An absolutely wild set of four 15:30 kickoffs in the 2020/21 German Bundesliga's 28th round produced a cumulative total of 18 goals.
In the set's most highly anticipated duel, Champions' League aspirants VfL Wolfsburg and Eintracht Frankfurt supplied a cracking seven-goal thriller.
The table tightens up significantly after the hosting Hessians topped their guests 4-3 in Germany's commercial capital.
|Filip Kostic.||Photo: GEPA Pictures/Roger Petzsche|
The fixture most German footballing enthusiasts had circled this weekend certainly didn't fail to disappoint. In an non-stop pulsating affair, fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt held off third-placed VfL Wolfsburg 4-3. Both Adi Hütter's Adler and Oliver Glasner's Wölfe brought the level of football one would expect from teams with everything on the line.
An intense start presaged a goal-heavy game. The opening tally came just six minutes in. Getting matters started was none other than budding German superstar Ride Baku. WOB striker Wout Weghorst located the youngster with a deft touch-back just outside the 18. The Mainz native then shook off Frankfurt's Sebastian Rode with a sumptuous dummy and launched a gorgeous curling finish off the turn into the back of the net.
It took less than two minutes for the hosting Hessians to respond. Filip Kostic broke through on the left, shifting the ball over to the right with a leading switch for Erik Durm. The former German national team midfielder then immediately cut the ball back toward the center. Rode partly atoned for getting beat just minutes prior with an intelligent leave. The ball fell to Daichi Kamada, who finished cooly into the near corner.
With two goals after 8 minutes, one might have expected matters to slow down a bit. Neither one of the teams tapped the breaks. A sensational optical feast ensured in the midfield. Lightning quick thinking and combinations left all observers breathless. Luka Jovic hit the crossbar in the 13th. Baku came within centimeters of a brace in the 20th. Kostic just couldn't catch up to a Silva relay in the 24th.
Silva managed to successfully link up with Jovic for game's third goal and a 2-1 SGE lead in the 27th. The cutback could be described as neat and tidy, but VfL defender Maxence Lacroix's marking remained questionable. Lacroix was among one of the players who got an excellent effort on goal during a late Wolfsburg first-half push to equalize. Weghorst and Maximilian Arnold also came close just before it was time to head into the tunnel.
At the half, Germany's green company team trailed their hosts despite an 8-3 shot advantage. Glasner's men made up for this discrepancy immediately after the restart. Baku stormed in to collect a misplaced Djibril Sow pass in the 46th, immediately feeding Weghorst for a quick shot. The Dutch striker banged home the equalizer, albeit with a little help from a slight deflection off Stefan Ilsanker.
Equlibirum did not last long. Despite chances from Baku and Yannick Gerhardt, the Hessians took the lead once again eight minutes later. Kamada alertly picked off a ball from Josip Brekalo after a poor touch. The Japanese international hit Silva with a perfect through and the Portuguese star easily assured a 3-2 lead in the 54th.
The thoroughly intense action continued. WOB defender John Anthony Brooks missed a golden opportunity to restore parity in the 57th. Four minutes thereafter, Durm scored his first Bundesliga goal in 46 fixtures to put his team ahead 4-2. Silva's fiery effort hit the post, but Durm grabbed the rebound and finished with aplomb.
Still we were not finished. Glasner made an interesting tactical switch, bringing on Bartosz Bialek for a 4-4-2 two-striker set. The move did lead to a sustained period of offensive pressure for the lower Saxons. Precision wasn't to be found, however. Only when SGE defender Lucas Silva "Tuta" Melo scored an unfortunate own-goal on a tight mark of WOB sub Maximilian Philipp in the 85th did the scoreline tighten to 4-3.
Despite a 3:1 shot advantage for Glasner's Wolves, Hütter's Eagles would claim all three points on this day. The result means that the two clubs are locked in a tight battle for third-place. Wolfsburg retain the spot by just one point. German football lovers could hardly have wished for a better result.
Elsewhere in the Bundesliga's 15:30 kickoffs, Julian Naglesmann's Leipzig had no difficulty dispatching Bremen 4-1. An early brace from surging RB striker Alexander Sørloth ensured that the second-place Saxons rushed out to an early 3-0 lead before the Hanseaten could get settled.
Gladbach-Hertha also proved an eminently entertaining shootout. A see-saw match saw the two teams share the spoils with a 2-2 draw. Bayern and Union also drew 1-1, meaning that the record champions' lead over Leipzig at the top of the table gets shaved down to five points.
|35||Lucas Melo ⚽|
|25||Erik Durm ⚽ ↩89|
|17||Sebastian Rode (C) ↩89|
|15||Daichi Kamada ⚽ ↩90|
|33||André Silva ⚽|
|9||Luka Jović ⚽ ↩83|
|40||Elias Jona Bördner|
|32||Amin Younes ↪83|
|20||Makoto Hasebe ↪89|
|11||Steven Zuber ↪90|
|22||Timothy Chandler ↪89|
|1||Koen Casteels (C)|
|4||Maxence Lacroix ↩66|
|24||Xaver Schlager ↩89|
|20||Ridle Baku ⚽|
|31||Yannick Gerhardt ↩66|
|7||Josip Brekalo ↩72|
|9||Wout Weghorst ⚽|
|17||Maximilian Philipp ↪72|
|21||Bartosz Bialek ↪66|
|33||Daniel Ginczek ↪89|
|34||Marin Pongracic ↪66|