Another new writer makes his debut for gibfootballshow – Saurabh Ananth or better known as @TheHoffside looks at the teams that just didn’t cut it this season in the Bundesliga.

2010/11 brought out one of the best Bundesliga seasons ever, with a lot of stories throughout the season. Dortmund winning the league while stamping their brand of football on the league was one, Hannover and Mainz’ brave and eventually successful battle for European football was another big one. We could go down to the lower end of the table with Eintracht Frankfurt’s relegation after being 7th in December or Gladbach’s miracle comeback after being firm favourites for relegation. While all those were very interesting, the underachievement of perennial contenders Werder Bremen, Stuttgart and Schalke were surprising and it’s what this will focus on. And as they prepared for their seasons in the summer of 2010 none of these teams thought they would be where they were.

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Before kick off, this game had the look of a potential banana skin for the league leaders, and after Leverkusen’s win against Hannover last night, it was important that the away side left the Volkswagen Arena with all three points.

In what turned out to be a comfortable first half for BvB it could have easily been a nightmare start. Lukasz Piczczek brought down Mario Mandzukic just outside the box. Diego stepped up and curled a wicked free kick towards goal, in an attempt to catch Roman Weidenfeller cold, the keeper would have been happy to see the ball fly just past the post.

Dortmund were awoken from their slumber and instantly went on the attack. Overloading the play on the right hand side, Mario Götze was sent clear down the flank, the Wolfsburg defence had been sliced open and Götze had the easy task of squaring the ball to Lucas Barrios and he gave the Champions elect the best possible start.

With most of Dortmund’s attacks coming down the right and left full back Marcel Schmelzer playing well in front of the half way line there was acres of space for Ashkan Dejagah to attack. Too often in the half the midfielder showed a lack of quality and Weidenfeller was never troubled. Grafite was calling out for some service but it never came.

The closest Wolfsburg came to a goal was through the efforts of Brazilian Diego, easily Die Wölfe’s brightest player. Halfway through the first half he hit a fizzing shot from 30 yards, Weidenfeller had to be alert to get his hands to it, the rebound fell to Grafite but the angle was tight and the keeper saved with ease.

Weathering the Wolfsburg storm with ease, Dortmund were in control. Patiently playing the ball around the Volkswagen Arena, Wolfsburg failed to put any great pressure on the ball, and Dortmund would go into the break two goals to the good.

Mario Götze again was the architect and the Wolfsburg defence had learnt nothing from the first goal. Leaving Barrios in the box unmarked, Götze found him with the pass, the Paraguayan’s shot was blocked but Nuri Sahin was alert and following up the play, his lunging shot swept the ball into the net.

Plenty of work for Steve McLaren to do at half time, however if your defence are going to leave a top International striker alone in the box you are never going to give your forward line the chance to win you the game.

Whatever McLaren said at the interval did have a slight impact. For 25 minutes they had plenty of possession and did a good job holding onto the ball, however for all the play they still couldn’t find a way to trouble Weidenfeller’s goal. Alexander Madlung’s long range effort that went high was the closet that Wolfsburg came to finding the net.

There is an old cliché that is peddled out for games like this, “When you have plenty of the ball, you have to make it count, or you will be punished”. And punished they were. Dortmund won a corner and although the first attempt was blocked it was the mercurial Nuri Sahin that collected the loose ball. The Turkish midfielder then swung in a teasing cross with his magical left foot, the ball was allowed to make its way to the back post, no one had picked up Mats Hummels and he had the easiest job to make it 3-0, game over.

In the end Dortmund as expected had too much for Wolfsburg, the constant movement of Götze, Barrios and Grosskreutz was too much for the poor Wolfsburg defence. At times it was embarrassing to watch, and too often the BvB frontline had acres of time and space to punish their opponents.

After the third goal Jurgen Klopp’s side put the big yellow bus into cruise control, they never looked like adding a fourth, but Wolfsburg never looked like getting past the excellent back line.

New signing Dieumerci Mbokani came on in place of Grafite, and he had a half chance late on, getting his head onto Dejagah’s cross, but he couldn’t direct the header and it glanced safely over the bar.

Constant images of Steve McLaren showed he was at a lose, apart from the defence it wasn’t an entirely poor performance, Diego tried but went missing in the second half, and Grafite hardly had a sniff at goal.

The big yellow machine that is BVB rolls on. Eleven points clear at the top of the table, the loss of Shinji Kagawa – out for the season with a broken metatarsal – doesn’t seem to have knocked them off their stride. Without a Europa League game to worry about it’s looking very unlikely that anyone will catch Klopp’s side. It’s Dortmund’s title to lose.


The Bundesliga got off to a fantastic start last night, Steve McLaren was only minutes away from an impressive result at the Allianz Arena, the first English manager to appear in the Germany top division nearly left Munich with a point, however Bastian Schweinsteiger stole all three points for the title favourites.

Another 6 games today in what is a very exciting first weeks of fixtures Hoffenheim take on Werder Bremen and Raul and the rest of his Schalke team mates travel to Hamburg to take on Ruud van Nistlerooy and co.

Here at gibfootballshow times is short, so instead of writing a full Bundesliga preview, here are links to two of the best previews that can be found anywhere.

Bundesbag previews all the teams in his two part feature for the Futbol Fairground website, there is also a podcast which you can download, a really good review, I especially like the club merchandise pictures depicting each team, I will be tuning into the podcast myself today, so go to their site and have a listen.

The wonderful guys at World Football Columns give you a very indepth preview of their thoughts for the coming Bundesliga season, definitely worth a read if you want the low down before the kick-offs today.

I hope you enjoy the two previews I have put the links up for, and more importantly you tune in and enjoy the football, my tips for the season have to be Bayern Munich, they are too strong a team for anyone to cause them trouble over the course of the season, Werder, Wolfsburg and Schalke to complete the top four.

Auf wiedersehen