There was a time when U.S. soccer channels would broadcast three live Bundesliga games per weekend. Now that it's become the most competitive and
watchable league in Europe, coverage has for some reason been scaled back, while GolTV's excellent highlights program "Hallo Bundesliga" seems to have disappeared. Yet another
high-scoring weekend, with only one game producing less than three goals, should have the broadcaster re-prioritizing the German top flight.
The one game televised live was
Sunday's testy but tasty northern German derby between Hamburg and Werder Bremen. Bremen's Brazilian playmaker Diego
leveled Martin Guerrero
's early strike with yet another beautifully struck free kick, but the winning goal from Ivica Olic
, sweetly sent on its way
with his left foot from 25 yards out into the top corner, was a worthy winner of any game. The Croat's fifth goal of the season kept Hamburg, appropriately enough, in fifth position.
Hamburg coach Martin Jol
said his team started well, and in the second half "showed passion and fight, while Werder played a better game. You
can't really say our victory was deserved, but of course I'm very happy." His Werder counterpart Thomas Schaaf
agreed: "The result was bad
of course, but the performance very good." Despite having scored 32 goals in 14 games, his team sits only ninth.
Hoffenheim's Bosnian striker (and St. Louis product) Vedad Ibisevic
continued his remarkable scoring run with two more goals, taking him to 16 for the season, as his team went three points clear at the top with a 3-1
win at Cologne. The other came from his striking partner Demba Ba
, who looks relatively unprolific with just seven. Coach Ralf
unsurprisingly declared himself "very happy" with the game and the result, while Cologne's Christoph Daum
hinted that his team
needs to be tougher: "Maybe we let ourselves be wiped off the field a little bit today. Because Hoffenheim's foul count was higher."
Bayer Leverkusen lost ground with a
surprise defeat at Bielefeld, which won 2-1 and pulled itself out of the relegation zone thanks to goals from Artur Wichniarek
and Daniel Halfar
. Leverkusen's goal from Patrick Helmes
was not enough, just as it had been for Germany midweek in the 2-1 loss to England.
Leverkusen coach Bruno Labbadia
thought that "with a bit of luck we could have made it 2-2, but today we let go of the hand brake a bit too late."
That loss allowed Bayern Munich, with an easy 4-1 home win over bottom-place Energie Cottbus, to draw level with Leverkusen on points. Franck Ribery was again the savior after Ervin Skela
had had the audacity to put Cottbus ahead with a free kick. Ribery equalized the same way before goals from Martin
(for once scoring at the right end), Miroslav Klose
(his fifth of the campaign, set up by Ribery) and Luca
(his sixth) sealed the win. "The team's finding its rhythm," said Bayern coach Juergen Klinsmann
, although he somewhat greedily
wished that his side had scored "a couple more goals."
Breathing down the neck of Bayer and Bayern in fourth place is Hertha Berlin, which raced into a 3-0 first-half lead
at Bochum through its two Brazilians, Rafael
, and one from Serbian midfielder Gojko Kacar
. A second-half Bochum comeback fell just one goal short, helped possibly by the fact that Bochum coach Marcel Koller
"got a bit
loud" at halftime, in his own words. Hertha's Lucien Favre
complained that his team "lost concentration" in the second half. Maybe they were
affected by the noise coming from the other locker room at the interval.
An even better second-half performance came from Wolfsburg, which hit Stuttgart four times, including three in
the final quarter hour, after going in at the interval 1-0 down. Brazilian forward Grafite
scored twice, taking his season's total to 11, while his Bosnian
strike partner Edin Dzeko
claimed the other two. "At halftime we pulled ourselves together and sounded the charge. And it paid off," said Wolfsburg
coach Felix Magath
. Stuttgart's Armin Veh
, meanwhile, saw his team "mentally break down in the second
half." Not to mention defensively.
Of the three Americans in action, only one had a good weekend. Neven Subotic
helped anchor the Dortmund
defense in a 1-0 win at lowly Karlsruhe, keeping his side sixth. Michael Bradley
played through for Borussia Moenchengladbach as it fell, 3-1, at Schalke, for
whom Halil Altintop
scored twice. And Steve Cherundolo
's Hannover lost 4-0 at Eintracht Frankfurt, but if it's any consolation,
Eintracht's coach Friedhelm Funkel
said, "We didn't have the best of days and the score was way too high. So we have to be self-critical." On
the other hand, how bad is it to lose 4-0 to a team not having its best day? Goals scored weekend Nov. 21-23:
34 in nine games (3.78 per
game) Goals scored in 2008-09 season:
390 in 126 games (3.1 per game)