of his stint as Stuttgart coach, after his charges went down 4-0 at home to Augsburg. The match began 15 minutes late to allow the near sell-out crowd into the stadium.
Augsburg were last in the table, but they obviously weren't thinking about the standings as they scored three times in the first half against a scattershot Stuttgart defense.
A simple through-ball sprung Alexander Esswein in the11th minute to open the scoring. Six minutes later the forward bounced one in off of Stuttgart defender Timo Baumgartl. Zorniger rotated his personnel at the back, but it didn't help as Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker made it 3-0 in the 36th minute.
Stuttgart fans were seen departing the stadium at half-time, and they didn't miss anything. Ja-Cheol Koo completed the 4-0 scoreline for Augsburg in the 54th minute. Augsburg remain in the relegation zone but are now only one point behind Stuttgart.
"We lost the challenges that matter and weren't able to up our intensity," Zorniger said. "Our body language wasn't right. There must have been something I overlooked so I'll take responsibilty for it."
How long Zorniger will be taking responsibility for things in Stuttgart is becoming an increasingly pertinent question. With Stuttgart owning the worst goal difference in the Bundesliga, the coach could struggle to hold on to his job.
Gladbach and Leverkusen win
Elsewhere, Champions League aspirants Mönchengladbach and Leverkusen eventually got the job done, picking up wins against Hannover and Frankfurt respectively.
Gladbach coach André Schubert is still undefeated in eight league matches with the Foals. Ibrahima Traoré put the team ahead in minute 34. Hannover got an equalizer from Artur Sobiech in the second half, but Raffael secured a hard-fought 2-1 win six minutes from full time.
Leverkusen jumped out to a minute 23 lead in Frankfurt when defender David Abraham completely whiffed at a cross, gifting Chicharito a simple tap-in. The Mexican striker also received a gift from the linesman a quarter of an hour later when an offside goal was allowed to stand. He has now scored 10 goals in his last seven matches for Leverkusen.
Slobodan Medojevic gave home fans some hope with a lifeline just before the break. But Hakan Calhanoglu slammed the door on those hopes with a precisely placed, slightly deflected shot from 18 meters out in minute 72. The 3-1 away win will take some of the heat off Leverkusen, who also failed to live up to expectations in the first part of the season.
The only teams that didn't want to get in on the scoring act were Cologne and Mainz, who played to a goalless draw.