Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Bundesliga January Review

The Bundesliga enjoyed a winter break throughout much of January and the season resumed on the 18th January so there has only been two rounds of matches. However, plenty has happened with managerial debuts and departures, excellent football and quality goals.

We'll start with the Bundesliga where in January Borussia Dortmund maintained their 6 point lead at the top of table after winning their games. Victories over RB Leipzig and Hannover have maintained Dortmund's surprise title charge. They are really on roll carrying on the positive momentum built from the first half of the campaign. Dortmund are really looking imperious right now having won 9 of their last 10 league games heading into February and its no surprise the fans are excited and dreaming of a first Bundesliga title since Jurgen Klopp's days in charge. Bayern Munich are also on roll and having won both league games in 2019 thus far, they have now won 7 on the spin to keep them in touching distance of Dortmund. It seems Niko Kovac is finally getting a tune out of his Bayern players after a very slow start but the Bayern board's backing is certainly being vindicated. Leon Goretzka has started 2019 excellenty with 3 goals in 2 games scoring twice in the win at Hoffenheim and most recent win against Stuttgart. However, the Bundesliga title race certainly isn't a two horse race because Borussia Monchengladbach are firmly in the race. Dieter Hecking's men are 9 points behind Dortmund but they have won 3 of their last 4 including both league games in 2019. Alassane Plea has been one of the signings of the season and along with Thorgen Hazard, they have made Gladbach genuine title contenders but they will be fully aware they must keeping win with the top 2 expected to pick up points most weekends.

One side who have enjoyed 2019 thus far is Mainz because they like Dortmund, Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach, have won both league games. Sandro Schwarz will be delighted with his side's start to the new year beating Stuttgart and Nuremberg. Mainz who have struggled for goals all season have scored 5 in the last 2 games having only scored 17 in their first 17 league games. Schwarz has relied on a stubborn defence for results having conceded just 25 so far this campaign. To put that into perspective, sides including Hoffenheim, Bayer Leverkusen, Hertha Berlin and Werder Bremen who are all above Mainz in the table have conceded more. Sandro Schwarz will be hoping Mainz can build on this going into a busy February.

However, despite only just reaching 2019, we've seen managerial departures in the Bundesliga. We'll start with Bayer Leverkusen who sacked Heiko Herrlich in December and their new manager Peter Bosz made his debut in the hot seat. So far its been mixed start for the Dutchman having lost his first game against Borussia Monchengladbach but they did bounce back and pick up a thunderous victory away at Wolfsburg. Bosz will be hoping his side can build on that win and take that momentum into February with a crucial match against Bayern Munich to come. Bosz is tasked with getting Leverkusen into the top 4 but they will start February 8 points behind current 4th occupiers RB Leipzig. The first sacking of 2019 in the Bundesliga goes to Hannover who decided to dismiss Andre Breitenreiter following defeats in both league games in 2019. A heavy 5-1 defeat was the final nail in the Breitenreiter coffin. But the writing has been on the wall for some time having won just twice all season and are currently 8 without a victory losing 6 of those matches. His replacement is Thomas Doll who arrives tasked with keeping Hannover in the Bundesliga and his first game is a tough home match against RB Leipzig. Hannover are desperate for a change of fortune and they will hope Doll is the man who can save them.

January was generally quiet with Dortmund keeping up their title charge and of course the transfer window brought plenty of activity so February will certainly see the season really ignite once again and there are plenty of tasty games to come. The month kicks off with Hannover vs RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen vs Bayern Munich and Eintracht Frankfurt vs Borussia Dortmund. Other matches to come include Bayern Munich vs Schalke, Borussia Dortmund vs Hoffenheim, a basement clash between Hannover and Nuremberg, Eintracht Frankfurt vs Borussia Monchengladbach, The Rheinland Derby between Bayer Leverkusen and Fortuna Dusseldorf, Borussia Dortmund vs Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig vs Hoffenheim. Plenty of big games to come full of entertainment as the second half of Bundesliga 2018/19 announces its return.

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