Bundesliga Bulletin: New hope for Hamburg, Borussia Dortmund bounce back | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 22.04.2018
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Bundesliga Bulletin: New hope for Hamburg, Borussia Dortmund bounce back

English teenager Jadon Sancho starred as Borussia Dortmund bounced back from their derby defeat with a 4-0 thumping of Bayer Leverkusen. Seemingly doomed Hamburg have hope after beating Freiburg.

Good week for: Hoffenheim, Jadon Sancho, Hamburg

Bad week for: RB Leipzig, Freiburg, Cologne 

The table:

The lowdown:

- Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann said that his team's trip to RB Leipzig had "the characteristics of a final" in terms of the race for the Champions League. His players responded with a stunning 5-2 win which saw Hoffenheim leapfrog RB into fifth, two points off fourth with three games to play. Hoffenheim ruthlessly exploited a series of uncharacteristic mistakes from RB as Mark Uth scored his 13th and 14th goals of the season while Serge Gnabry also got in on the act.

Full report:Basic errors cost RB Leipzig as red hot Hoffenheim hunt Champions League

- Borussia Dortmund bounced back from last week's painful derby defeat to Schalke with a 4-0 rout of high-flying Bayer Leverkusen. English teenager Jadon Sancho was the star of the show as he complemented his first goal in professional football with two assists.

Full report: Jadon Sancho signals his arrival at Borussia Dortmund

Fussball 1. Bundesliga / 31. Spieltag / Borussia Dortmund v Bayer 04 Leverkusen Torjubel (Imago/J. Huebner)

Jadon Sancho truly announced his arrival for Borussia Dortmund

- Borussia Mönchengladbach launched a late bid for a Europa League place with a convincing 3-0 win over relegation strugglers Wolfsburg. Dieter Hecking has come under criticism from supporters for his team's unimaginative and unsuccessful football in recent months but the Foals responded well this weekend with some scintillating attacking football to leave them four points off a European place.

Full report: Borussia Mönchengladbach keep European hopes alive 

- Mission impossible? Seemingly doomed Hamburg have yet another glimmer of hope following a deserved 1-0 win over fellow strugglers Freiburg. Lewis Holtby scored the only goal of the game to move HSV to within five points of safety with three games to play. The Bundesliga's only surviving founder member have another must-win six-pointer away at Wolfsburg next week. They couldn't do it again, could they?

- Mission accomplished! VfB Stuttgart have cemented their Bundesliga status for next season after a 2-0 home win over Werder Bremen capped off a remarkable turnaround under coach Tayfun Korkut. The 44-year-old's appointment was met with skepticism when he replaced Hannes Wolf in January, with the Swabians languishing just three points clear of the drop-zone. But following six wins and only one defeat in their last eleven games, Korkut has led Stuttgart to safety.

- Stuttgart's Swabian cousins Augsburg are also safe after a 2-0 win over Mainz.

- Cologne produced a battling performance two come back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Schalke, but it's unlikely to be enough to keep the Billy Goats in the Bundesliga. Eight points from safety with three games to play, the tears at the final whistle showed that all hope is now gone. 

- Bayern Munich warmed up for their Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid on Wednesday with a 3-0 win over Hannover. Second-half goals from Thomas Müller, Robert Lewandowski and Sebastian Rudy wrapped up the points on a comfortable afternoon. 

Bundesliga Bayern München Hannover 96 (Getty Images/O. Andersen)

Robert Lewandowki came off the bench to score for Bayern Munich.

The stats:

Born on 31 March 2000, Lars Lukas Mai became the first player born in this millennium to start a Bundesliga match for Bayern Munich when the 18-year-old made his debut against Hannover. The defender had previously made 22 appearances for Bayern's "A Junior" team this season, plus one appearance for the reserves in the fourth-tier Regionalliga.

The quotes:

"Today was very, very good over 90 minutes. It was an important victory against a direct competitor. We've not achieved anything yet and we still have work to do" - BVB coach Peter Stöger following his team's 4-0 win over Bayer Leverkusen.

"Marcel's not been in good shape recently and we didn't believe he could help us in this game. It was a sporting decision. We lacked so much against Schalke. We're not looking for a scapegoat but it was clear that personnel changes were going to be necessary. Marcel wasn't happy but I wouldn't expect anything else from a professional" - BVB sporting director Michael Zorc on the decision to drop captain Marcel Schmelzer.

"The expectation both externally and internally is for us to be Germany's second team behind Bayern. Obviously we've not managed that this year. Perhaps it wouldn't do any harm to go into the new season with lower expectations and then surprise people" - Zorc on the general situation at Borussia Dortmund.

"I've always said that, when I perform the way I know I can, the manager [Joachim Löw] knows what I'm capable of. The most important thing is for me to stay in my rhythm and keep performing over 90 minutes. Then we'll see" - Reus on his World Cup chances.

Fussball 1. Bundesliga / 31. Spieltag / Borussia Dortmund v Bayer 04 Leverkusen (Getty Images/AFP/P. Stollarz)

Marco Reus scored two against Bayer Leverkusen and is still hopeful of going to the World Cup.

"My euphoria has its limits. We're very happy with the win because it gives us a chance to remain in contention. But we know we've achieved nothing yet" - Hamburg coach Christian Titz after his team's 1-0 win over Freiburg. HSV face Wolfsburg next week.

"We have three more games. Next week we have another cracker which we have to approach with the same engagement, the same willingness to fight and survive. Three big games and three big performances full of desire" - HSV goalscorer Lewis Holtby on the relegation battle.

"I hope they go down!" Freiburg's Nils Petersen is alleged to have shouted in the direction of the Hamburg dressing room. 

Fussball 1. Bundesliga / 31. Spieltag / Hamburger SV - SC Freiburg (picture alliance/dpa/A. Heimken)

Lewis Holtby was Hamburg's hero against Freiburg, but the Northerners still have work to do.

"I would like to see my players showing the same character as the fans. I saw the character of the fans today. That says a lot about what we've built here and we have to repay them in the final three games" - RB Leipzig coach Ralph Hasenhüttl clearly not noticing that the fans were streaming for the exits at 4-1.

"We can stop talking about the Champions League now" - RB goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi after RB fell four points adrift of fourth.

"That was a tepid summer friendly performance from us, which didn't please me. We were still well ahead at halftime though, although it wasn't really deserved. We took our chances but RB were still a bit stronger than us" - Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann managing to find a problem with a 5-2 win away at a fellow Champions League contender.

Bundesliga - RB Leipzig - Hoffenheim (picture-alliance/AP Photo/J. Meyer)

TSG 1899 Hoffenheim put five past RasenBallsport Leipzig.

"I didn't hear anything" - Niko Kovac must have been wearing earplugs when the announcement of his name was greeted with deafening whistles from Eintracht Frankfurt fans.

"I've heard it ever since December. That we only had three points and we're already down and no one has ever managed it from such a position before. But look at us! We're still not technically down! Yes, three wins from three is a big ask but the lads deserve some respect for the way they have fought" - Cologne coach Stefan Ruthenbeck still in defiant mood after his team's 2-2 draw with Schalke.

The fans:

Following last week's derby defeat to Schalke, Borussia Dortmund's ultras aimed a huge banner at their team's players during the warm-up against Bayer Leverkusen reading: "You have failed to understand the significance of the derby - you failures!"

Ahead of kick-off, another banner along the front of the Yellow Wall read further rammed the message home: 

The messages appeared to have the desired effect as BVB blew Leverkusen away in a 4-0 win, but when the players approached the Yellow Wall at full time, they were sent away as the fans' preferred to celebrate former Dortmund defender Sven Bender, now in Leverkusen colors.

The weird:

Just before halftime in the Friday night game between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Wolfsburg, the Wolves' goalkeeper Koen Casteels was stood by his post, shouting instructions to his defensive wall ahead of a Gladbach free-kick. But, before Casteels was ready, Christoph Kramer cheekily clipped the ball into the empty net. Despite Casteels' complaints, the referee saw no problem and the goal stood. 

Fußball Bundesliga Borussia Mönchengladbach - VfL Wolfsburg (Imago/J. Huebner)

Wolfsburg goalkeeper Koen Casteels was caught out by Christoph Kramer's quick free-kick.

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