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Bundesliga Bulletin: Sancho, Sargent fly, Petersen completes

December 9, 2018

While Bayern and Robert Lewandowski continue their revival, Dortmund are finding goals from all over. Nils Petersen was also on the scoresheet to complete a remarkable record while a new American made a fast start.

Bundesliga Freiburg gegen Leipzig | Tor Petersen
Image: picture-alliance/Pressefoto Baumann/H. Britsch

Good week for: Nils Petersen (pictured), Jadon Sancho, Borussia Dortmund, Robert Lewandowski, Josh Sargent, Hertha Berlin, Gladbach

Bad week for: RB Leipzig, Frankfurt's front three, Schalke, The bottom six

The lowdown:

- It wasn't pretty, but the league leaders, Borussia Dortmund got their first win in Gelsenkirchen since October 2013. The 2-1 victory over Schalke keeps Dortmund seven points clear and gives them a big opportunity to go in to the winter break undefeated. BVB have only won by more than a single goal once since mid October but have now racked up five wins in a row. The stuff of champions?

- While Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie both featured in the derby, it was another American who made the biggest impact on the weekend. Less than two minutes after coming on the pitch for his Bundesliga debut, Josh Sargent nodded in to an unguarded net from centimeters out to seal a 3-1 win for Werder Bremen over Fortuna Düsseldorf . Not a bad start for the 18-year-old.  

- Frankfurt's front three have found it similarly easy to find the net this term. Until Saturday night. Luka Jovic, Ante Rebic and Sebastian Haller had scored 24 goals between them but all spurned big chances in the 1-0 loss to Hertha Berlin. It was the first time since the Super Cup defeat to Bayern that the Eagles have failed to score.

- For much of the last five seasons, with the honorable but injury-assisted exception of Alex Meier in 2014-15, the race for the Goldem Boot has been a battle between Robert Lewandowski and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. With the Gabonese striker now topping the Premier League charts, Lewandowski may have thought the crown was his again. His brace yesterday made it nine for the Pole, one of eight players within two goals of leaders Jovic and Paco Alcacer (10). 

- For all of Dortmund's fine form, there is one team who just about have them in their sights. Last weekend's blip in Leipzig threatened to derail Gladbach's hopes of catching Dortmund at the top, but Dieter Hecking's side returned strongly against struggling Stuttgart. A second half blitz saw the hosts rip through Stuttgart, making it four wins from five in the league and keeping the gap at seven points.

The quotes:

"Nuremberg didn't play football. We've found our rhythm again; things are coming automatically again." Robert Lewandowski after Bayern's 3-0 win.

"The goal was for grandmother and my family." Jadon Sancho on his winner in the Revierderby. The English winger only returned to Germany on Friday after the death of his grandmother.

1. Bundesliga | Schalke 04 v Borussia Dortmund | Torjubel (1:2)
Sancho was granted compassionate leave by Dortmund following the death of his grandmother.Image: picture-alliance/dpa/I. Fassbender

 "We earned it, because we dominated for 90 minutes. [But] we let Schalke put us to sleep. Schalke were playing strange football." Marco Reus on strikerless Schalke.

"Our biggest problem at the moment is our lack of cutting edge." Domenico Tedesco on his team's lack of firepower. Schalke have scored just 11 open play goals from their 14 games.

"I can see a lot of myself in him and I’m really happy for him." Bremen's Martin Harnik talks up the new man, and himself.

"He's the best midfielder I have seen in 20 years." Hertha boss Pal Dardai waxes lyrical on Liverpool loanee Marko Grujic, who scored the Berlin side's winner.

The stats:

Nils Petersen's goal against RB Leipzig was his 37th for Freiburg in the Bundesliga, which pulled him level with Papiss Cissé as the club's all-time leading scorer in Germany's top division. It also made him the only current player to have scored against each of the 18 clubs currently in the top flight.

Thomas Delaney's opener for Dortmund was his first since joining the club from Werder Bremen. That makes it 16 different goalscorers for BVB, the highest figure in Bundesliga history at this stage of the season.

Robert Lewandowski's opener was his fifth headed goal in a row in all competitions. He ruined the sequence by stabbing in a rebound for his second.

The weird

The 1-1 draw between Mainz and Hannover wasn't the highest quality contest but, at the start of the second half the players had an ideal excuse for misplaced passes. Numerous flares in the stands shrouded the pitch in smoke and the referee was forced to send the players back towards the dressing room while the smoke cleared.

The fans

The majority of Dortmund's ultras were serving the last game of a ban from travelling to Gelsenkirchen for the derby. Their absence made for a more subdued atmosphere in the Veltins Arena but they made up for it when their team returned on Saturday evening.