1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Bundesliga top 2 takeaways

Jefferson Chase
September 28, 2014

Both Matchday Six games on Sunday were hard-fought affairs. Hamburg even managed to smash a negative record. DW's Jefferson Chase has words of consolation for the losers on the day: Hamburg and Hertha.

Hamburger SV - Eintracht Frankfurt
Image: Getty Images/Bongarts/Stuart Franklin

Chin up, Red Shorts!

It's probably hard for Hamburg fans to see the glass half full after their team set a new record for futility and went down to a last-minute defeat against Frankfurt.

But the 2-1 loss illustrated that there's more to the game of football than just scoring at one end. If Hamburg keep up the intensity they played with on Sunday, things should start going their way.

A lot of the media attention after the match focused on the fact that Hamburg went 507 minutes into the season without scoring a goal - a new Bundesliga record.

But what lost the Frankfurt match wasn't Hamburg's attack: they squeezed off twice as many shots as their opponents and had two-thirds of possession. What cost Hamburg was the shoddy defending - and especially Cleber's botched clearance - that led to Frankfurt's first goal.

For all the attention Hamburg's frontline is getting, they can't afford to forget their defense, which will be crucial if the Northern Germans are to survive in the first division. They've never been relegated from the Bundesliga since its formation in 1963.

"The team reacted well in the second half," Hamburg coach Joe Zinnbauer said afterwards. "We were rewarded with a goal but luck wasn't on our side - in the second half the team looked good."

That may sound like excuse-making, but it's not. In terms of commitment, Hamburg have improved dramatically since Zinnbauer took over three rounds ago. They were the better team against Frankfurt, but in this sport, the better side doesn't always pick up three - or indeed any - points.

Still, their midfield looked sharp and if they keep their heads up, the goals and points will come.

Bad refereeing marred Augsburg vs. Hertha

Hertha Berlin's Jos Luhukay is usually a soft-spoken coach who doesn't go after officials. So his remarks after the Old Lady's 1-nil loss to Augsburg were striking: "I'm really PO-ed," the diminutive Dutchman said.

"We lost the game because of the referee. That was never a foul, even before that he should have protected our players too."

Luhukay was referring to a scene in the first half in which the mere suggestion of contact by Hertha goalkeeper Thomas Kraft was enough to bring powerful Augsburg forward Raul Bobadilla crashing down like a rotten oak tree.

J'accuse - after the match Luhukay was miffedImage: Getty Images/Bongarts/Adam Pretty

It was a dive of the blatant sort, and the Argentine probably won't show the video of it to his grandchildren. Yet, in fairness, Hertha didn't play well enough to win.

Still Luhukay had a point. Worse than Bastian Dankert's falling for the oldest trick in the game was his inability to establish his authority. Dankert let a number of fouls go early on, and play kept getting harder and harder on both sides.

Hertha's Peter Pekarik was lucky not to injure his Achilles tendon when he was stepped on from behind, while Augburg's Paul Verhaegh had to be substituted out with what looked like Christoph Kramer-scale concussion in the second half. He was even allowed to continue playing after the stomach-turning clash of heads.

Neither Augsburg nor Hertha are known as unfair teams. The fact that this match got so out-of-hand - and unsightly to watch - shows the importance of referee imposing discipline right from the opening whistle.

As much as we all want the officials to let the game flow naturally, sometimes an early yellow card can work wonders for a game.