Bundesliga Bulletin: Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich restart title race | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 20.01.2019
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Bundesliga Bulletin: Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich restart title race

The Bundesliga returned with a bang as the top two pushed one another, the relegation picture became clearer and a handful of players picked up exactly where they left off. All you need to know about Matchday 18.

Good week for: Away teams, Niko Kovac, Frankfurt's attack, Domenico Tedesco

Bad week for: Markus Weinzierl, Hannover, Peter Bosz, Nuremberg

The lowdown:

- Leon Goretzka finally delivered the kind of performance Bayern Munich fans were expecting, as the former Schalke midfielder almost single-handedly won Bayern the game against a lackluster Hoffenheim. A late surge from the hosts wasn't enough as the champions started the year as they finished the old one – in form and up for a title race.

- Without captain Marco Reus and in a cold Leipzig stadium where the home side hadn't lost, Dortmund got the kind of win that might prove key in their title run. Axel Witsel stole the show, but with help from Julian Weigl and Roman Bürki as RB Leipzig missed their chance to spoil the party.

- Peter Bosz almost certainly planned his return to the Bundesliga differently, but more concerning than the defeat and his team's misfortune on the day was perhaps his promise of even more attacking football in the future. Balance was Bosz's problem in Dortmund, will it also be in Leverkusen?

- Frankfurt's trio of Luka Jovic, Sebastien Haller and Ante Rebic have been the difference all season and they all scored in the first half to blow Freiburg away. The trio have scored 78 percent of Frankfurt's league goals this season – a remarkable feat, and a big reason why the club are flying at the moment.

Bundesliga 18. Spieltag | Eintracht Frankfurt vs. SC Freiburg | TOR Frankfurt (Imago/T. Frey)

Frankfurt's attacking trio delivered another devastating display

- Written off as not good enough for the division, Fortuna Düsseldorf secured their fourth straight win to move a whopping seven points clear of the relegation playoff spot. A last-minute winner in Augsburg was enough to get the job done, and balloon the newly promoted side's confidence further. Will they really stay up?

- After picking up just 18 points from 17 games, Domenico Tedesco was under pressure to start the second half of the season right. Dropping captain and starting keeper Ralf Fährmann was a brave way to start, but Tedesco's selection proved perfect as Schalke delivered a strong performance against an in-form Wolfsburg side. A brace from Daniel Caligiuri won the day, but Alexander Nübel and Weston McKennie also impressed.

- Stuttgart are in trouble, despite scoring two and hitting the post in the final 10 minutes against Mainz. A 3-2 defeat at home after a poor opening hour will leave Markus Weinzierl scratching his head, and Stuttgart fans worried. More must come if they're to avoid the drop.

The quotes:

"I played in the 10 role this time. It's a position that I have fun in – the head coach knows that too." Leon Goretzka after his game-winning performance against Hoffenheim.

"The first half was simply crap." Andrej Kramaric speaking plainly after Hoffenheim's defeat to Bayern.

"Me? To Bayern Munich? Never. You will never see me at Bayern. That I promise you." Marco Reus in an interview with the Frankfurt Allgemeine Zeitung.

"The fans and I have a special relationship. How it happened, I can't really explain but it is there." Friedhelm Funkel on his relationship with Fortuna Düsseldorf fans

Fußball Bundesliga 18. Spieltag FC Schalke 04 vs. VfL Wolfsburg Torhüter Fährmann (picture-alliance/Guido Kirchner)

Ralf Fährmann was full of encouragement for Alex Nübel, his replacement in goal

"We had the feeling Ralle [Ralf Fährmann] didn't have a clear head." Domenico Tedesco on dropping his captain

"Now we face the three crazy kids in Frankfurt." Florian Kohfeldt on Frankfurt's in-form trio of attackers, who Werder Bremen's defense faces next

"We have to have a 'We don't give a crap' mentality." Andre Breitenreiter about his team's relegation battle

The stats:

Leon Goretzka scored two goals in a game for the first time in his club career.

Fortuna Düsseldorf won their fourth game on the bounce, their longest win streak in the Bundesliga since 1991.

Nils Petersen scored his 38th Bundesliga goal for Freiburg, more than any other player in the club's history.

Nuremberg have now gone 12 Bundesliga games without a win, and have failed to score in four of their last five.

Matchday 18 saw a league record equaled, as seven games ended in victory for the away team. The last time that happened was on the second matchday of the 2010-11 season.

Despite being on the losing side, Hannover goalkeeper Michael Esser equaled a Bundesliga record by making 14 saves against Werder Bremen. It's a tough job.

The weird:

In a league with a fair share of draws, the season restarted with a matchday free of this result. The last time a Bundesliga matchday ended without a draw was in fact Matchday 11 earlier this season.

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