With title rivals Borussia Dortmund not playing until later this evening, Bayern were presented with a golden opportunity to open up daylight between themselves and their nearest challengers. Clearly incentivised by that, the Rekordmeister started on the front foot and there was a growing sense it was a matter of when, not if, they opened the scoring. Jamal Musiala came tantalisingly close to doing so when he fired an effort handsomely wide, but Bayern didn’t have to wait too much longer to find their elusive opener.
It was the ever-reliable Thomas Müller who grabbed it, curling home a sumptuous effort on his weaker left foot after he was teed up perfectly by Leroy Sané. No sooner had Bayern got one, they were presented with a golden opportunity for a second when Musiala was felled by Cédric Brunner in the area. As soon as it became clear Joshua Kimmich was the man stepping forward from the spot, the outcome was never in doubt, sending Alexander Schwolow the wrong way to double Bayern’s advantage.
If the game wasn’t already over at 2-0, then it certainly was when the hosts added their third shortly after the break. João Cancelo did the heavy lifting in the build up and retained his composure in the area to set up Serge Gnabry, who worked himself a yard before slamming home to fire Thomas Tuchel’s men into an unassailable lead. Gnabry wasn’t done there either, with the unrelenting wideman doubling his tally for the afternoon when he jinked into the area and finished with aplomb as Schalke were beginning to be humiliated.
Bayern didn’t heed the visitors’ plea for mercy though, adding their fifth goal 10 minutes from time when Mathys Tel got in on the act, before Noussair Mazraoui notched up number six in stoppage time to wrap up a sixth-straight H2H victory at the Allianz Arena and heap yet more misery upon Schalke who find themselves occupying the relegation play-off spot again.
Beginning the current gameweek sitting ominously on the fringes of facing an extended 2022/23 Bundesliga campaign, the majority inside the stadium did not have a chance to settle into their seats before rising again in celebration. Not on the scoresheet since mid-November, Christopher Antwi-Adjei sensationally ended his six-month drought in front of goal inside the opening two minutes - the fastest strike in the Bundesliga this season - as the Ghanaian midfielder expertly cut in on an Augsburg defender before unleashing a fearsome strike past visiting goalkeeper Tomáš Koubek.
On the back of drawing first blood in their must-win ‘relegation six-pointer’, Bochum were close to doubling their advantage shortly after, as Japanese superstar Takuma Asano forced an instinctive save from Koubek. Winless in the Bundesliga since emerging victorious from a five-goal thriller with Schalke at the beginning of October, Augsburg were level against the run of play in the 29th minute as Arne Maier sublimely found the bottom left-hand corner following determined build-up play from Dion Drena Beljo.
Both sides reappeared for the second half to the sight of a downpour of rain, but that did not stop Bochum from coming close to a repeat of their lightning start to the contest. This time, however, Koubek was able to prevent Anthony Losilla’s close-range header from hitting the back of the net. Nevertheless, the Czech shot-stopper was helpless in preventing Thomas Letsch’s side from restoring their lead shortly before the hour-mark, as Augsburg captain Jeffrey Gouweleeuw unintentionally turned Antwi-Adjei’s cross beyond the grasp of his own goalkeeper. After single-handling keeping his side in the game, Koubek was frustratingly beaten again three minutes later, as Losilla’s ambitious strike took a fortuitous deflection on its trajectory past the Augsburg goalkeeper at his near post.
Substitute Kelvin Yeboah gave Augsburg hope of a late comeback with his first-ever Bundesliga goal with five minutes to go. However, Bochum kept their composure to take a considerable step towards spending a third successive season in the German top-flight, ahead of another proverbial ‘six-pointer’ next week against basement boys Hertha Berlin. Meanwhile, Augsburg remain embroiled in the heavily-contested survival battle, situated only four points above the bottom three, staring at the realistic prospect of dropping out of the Bundesliga for the first time in 13 years.
Eintracht Frankfurt were assertive from the outset and a spell of sustained possession eventually led to the host’s first chance to strike when Kamada was caught by a lunging Andreas Hanche-Olsen in the Mainz area for a penalty. Despite not scoring in the Bundesliga since October 2022, Kamada stepped up confidently and dispatched his spot-kick low into the corner, just past a full-stretch Robin Zentner.
Although Frankfurt failed to lose after scoring first in their last 14 Bundesliga games, Die Adler allowed Mainz chances to hit back, and Marcus Ingvartsen came closest to an equaliser when his deflected shot looped over Kevin Trapp and bounced inches wide. Just before HT, Aurélio Buta gave Frankfurt hope of sealing a first Bundesliga win in 11 matches as he unleashed an unstoppable first-time half-volley from a tight angle high into the net past Zentner.
Desperate to mount a comeback and avoid a third consecutive league defeat, Mainz took control of the game in the second period but struggled to make inroads against a compact Frankfurt. Die Adler then pounced on the counter, allowing Randal Kolo Muani to fashion a yard of space with some trickery on the edge of the area before striking his 14th Bundesliga goal of the campaign with a curling shot into the bottom corner.
Even with just three wins since the mid-way point of the season, Frankfurt remain only three points off the Bundesliga’s top-six and Oliver Glasner will hope this complete performance can kick-start a late points haul for Die Adler. Just one victory in six now leaves Mainz four points off the European places and Bo Svensson’s side will need maximum points from their final two fixtures to break into the top-six.
Both sides entered this crucial contest fully aware that the result would have huge ramifications for their top-four aspirations. With so much at stake, it was the hosts who dealt with the early nerves to take a fifth-minute lead through Kevin Behrens. The Union forward was given the time and space in the Freiburg box to shift the ball on his left foot and drive a low effort past Mark Flekken.
Still reeling from back-to-back defeats to RB Leipzig in the DFB-Pokal and Bundesliga, Freiburg attempted to restore parity just before the half-hour mark when Lukas Kübler forced Frederik Rønnow to tip the ball over the crossbar. It proved to be just a fleeting moment of promise though, with the wheels coming off in the latter stages of the first period as Sheraldo Becker netted a quick-fire brace. After playing a neat one-two with Robin Knoche, the 28-year-old slid the ball through the legs of the onrushing goalkeeper to bring up his 10th Bundesliga goal of the season. Becker’s 11th quickly followed courtesy of a low strike that appeared to catch Flekken off guard, rounding off a dominant first-half display from the hosts.
With a mountain to climb, Manuel Gulde attempted to ignite an unlikely Freiburg comeback when he headed home from Vincenzo Grifo’s corner in the 56th minute. The visitors were then gifted the chance to halve the deficit when Danilho Doekhi brought down Roland Sallai in the box. Grifo assumed responsibility and kept his cool to produce a remarkable Panenka in a high-pressure moment.
However, Freiburg’s hopes of picking up a point were dashed by Aïssa Laïdouni, who rounded off a swift counter-attack with his first Union goal. There was still time for Matthias Ginter to rattle the woodwork and have an effort cleared off the line, but the hosts saw out the remainder of the contest to claim a crucial home win that moves them up to third position and leaves Freiburg in fifth place.
Wolfsburg came into the game on the back of a record-equalling 6-0 humiliation at the hands of Borussia Dortmund. But the hosts very nearly got off to the worst possible start as Hoffenheim rattled the bar after just seven minutes, as Andrej Kramarić made space for himself before unleashing a strike from mid-range. However, Die Wölfe stood strong and managed to take the lead after 15 minutes through Jakub Kamiński, after the Polish youngster was on hand to head home from Ridle Baku’s inch perfect cross.
The visitors continued to dominate the game following Wolfsburg’s opener, as they looked to end a run of away fixtures that had seen them win just once in 11 games (D2, L8). And Der Blau went close to finding an equaliser as the game was approaching half-time as United States international John Brookes rose highest from a corner but he could only head wide of the right post. However, the hosts didn’t seem fazed and continued to sit deep and soak up pressure and hit Hoffenheim on the counter.
The game continued to follow the same pattern after the break with Hoffenheim threatening an equaliser, and the visitors had their best opportunity of the game after 57 minutes, as Mu’nas Dabbur found himself in space in the centre of the box with a free shot on goal, but the Israeli sent his shot over the bar.
Niko Kovač’s men made their visitors regret their missed chances with 15 minutes left to play, after Luca Waldschmidt got onto the end of a sublime Felix Nmecha cross to double their lead. Kovač had challenged his side to “show their true colours” after their embarrassing defeat in their last game, and he would’ve been far happier seeing his side's performance here, with far more fight on display from the home side. The visitors pulled one back late in added time, after Tom Bischof’s cross was turned into his own goal by Josuha Guilavogui.
However, despite Hoffenheim’s late fightback Wolfsburg managed to see out the game to secure an important three points in their chase for a top-six finish, as they climb to sixth prior to Bayer Leverkusen’s game tomorrow. Meanwhile, Hoffenheim are not yet safe from relegation, as they now sit just two points ahead of Schalke in 16th.