Goals, face masks, drama… Football made its cautious return. We follow up four highlights of one of Germany’s most historic weeks in domestic football.
A man of many goals and few words
It had to be the breakout star of the season, Erling Braut Haaland, who got the first goal of the return of the Bundesliga. On the 29th minute, the Norwegian got on the end of a Thorgan Hazard drilled cross to cooly net Dortmund’s opener. BVB kept tradition at the end of their 4-0 romping of Schalke by celebrating in front of The Yellow Wall.
This club man! 😭💛@ErlingHaaland pays tribute to the Dortmund fans who couldn’t be at the game today.
— beIN SPORTS (@beINSPORTS_EN) May 16, 2020
When questioned after the match in English for beIN Sports, Haaland confused expression and extremely short answers left for an uncomfortable interview. He says just 11 words before dashing mid-interview. Thankfully the reporter does not mess around in wrapping up the interview.
VAR halts a shock Bundesliga upset
One of the more predictable fixtures in the Bundesliga return was RB Leizpig’s home tie with SC Freiburg. The Red Bull side were five points behind leaders Bayern heading into this game. However, it was the visitors who took a shock lead thanks to a set piece. Manuel Gulde deflected his effort into the net as the underdogs held out for over 40 minutes.
Bitter……….. Der Videoassistent hat da einen Fingernagel im Abseits gesehen……
— SC Freiburg (@scfreiburg) May 16, 2020
Youssef Poulsen eventually got Leipzig on level terms with 13 minutes to go with a bullet header. Freiburg standout player Robin Koch then smashed home from short range from a cushioned header back across goal in extra time. The upset was short lived however, when offside from the set-piece ruled the goal out. The Freiburg Twitter account did nothing to hide their frustration at the decision. A let off for Leipzig, who now drop to 4th.
Foals are a force
The team replacing Leipzig in the 3rd position is Borussia Monchengladbach. The Foals have been excellent this season in the Bundesliga with their strong spine, consistency, and dangerous attackers. The enforced break did not change their fortunes, as it took less than a minute to find the back of the net.
HOW ABOUT THAT FOR A START! 😍
— Gladbach (@borussia_en) May 16, 2020
Monchengladbach took full advantage against a fragile Frankfurt, quickly doubling their lead inside seven minutes before a second half penalty secured the three points. An array of attacking talent, including Marcus Thuram, Alassane Plea, Breel Embolo, and Lars Stindl makes this team a dark horse to push Bayern and Dortmund all the way.
Not all clubs utilising increased substitutions
One of the rule changes introduced for the rest of the season is an increase in substitutes. It now allows teams up to five substitutes to help reduce injury and fatigue during this physically demanding finale. With two more substitutes allowed than usual, it gives coaches a tremendous boost in making systematic and tactical changes.
The DFL has given approval for the 2019-20 Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga season to continue beyond July 30 if necessary. They have also approved the five-substitutes rule for use in both leagues. https://t.co/JI3H7juib2
— Ronan Murphy (@swearimnotpaul) May 14, 2020
However, only eight teams over the weekend utilised all five substitutions. The likes of RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich used just three substitutes. We saw more substitutes coming on at the same time in twos and threes, something to get used to. This rule change could be huge in the success of teams and coaches looking to survive or win the league.
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