Bundesliga Bulletin: Schalke left adrift, Leverkusen on the board | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 23.09.2018
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Bundesliga Bulletin: Schalke left adrift, Leverkusen on the board

In a goal-heavy weekend in the Bundesliga, Hertha Berlin enjoyed time at the top, Werder Bremen believe in their European dream and Schalke's suffering continues. Everything you need to know from matchday four.

Good week for: Christian Pulisic, Werder Bremen, Hertha Berlin, Joelinton, Ron-Robert Zieler, Kai Havertz

Bad week for: Fabian Giefer, Hoffenheim, Schalke, RB Leipzig, hope of a title race

The lowdown:

Schalke's poor start continued after Bayern comfortably beat them 2-0 in Gelsenkirchen.The home side let James score a header from a corner and then gave away a silly penalty at exactly the moment in the second half when they looked like getting back into it. Franco di Santo wasn't happy at being subbed and there was a clear touchline disagreement with Domenico Tedesco. For the side who finished second and the head coach who enjoyed such a great start, now comes the real test.

- Leverkusen got their first win of the season thanks to their dynamic duo. Kai Havertz and Julian Brandt just look so much better than this team at the moment.

- For the second time in the week, Hoffenheim failed to reward their performance with more than one point. After nearly beating Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, Hoffenheim once again missed the chance to win. A disappointing Borussia Dortmund, who were once again saved by Christian Pulisic, gave Hoffenheim plenty of chances to win, most notably Ishak Belfodil who blazed over from two yards out in the dying moments of the game. Julian Nagelsmann keeps finding ways to make his team better, and it is special to watch.

Bundesliga 4. Spieltag | TSG Hoffenheim vs. Borussia Dortmund | TOR Dortmund (Imago/J. Huebner)

Christian Pulisic scores another late goal to spare Dortmund's blushes

- Werder Bremen's charge for a European spot continues after their away win in Augsburg, albeit in fortunate circumstances. Once again, Fabian Giefer made a game-changing error that leaves Augsburg heading down the standings. After Augsburg had battled back from 2-0 down, Giefer let a cross from the left go through his legs and Davy Klaassen was on hand to score the winner. Manuel Baum was felt such care for his players that he was in tears afterwards, in what was a rare insight into the kind of coach Baum is and the closeness coaches can have with their players.

- Before Bayern beat Schalke in Saturday's evening game, Hertha Berlin scored four and sat pretty at the top of the table. Flying somewhat under the radar, Pal Dardai's side have won three and drawn one to start the season - and Ondrej Duda leads the scoring charts. Their next two games? Werder Bremen and Bayern Munich. Perhaps the outcome of those two games will reveal where the capital club is headed this season.

- Two goals in 80 seconds got Nuremberg their first win of the season, but the game turned on a red card decision in the first half. Miiko Albornoz gets the lightest of touches on striker Virgil Misidjan and as last man the referee decided on red after VAR stepped in. Misidjan though, appeared to be going to ground well before the touch anyway and so perhaps the decision was a little harsh. Compared to the red card Abdou Diallo saw for Dortmund, where there was much more of a tussle and yet it still looked controversial, this call was a big one - and it changed the game.

Leipzig drew against Frankfurt in a frantic game, but with two players being left out of the squad (believed to be Jean-Kevin Augustin and Nordi Mukiele) due to poor behavior (allegedly using their mobile phones on the bench ahead of the Europa League game) there are concerns about potential cracks in this Leipzig team.

- Wolfsburg's afforded Freiburg so much space that it was no surprise Christian Streich's side came away winners. And yet in doing so, Freiburg ended the Wolves unbeaten run. Debutant Roland Sallai had quite the day, scoring the opener, winning the penalty for the second and then being brought off in the second half after being knocked sideways. He was also booked in the first half. Not much left to check off the list, is there?

Bundesliga Fussball VfL Wolfsburg - SC Freiburg (picture-alliance/dpa/P. Steffen)

A new love is the best kind: Roland Sallai impresses on debut

The stats:

- Claudio Pizarro started for Werder Bremen in Augsburg and in doing so made his 449th Bundesliga appearance.

- Nuremberg's win against Hannover was their first in the Bundesliga for 1,641 days. That's about four and a half years. Fair to say that must have felt good for everyone at the club.

- Robert Lewandowski has now scored in six consecutive games against Schalke - an achievement no one has ever done before against the Royal Blues.

- Julian Nagelsmann coached his 100th game as head coach of Hoffenheim in the 1-1 draw against Borussia Dortmund. It was his 86th Bundesliga game, which means he now has coached more games as the club's head coach than Markus Gisdol and Ralf Rangnick.

- Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac has a 100 percent record in all competitions since becoming head coach at the club. Granted, the season isn't that old but either Kovac was made for the job,the Bundesliga is going down an all too familiar road, or both are true.

The quotes:

"He wasn't happy with the substitution. I was." - Schalke's Domenico Tedesco on Franco di Santo's anger at being brought off.

"It's always crap when you lose, even when it's against Bayern." Schalke's Christian Heidel on whether the defeat against Bayern was to be expected.

"On the last Sunday of the Oktoberfest we have our team event. Until then, there might be one shandy to be had." Bayern Munich's Sporting Director Hasan Salihamidzic on whether the team will visit the Oktoberfest after their strong start to the season.

"A quick prayer to the football God: drop by Sinsheim some time." Hoffenheim's Julian Nagelsmann on his side missing the chance to win.

"Bremen have no idea how they won and we have no idea how we lost." Augsburg head coach Manuel Baum after the 3-2 loss to Werder Bremen.

"Was anyone in Cologne today?" Borussia Dortmund's Marco Reus on whether the VAR room in Cologne was occupied after a few controversial decisions in the 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim.

"Five points, that's a little tough to take." Kaan Ayhan on Fortuna's five points from four games.

The fans:

With September 27 the day UEFA decides who will host Euro 2024, this weekend's action was accompanied with plenty of publicity surrounding Germany's bid to host the tournament. Some Bundesliga fans responded with their own views on the bid, and most of them were not positive at all. On Friday, Stuttgart fans held up a banner (see the picture above) before the game started. In response to the bid's motto of "United by football", the banner read "United by Money."

Bundesliga 4. Spieltag | TSG Hoffenheim vs. Borussia Dortmund | Fans Dortmund (Reuters/K. Pfaffenbach )

This banner held up by some Borussia Dortmund fans was a fan reaction that upset the club

For their away game against Hoffenheim, some Borussia Dortmund fans held up insulting banners, including one large banner (pictured above) with Hopp's face drawn behind a cross-hair. This reaction from fans came in response to Hopp recently pressing charges against Dortmund fans who delivered abusive chants against him at the previous game last season and were, as a result, denied entry to the game this season.

On Sunday, Hoffenheim released an open letter to the German football community declaring their shock at the behavior, which they also condemned. "Those who not only betray the values of football with unconcealed hatred and agitation right up to an incitement to murder, but also clearly violate the law, must be confronted by us: clubs, federations, officials, players and fans," the letter said.

Borussia Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke apologized straight after the game: "What happened is completely unacceptable! This kind of behavior is in absolutely no way representative of the values of Borussia Dortmund!"

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