Life under Andre Schubert has gone swimmingly well for Borussia Mönchengladbach with four wins from four. They're now out of relegation trouble and one reason for this is the emergence of Mahmoud Dahoud. The Syrian-born midfielder, capped by Germany U19s, was well-thought of by Favre, the former coach, but Schubert has taken the plunge and made the 19-year-old a central feature of the side. And with the Foals floundering, Dahoud has settled into the side with impressive maturity. He has a nonchalence about his play, quickly distributing one-touch passes without seemingly needing to adjust his natural poise. Saturday's 5-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt was textbook Dahoud: classy, confident and willing to shoulder responsibility.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesMatthias Hangst
Jittery Hoffenheim in danger
Before the start of the season, many observers (including this writer) tipped Hoffenheim to be the outside hunters for a European place. A well-run club with a thriving youth academy, the side from southwest Germany has failed miserably this season, winning just once in nine games. Under the management of Alexander Rosen, Hoffenheim had made several good signings. The loss of Roberto Firmino has had next-to-no bearing on the performances because of Rosen's quick moves in the market. But something just isn't working for Markus Gisdol's side. Even if they score two goals in a game, like Saturday at Wolfsburg, Gisdol's defense is leakier than an old garbage bag. Gisdol insists on committing full backs into attack, but perhaps the Hoffenheim boss has to put the shackles on his flankers to keep things tight.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesRonny Hartmann
Fährmann leads Schalke's spine
It's been known for sometime: Ralf Fährmann is one of the most underrated goalkeepers in the Bundesliga. If you're a Premier League club, the Schalke goalie should have been on your transfer list. The Royal Blues took strides to keep their 27-year-old keeper this week by rewarding him with a new contract. Fährmann pulled off a handful of good saves in the 2-1 win over Hertha Berlin, but it was a bunch of other homegrown talents who dealt the key blows. Leroy Sane and Max Meyer, two wonderful talents, delivered the winner in stoppage time to keep Schalke in third. In addition to that trio, there's Joel Matip and Johannes Geis bolstering the spine of the side. With Schalke on the right path, blessed with their best team 'spine' in many a year, next month's derby against Borussia Dortmund has the makings of a classic encounter.
AFP/Getty ImagesPATRIK STOLLARZ
Stuttgart rewarded for ... less chances?
Stuttgart, it seems, are almost impossible to read. Peerlessly dangerous on the attack, but part of the cannon fodder of the Bundesliga this season. After the first eight games, the Swabians had the third-best 'Expected Goals' rate in the Bundesliga at 0.94 per match -- 'xG' calculates the expected number of goals based on the quality of chances rather than how many. But there was a hint of irony in Stuttgart's 1-0 win over Ingolstadt. Zorniger's men didn't dominate proceedings, struggled to create chances and yet still ran out winners with an xG sum of 1.4, an accurate reflection of the outcome. (Credit: Michael Caley) Credit must also go to Zorniger who has added an extra defensive midfielder and utilized the prodigious talents of Timo Werner in attack. Stuttgart are now out of the bottom-three.
Bongarts/Getty ImagesAlexander Hassenstein
Eyes on the prize
Bayern Munich are still seven points clear at the top of the Bundesliga after winning 1-0 at Werder Bremen on Saturday. Pep Guardiola was without Arjen Robben and Douglas Costa, his two imitable match-winners from the wing. But in true Pep fashion, the former Barcelona coach tinkered to brilliant effect. Thiago Alcantara was afforded room on the left-flank, encouraged to play diagonal passes between the center-backs. The midfielder delivered a perfect ball for Thomas Müller who scored his ninth goal in nine games this season. With the league apparently a procession now, Bayern and Guardiola can focus on preparing right for the Champions League. It's perhaps not relevant at the moment, but Arsenal will provide their toughest test of the season in midweek -- and you wouldn't bet against them handing the Gunners a thrashing.