Bayern Munich failed to extend their lead at the top of the Bundesliga after falling to a 3-2 defeat to Borussia Mönchengladbach. The defending champions were reduced to 10 men as they failed to win a sixth consecutive H2H with the Foals.
Mönchengladbach’s European push suffered after a poor start to 2023 and the Foals’ 4-1 humbling at Hertha Berlin last time out left them with further ground to make up to the Bundesliga’s top six. Bayern were set to provide another tough test after winning their last four in all competitions, but Dayot Upamecano’s early sending-off for a last-man challenge on Alassane Pléa gave the hosts a lucky break they desperately needed.
Without hesitation, Daniel Farke’s men seized upon their numerical advantage and Lars Stindl’s thumping strike from the edge of the area flew past former Foals goalkeeper Yann Sommer moments after Upamecano’s dismissal. The Rekordmeister soon regrouped and Mönchengladbach were undone by Alphonso Davies’ blistering run as the wing-back raced into the penalty area and cut back to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who fired past Jonas Omlin.
Bayern would have to rediscover the scoring form that produced 12 goals in their previous four matches, and Joshua Kimmich tried his luck from distance, but his powerful strike flew just over the crossbar. Inevitably, Mönchengladbach continued to utilise their advantage and restored the lead when Jonas Hofmann played a one-two with Pléa inside the area and drilled under Sommer. Sensing an opportunity to put the game to bed, the Foals piled forward and substitute Marcus Thuram exploited Bayern’s open defence and scored his first goal of 2023 with a tidy finish into the bottom corner before
Gladbach very nervously saw out victory, despite a late consolation from Mathys Tel, earning three points that could reignite their European push in the final third of the season. Once again, Bayern and Julian Nagelsmann were tormented by the Foals, and the Rekordmeister could find themselves off the summit by the end of the weekend, as Union Berlin and Borussia Dortmund close in.
SC Freiburg ended a run of three consecutive away defeats in the Bundesliga with a 2-0 victory over VfL Bochum, condemning the hosts to their first home loss in the league since September.
Bochum have won just one of their 11 away Bundesliga games, but they have tended to be an entirely different beast in front of their vociferous home support at the Vonovia Ruhrstadion. Aiming for a sixth straight home league victory, the hosts started the contest the stronger of the two sides. Christopher Antwi-Adjei’s nimble footwork created the space for the winger to fire over within five minutes, while Takuma Asano produced the first shot on target, driving his strike into the clutches of the untroubled Mark Flekken.
The Dutchman’s opposite number, Manuel Riemann, had to wait until the 26th minute before he was called upon to gather Ritsu Doan’s flicked header. Fifteen of Freiburg’s 32 league goals prior to their trip to Bochum had arrived from set-pieces, so it was perhaps unsurprising that Michael Gregoritsch’s goal came from another dead-ball situation. Vincenzo Grifo’s dangerous corner-kick found the back post run of Gregoritsch, who tucked home his eighth league goal of the season.
Bochum’s hopes of continuing their impressive home form were effectively ended within six minutes of the restart as Lucas Höler towered over HT substitute Kostas Stafylidis to power a header past Riemann. Just after the hour mark, matters went from bad to worse for the hosts when Anthony Losilla was given his marching orders for a dangerous challenge on Nicolas Höfler - representing Bochum’s first red card of the season.
Leading by two goals and boasting a numerical advantage, an air of complacency crept into Freiburg’s performance, allowing Philipp Hofmann and Jordi Osei-Tutu to go close, but fortunately for the visitors, the dependable Flekken was equal to both efforts. In the closing stages, referee Felix Zwayer was called to monitor for a potential Freiburg penalty, and although he decided against awarding the spot kick, it did little to dampen the spirits of Christian Streich’s side, who remain in fourth place following the victory, while Bochum drop into the relegation playoff spot.
VfB Stuttgart bookended a winless Bundesliga run of six games in emphatic fashion, demolishing a very in-form Cologne 3-0 at the Mercedes Benz Arena to move out of the bottom three on goal difference.
For a side two points worse off than they were in their most recent relegation campaign, Stuttgart displayed great composure in possession, against a Cologne side that had only conceded two goals across their last five league outings. That meant it would always take something spectacular to breach the visitors’ backline, and with 19 minutes gone, Gil Dias controlled a smooth ball from Genki Haraguchi on the edge of the box before firing exquisitely into the top-left corner via the woodwork to give Stuttgart a dream start.
No Bundesliga team had won fewer games than Stuttgart after scoring first this season prior to kick-off, and Stuttgart’s eagerness to avoid further disappointment almost saw a second goal just seven minutes later, when Silas Katompa Mvumpa shot from the edge of the box and saw his effort whistle wide. And Dias almost bagged a second shortly before HT, with an ambitious 20-yard effort arrowing towards the roof being stopped in midair by Marvin Schwäbe.
Cologne boss Steffen Baumgart made a double change at the interval, but it did nothing to visibly rejuvenate the visitors. Stuttgart remained in control and sealed the points shortly before the hour mark. The Swabians won a free kick outside the penalty area, and Borna Sosa produced a thunderbolt into the top-right corner of Schwäbe’s net for his first goal since November 2021.
Stuttgart were firmly on top by now, and it always seemed a mere question of when their third would arrive. Tanguy Coulibaly provided the answer on 74 minutes, when a failed clearance from the visitors allowed Wataru Endo to find the Frenchman on the right flank, and he in turn danced into the area before firing past Schwäbe at the near post via a deflection from Julian Chabot, ending a goal drought that had spanned back to December 2020.
The final ten minutes were little more than a procession for both sides, giving Stuttgart a vital three points in their quest to stay afloat as they made it three wins in four top-flight home H2Hs. Having vanquished the now 11th-placed Cologne, manager Bruno Labbadia will be particularly relieved, having avoided the distinction of being the only Stuttgart boss in history to not win any of his first six Bundesliga games.
RB Leipzig ran out 3-0 winners against Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena. The Red Bulls have now tasted defeat just once in the twelve meetings between the two sides since 2018.
RB Leipzig had gone eight consecutive away games without a loss in all competitions, scoring 21 goals in those games. The Red Bulls fine form on the road looked set to continue when they took the lead after just 14 minutes, as Emil Forsberg rifled a shot from the edge of the box into the bottom corner leaving no chance to Koen Casteels. Leipzig continued to play on the front foot as the first half went on, and they almost doubled their lead five minutes before the break through Dominik Szoboszlai. The Hungarian saw his thunderous free-kick clip the outside of the post before going behind as the Wolfsburg faithful breathed a sigh of relief.
The home side started the second-half much better as they looked to bounce back and end a winless run of four games across all competitions. The Wolves went close just five minutes into the half as Felix Nmecha hit a low effort across the goalkeeper towards the far corner, but Janis Blaswich was alert and managed to make the save. However, Wolfsburg were almost caught out ten minutes later as they needed a goal line clearance from Micky van de Ven to keep their chances of a comeback alive, as André Silva was denied a goal.
Christopher Nkunku made an appearance for the visitors after 98 days out through injury and nearly marked his long awaited return with a goal, but the Frenchman fired his shot well over the bar after finding himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Leipzig doubled their lead in the closing ten minutes through Konrad Laimer, as the Austrian was played through by Nkunku before calmly placing the ball across the keeper and into the bottom corner. Leipzig’s demolition of Wolfsburg was completed in added time, as Szoboszlai finally got himself on the scoresheet as he rifled home a thunderous strike from inside the area.
Victory for Leipzig leaves them just four points shy of league leaders Bayern Munich. Wolfsburg however, currently run the risk of losing touch with the European places, having lost three of their last four league games.