We reward the best and worst of German football with our weekly Bundesliga awards, featuring a terrific comeback, a masterclass by Kai Havertz, a great goal by Eduard Löwen, and why David Wagner is failing as Schalke manager.
Moment of the Week
Grabbing a result from the jaws of defeat when your team has hardly been in the game is one of the reasons we love this often unpredictable sport, which is why FC Köln provided the moment of the week on Sunday evening.
Fortuna Dusseldorf, managed by former Man City and Southampton forward Uwe Rosler, have been fighting against the drop this season and looked well on their way to a vital win over mid-table Köln with an assured and dominant performance, leading by two goals with just three minutes remaining.
87th minute 91st minute pic.twitter.com/PRwChh4EWN
— 1. FC Cologne (@fckoeln_en) May 24, 2020
The Billy Goats love a late goal, however, and struck home twice in the dying stages to rob a point from a contest in which they were clearly second best. But it made for great entertainment and a thrilling end to the match. Dusseldorf remain 16th in the table and in the relegation playoff spot, three points off Mainz.
Player of the Week
It’s often impossible to ignore the contributions of a hat-trick hero when it comes to deciding the week’s best player, but Mainz offered such pitiful opposition for the relentless RB Leipzig at the weekend that it detracts somewhat from Timo Werner’s performance in the 5-0 win.
Kai Havertz, on the other hand, was Bayer Leverkusen’s top performer in a match of huge importance for Die Werkself on Saturday. The North Rhine-Westphalia outfit leapfrogged Borussia Mönchengladbach in the table with an impressive 3-1 away win, putting them in the Champions League spots and eight points off first-placed Bayern Munich.
Kai Havertz for Bayer Leverkusen in 2020:
❍ 15 games
❍ 10 goals
❍ 7 assists
This kid is on fire. pic.twitter.com/1xYl9ExSiV
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) May 23, 2020
Their 20-year-old wunderkind was pulling the strings in typical fashion, involving himself in all of Leverkusen’s attacking moves while providing a brace. Havertz is an interesting player in that he plays like a number 10 but is also the main striker of the team.
Goal of the Week
With Augsburg’s first shot of the game, Eduard Löwen put his side in front with a proper whip of a free-kick in the sixth minute against Schalke 04 at the weekend. It was only his second goal of the season, but he made it count during their 3-0 victory.
Screamer alert 🚨🚨🚨
Eduard Löwen with a rocket for Augsburg!
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) May 24, 2020
Stat of the Week
Before the Bundesliga returned everyone was wondering what kind of effect playing in empty stadiums would have on the football being played as well as the outcome. The game is being played at much the same pace and level as before, but the early signs are indicating that home advantage has receded almost entirely.
Of the 18 matches played in the past two matchweeks, ten have been won by the away side – which accounts for an astonishing 55% of all wins. To put that in context, the away team usually win ~25% of the time in football. Just three matches have been won the home team thus far.
It’s only a small sample size, so it’s too soon to derive any hard and fast conclusions, but it’s an interesting indicator for how much ‘home’ advantage really counts.
Howler of the Week
Paderborn, having lost 17 of their 26 matches leading up to last week, offered up an opportunity for easy points for Hoffenheim, but they quite literally gave it away against the bottom side on Saturday.
Hoffenheim were enjoying a one goal lead when Bosnian defender Ermin Bicakcic made a woefully under-hit pass at the back to allow Dennis Srbeny to score the equaliser with a wonderful finish. It was the former Norwich City striker’s fourth goal in five games and gave Paderborn a precious point in their seemingly futile fight against relegation.
— Canary Cast (@CastCanary) May 23, 2020
Donkey of the Week
Thankfully Dedryck Boyata refrained from kissing anyone this week after he scored for Hertha Berlin against local rivals Union, so the title of Donkey moves onto Schalke manager David Wagner, whose side suffered their fourth defeat in five games after going down 3-0 to FC Augsburg on Sunday.
The ex-Huddersfield Town boss is clearly losing his grip on the situation, as Die Königsblauen have now gone nine league games without a win. Their last three points came all the way back in January, which feels like a lifetime ago now, and during that run they have lost by three or more goals on five occasions. Two of those were 5-0 hammerings at the hands of Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig, while they have also failed to score in seven of those matches.
One of Wagner’s most baffling decisions has been the benching of goalkeeper Alexander Nübel, particularly after the car crash performance by Markus Schubert in last week’s Revierderby. Schubert could hardly be blamed for the latest defeat, which came from a combination of fantastic finishing and defensive errors, but Wagner’s stubbornness in not playing his best goalie because, in all likelihood, he is set to leave for Bayern at the end of the season, will cost his team points and a place in Europe next season.