Borussia Mönchengladbach and Freiburg were the big winners on a weekend where Robert Lewandowski broke yet another record. Elsewhere, a goalless Revierderby left rivals Schalke and Dortmund with contrasting emotions.
Good week for: Borussia Mönchengladbach, Schalke, Freiburg, Robert Lewandowski, Paderborn
Bad week for: Lucien Favre, Cologne, the handball rule
- Borussia Mönchengladbach are a point clear of Bayern Munich at the top of the Bundesliga following a dramatic 4-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday evening. Earlier in the day, Wolfsburg had missed the chance to go top themselves as they played out a goalless borefest at home to Augsburg. With several other challengers at the top also dropping points, the Bundesliga continues to enjoy one of its most exciting seasons, with only four points separating the top eight.
- The 179th Revierderby between Schalke and Borussia Dortmund also ended goalless in Gelsenkirchen on Saturday, but only one team will have been happy with their performance. The hosts in Royal Blue dominated for long periods, Salif Sané hit the bar, Suat Serdar hit the post and Rabbi Matondo also missed a series of gilt-edged chances.
Jadon Sancho produced the only chances of note for BVB who were otherwise lacking in every area. In the end, they were fortunate to escape with a point and remain ahead of Schalke in the table, but questions will continue to be asked of coach Lucien Favre.
- DW in Gelsenkirchen: Lucien Favre in the spotlight after Dortmund's dire derby display
- DW opinion: Schalke under David Wagner are greater than the sum of their parts
- Robert Lewandowski became the first ever player to score on each of the first nine Bundesliga matchdays as Bayern Munich beat Union Berlin 2-1. The Pole made it 2-0 shortly before half-time after center-back Benjamin Pavard had given the champions the lead with a ferocious strike. Nevertheless, the newly-promoted Berliners gave a good account of themselves in front of their 7,500 travelling supporters and Bayern had goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer to thank after the 33-year-old saved Sebastian Andersson's penalty midway through the second half. Neuer had no chance when Sebastian Polter pulled a goal back with a late penalty.
- It's tighter than ever at the top but the biggest surprise of the season so far is surely Freiburg, who temporarily went second on Saturday night with a 2-1 win over RB Leipzig. They ultimated ended the matchday in third, but the Black Forest outfit continue to punch above their weight year after year thanks to a combination of sensible management, savvy transfers and attractive football under Christian Streich.
- Bayer Leverkusen and Werder Bremen produced a feast of attacking football in a 2-2 draw on Saturday evening. Impressive goals from Milot Rashica and Davy Klaasen each side of half-time made up for Omer Toprak's early own goal which had given Leverkusen the lead, but Peter Bosz' side came storming back through Lucas Alario before having a potential winner ruled out. What a game!
- Down at the bottom, Paderborn got their first win of the season as they beat Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-0, Mainz came from behind to beat Cologne 3-1, and Hoffenheim made it three wins from three with a 3-2 win away at Hertha Berlin, to continue their climb up the table.
- This weekend will also be remembered for several controversial handball decisions which have cast further doubt on the rule itself as well as on the video assistant referee (VAR) system which is supposed to elimate serious errors.
The controversy began on Friday evening. With Mainz leading 2-1, Cologne's Kingsley Schindler saw his cross blocked by Moussa Niakhate's out-stretched arm - but the VAR decided against awarding a penalty. Cologne sporting director Armin Veh couldn't believe his eyes (see "quotes" below).
Then, during Saturday's Revierderby, the VAR didn't intervene at all after Bastian Ozcipka's corner struck Thorgan Hazard on the arm, much to the consternation of Schalke coach David Wagner (see "quotes" below).
- Robert Lewandowski became the first ever player to score on each of the first nine Bundesliga matchdays. He had previously shared the record with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored on each of the first eight matchdays of the 2015/16 season for Borussia Dortmund.
- Hoffenheim's first eight opponents this season had accumulated a cumulative total of 101 points going into Matchday 9, more than any other combination of eight clubs faced by any other club. In other words, Alfred Schreuder's side have had, statistically, the toughest run of fixtures in the Bundesliga. But their 3-2 win over Hertha Berlin made it three wins from three, and Hoffenheim's schedule between now and Christmas looks much more appealing, with games against Paderborn, Cologne, Mainz, Düsseldorf, Augsburg and Union Berlin in the coming weeks.
- Union Berlin were awarded two penalties away at Bayern Munich, the first time that Bayern have ever had two penalties awarded against them at home. Manuel Neuer saved the first from Sebastian Andersson, but couldn't stop the second from Sebastian Polter.
- Fortuna Düsseldorf had scored in 17 consecutive Bundesliga games, a run which ended on Matchday 9 when they lost 0-2 to Paderborn.
- Nils Petersen scored his 22nd Bundesliga goal as a substitute when he came off the bench to net Freiburg's second against RB Leipzig, extending his own record.
"There was no Dortmund player who wanted to go inside the box."
- Schalke goalkeeper Alexander Nübel with a damning assessment of rivals BVB.
"Schalke are an opponent with a plan; we're not on the PlayStation here."
- Borussia Dortmund captain Marco Reus
"There's nothing more to say. The weather will be different on Monday and it will be different for me, too."
- Thomas Müller remaining coy on his Bayern Munich future.
"I am certain that he won't leave in winter."
- Bayern coach Niko Kovac was more concrete.
"I don't want to sugarcoat it but we can't work on them any more than we already do. But it's costing us points. The responsibility for set pieces lies with me."
- Werder Bremen coach Florian Kohfeldt on his team's problems from set-pieces.
"The German champions will only be VfL!"
- Borussia Mönchengladbach fans were dreaming big after their team went top of the league with a 4-2 win over Eintracht Frankfurt. "VfL" stands for "Verein für Leibesübungen" ("Club for Agility Exercises") and is part of Gladbach's full name.
"If that's what we learnt at the handball workshop, then I didn't understand the workshop. You watch that replay back and still decide it's not a penalty? Hats off for that! An unbelievable decision."
- Cologne sporting director Armin Veh after his team weren't awarded a penalty in Mainz.
A substitute giving away a penalty and the goalkeeper receiving a second yellow card for accidently punching an opposition player? This week's Bizarre Bundesliga comes from Germany's second division ...
Borussia Dortmund's ultras attended a derby away at Schalke for the first time in six years. In October 2013, around 500 ultras had their details taken by police after attempting to travel to Gelsenkirchen independently, or "conspiratorially," as the police labelled their decision not to use the official transport provided.
Once inside the stadium, the ultras kicked down several panes of plexi-glass surrounding the away end while setting off copious amounts of pyrotechnics, even firing some flares onto the pitch and into neighboring blocks. As a result, the 500 fans were banned from attending matches in Gelsenkirchen for five years, leading other ultras to boycott away derbies in solidarity.
Recent derbies at the Veltins Arena have consequently been somewhat short on atmosphere, but not this weekend, as the Dortmund ultras returned. They again set off smoke bombs and flares but nothing more. Meanwhile, in the home end, their Schalke counterparts displayed Dortmund flags and banners which they had "stolen" - a common act of provocation among ultras.
Elsewhere, Freiburg fans once again reiterated their criticism of RB Leipzig.
"Destroy the Red Bull Football Empire - worldwide!" read a huge banner at the Schwarzwald-Stadion, accompanied by the names of places in which the Austrian energy drink manufacturer operates a football franchise: New York, Salzburg, Brazil, Leipzig and Ghana.
Transfers between the Leipzig and Salzburg branches have come under particular scrutiny in recent years with criticsclaiming the teams derive an unfair competitive advantage from the operation. RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg both insist that the clubs are entirely separate.