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Looking Around the League: Bayern Munich and Freiburg Stumble

FC Augsburg v FC Bayern München - Bundesliga Photo by Stefan Matzke - sampics/Corbis via Getty Images

Bayern Munich gave a shot in the arm to the rest of the Bundesliga this weekend, injecting new life into the season and allowing Borussia Dortmund back within a single point of the top of the table. Augsburg got in their two jabs before Robert Lewandowski struck back with a shot of his own, proving that no team is immune to his scoring touch. Without Joshua Kimmich, Bayern’s midfield failed to provide a natural defense, allowing Augsburg to breakthrough on goal and give BVB a boost in the title race.

Okay, those are all the puns I’ve got. Bayern Munich lost to Augsburg, and a big reason for their loss was the absence of the unvaccinated Joshua Kimmich, who was forced to miss the game because of a mandatory quarantine he underwent after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID. While Kimmich screwing Bayern over is funny in a bitter way, and gives us the opportunity to make cheap zingers at their expense, I would still prefer it if he gets the shot so he absolutely minimizes the possibility of him catching COVID and spreading it to someone else.

Other than that nonsense, it was actually an exciting weekend in the Bundesliga. Let’s jump into the action.

Results

Mainz 1-1 FC Köln

SC Freiburg 0-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

Union Berlin 2-0 Hertha Berlin

Borussia Dortmund 2-1 VFB Stuttgart

Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-0 Greuther Fürth

FC Augsburg 2-1 FC Bayern

Bayer Leverkusen 1-0 VFL Bochum

TSG Hoffenheim 2-0 RB Leipzig

Standings

Berlin is Red (wait, not like that)

Union Berlin have been the superior Berlin club for a few years now, so this isn’t exactly breaking news, but it’s pretty striking to think just how much the fortunes of each club have reversed. A mere decade ago, Hertha were one of the teams competing for the title while Union were languishing in obscurity in the lower German leagues. Now, Union are a consistently top-half team who can compete for European competitions, while Hertha Berlin are in a fight just to stay in the top flight.

The Berlin Derby isn’t really a traditional “rivalry” because the two clubs were separated during the Cold War and thus only started playing each other when Union were promoted to the Bundesliga a few years ago. Fans of Hertha Berlin and Union Berlin often saw their relationship as a cross-city friendship that transcended the barriers that divided the city. Despite the lack of animosity between the clubs, it’s still a derby in Germany’s largest city, and the atmosphere was electric.

Union got the scoring off early thanks to a shocking giveaway by Hertha center back Marton Dardai, who inadvertently knocked a loose ball to Taiwo Awoniyi. Union managed to grab another goal from Christopher Trimmel, who struck a long shot that wiggled through traffic before slipping past the keeper into the net.

Here are the highlights from the Augsburg-Bayern game. You’ll notice that on Augsburg’s first goal, a loose a ball was knocked right into the space where a defensive midfielder should have been, but there unfortunately wasn’t one to knock the ball away. On Augsburg’s second goal, Marcel Sabizter was dispossessed of the ball before Augsburg took it down the other way and scored. I wonder if there’s another Bayern midfielder who wouldn’t have turned the ball over like that?

Psst... I’m talking about Kimmich again! Get the shot you moron!

Meanwhile, SC Freiburg have been up there with Bayern and Borussia Dortmund all season, although as Paul talked about a few weeks ago, they could be due for some negative regression towards the mean, as they’ve been over-performing xG for a long time. It looks like Paul may have jinxed them, as since that article they’ve now lost two games in a row. Following their defeat against Eintracht Frankfurt this weekend, they’re now five points behind BVB and a point above Bayer Leverkusen in fourth. Union Berlin, Wolfsburg, and Leipzig are also chomping at their heels, so Freiburg will have a long way to go before they can qualify for European competitions.

At the bottom end of the table, Augsburg’s victory over Bayern allowed them to leapfrog Stuttgart in the automatic safety zone.

Your Thoughts

Is Berlin red? Is the writing on the wall for Freiburg?