A match full of passion, elegance, and a healthy dose of the unexpected raised the curtain on the 2021/22 German Bundesliga's 20th round.
In an encounter marked by some spectacular play from Bielefeld's 20-year-old Austrian winger Patrick Wimmer, Bielefeld upset Eintracht Frankfurt 2-0 in the opener.
|Patrick Wimmer.||Photo: Werner100359, CC BY-SA 4.0|
Some fantastic play from Austrian youth international Patrick Wimmer ensued that the 2021/22 German Bundesliga's 20th round began with a most unexpected upset. Relegation candidates Arminia Bielefeld blanked what many considered a much stronger Eintracht side 2-0 in front of a small assemblage of Frankfurt's home fans on Friday night.
Some 1,000 live spectators were permitted through the turnstiles at Deutsche Bank Park. SGE trainer Oliver Glasner could once again call upon Filip Kostic and keeper Kevin Trapp after both were forced to sit out last week's match against Augsburg with "borderline" COVID results. Not a coach who likes to employ drastic changes, Glasner deployed his usual 3-6-1/3-4-2-1. Timothy Chandler moved over to the right to make way for Kostic. Martin Hinteregger also took over for Makoto Hasebe as the straight pivot runner in central defense.
DSC head-coach Frank Kramer made just one change to the team that drew SpVgg Greuther Fürth 2-2 last Sunday. Jani Luc-Serra rotated in for Bryan Lasme. Serra led the attack, flanked by Wimmer and Florian Krüger in a 4-1-4-1. Fabian Klos returned from his two-match suspension, but remained on the bench. Kramer noted in his pre-match interview that the coaching staff had spent a lot of time preparing for the "clear structure that is coming at us."
It became clear seconds after kickoff that Arminia were pressing hard against the gaps of Glasner's formation. The Hessen hosts were able to take advantage of the risks their guests took with a pair of counters. Chandler regrettably sent an effort well over after one such instance in the 4th. Less than a minute later, Bielefeld had the lead. Chandler could only clear a Serra pass directly into the path of Wimmer, who easily finished past Trapp.
With plenty of passion, the SGE did their utmost to mount a response. Kostic and Daichi Kamada got some good looks in during what was a sustained possession spell for Eintracht between the 5th and 20th. Bielefeld seemed content to sit back and defender their lead. Jesper Lindstrøm missed perhaps the best chance to equalize with a weak finish in the 16th.
Kostic and Chandler continued to get the SGE deep down the flanks, but Bielefeld had the center well covered. Very much against the run-of-play, die Arminnen doubled their advantage in the 28th. It was Wimmer once again, this time supplying a sublime rabona assist to Alessandro Schöpf with his trailing leg. The former Schalke 04 man chested in to ensure that Wimmer's amazing bit of skill would be immortalized on the scoresheet.
Eintracht continued to press in search of a way back into the game. DSC keeper Stefan Ortega Morena did extremely well to stop a Rafael Santos Borré effort in the 35th. The Hessen hosts kept up compelling attacking play for the duration of the half and deep into the second 45. Chandler, Kostic, Kamada and Lindstrøm certainly generated chances.
Often times when it came time to play the final ball however, it seemed like the SGE stars just couldn't find the right idea. Kostic and Chandler both hit the side netting on finishes that simply needed to be better. Glasner brought on additional strikers in the form of Gonçalo Paciencia and Ragnar Ache later on. Strong positional defending from Bielefeld and poor passing precision from an increasingly tired Frankfurt side ensured that neither saw much of the ball.
Ortega also made several brilliant saves down the stretch to preserve his clean sheet. If one examines Bielefeld's recent run of form, Kramer's Teutoburgs are actually unbeaten in five matches on the trot. Nine points against the likes of Bochum, Leipzig, and now Eintracht pull the DSC all the way up to 14th place in the table on 21 points. Wolfsburg and Augsburg can nevertheless still pull them back to the relegation playoff place before the weekend is out.
After finishing 2021 on a surging run, Eintracht Frankfurt are still seeking their first win of the new calendar year. The situation isn't exactly catastrophic for Glasner's crew yet, however, as the Hessen Eagles remain in 8th place on 28 points. The European places remain within reach for the SGE.
|13||M. Hinteregger ↪46|
|22||T. Chandler ↪74|
|17||S. Rode (C) ↪61|
|15||D. Kamada ↪87|
|21||R. Ache ↩74|
|39||G. Paciência ↩61|
|20||M. Hasebe ↩46|
|7||A. Hrustic ↩87|
|1||S. Ortega Moreno (C)|
|8||A. Schöpf ⚽|
|39||S. Vasiliadis ↪61|
|11||M. Okugawa ↪83|
|20||P. Wimmer ⚽ ↪73|
|23||J. Serra ↪61|
|18||F. Krüger ↪83|
|9||F. Klos ↩61|
|21||R. Hack ↩83|
|5||J. Laursen ↩83|
|7||G. Castro ↩73|
|16||F. Kunze ↩61|