German Bundesliga Roundup, Sep. 21
Daniel van Buyten’s last-gasp goal gave Bayern Munich a welcome boost as the champions came from behind to earn a 2-1 win over Hoffenheim.
Bayern fell behind after just 36 seconds but Van Buyten hit home the winner a minute into stoppage time for a team which had not scored in three matches.
The victory also had a negative side as Franck Ribery limped off with an injured right ankle.
"We came here to have a good match and after the early goal we came back together and worked hard," said Van Buyten.
"We are very satisfied and happy about the way things look in the standings."
Bayern is seventh in the league with eight points from five rounds, seven points behind surprise leader Mainz, which beat Cologne 2-0 thanks to Lewis Holtby’s goals in the 72nd and 91st.
Mainz, which travels to Bayern Munich at the weekend, leads the standings with a perfect 15 points with five victories.
"Why should we set unbelievably high goals? Let’s just go game by game," said Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel, whose team has not lost in 10 matches dating back to last season.
"The first half that we played today was the best football we have played since I have been here. We could hold our own in the (English) Premier League with that passion."
Bayern came into the game at Hoffenheim with the worst attack in the Bundesliga and watched as the hosts took the lead after just 36 seconds after a defensive error by Bayern. Sebastian Rudy stole the ball from Diego Contento on the right and passed into the area where Vedad Ibisevic slotted in off the near post.
Bayern continued its game plan of plenty of possession but Hoffenheim nearly made it 2-0 after 42 minutes with Sejad Salihovic blasting his free kick against the right post.
Munich finally ended its 333-minute scoreless run with 28 minutes to play as Hoffenheim keeper Daniel Haas pushed Ribery’s shot into the path of Thomas Mueller and the Germany international converted the rebound.
Ribery, who has dealt with a series of injuries over the past couple of seasons, had to be helped off the field.
"We can’t say yet. I think it’s a serious injury but we will look at it more tomorrow," said Bayern coach Louis van Gaal of Ribery’s injury.
Hoffenheim tried desperately to hold off Bayern’s attacks but the visitors eventually broke through a minute into stoppage time. Ivica Olic headed a free kick into the path of Van Buyten, who pushed the ball over the goalline with his thighs.
Van Gaal believed his men would come through in the end.
"It may be strange, but we built up so much pressure. Maybe it’s a bit of luck too," said the Bayern coach.
After three wins to start the season, Hoffenheim remained on 10 points for second place.
Hannover is third with 10 points after a 4-1 victory at home over struggling Werder Bremen, which has just four points.
Bremen meanwhile is in a downward spiral after a second straight disappointing loss in the league.
Clemens Fritz struck an own goal in the 11th minute which Werder captain Torsten Frings was able to cancel out with a penalty in the 36th minute – his 19th consecutive converted penalty since 2004.
Didier Ya Konan made it 2-1 in the 53rd, and was followed by goals from Christian Schulz (79th) and Mohammed Abdellaoue (92nd).
"We said last week that we played so bad and that we cannot play any worse. But we played maybe even worse in the second half," said Bremen manager Klaus Allofs.
On Wednesday, Schalke plays at Freiburg; Bayer Leverkusen hosts Eintracht Frankfurt; Borussia Dortmund takes on Kaiserslautern; and Hamburg welcomes Wolfsburg.
In addition, Borussia Moenchengladbach entertains St. Pauli; and Stuttgart travels to Nuremberg.