Another busy weekend in the Bundesliga and much to ponder.
Whichever way you assess the Bundesliga betting odds, of course, the reigning champions remain the overwhelming favourites to retain the title – what would be a ninth successive championship.
At the other end, the race to beat the drop is an intriguing one and a battle that is likely to produce just as many Bundesliga highlights.
But who were the winners and losers on match weekend 19?
With Cologne on a club-record run of 14 Bundesliga home games without a win, a period that stretched back 11 months to February 29 last season, Arminia Bielefield could have been forgiven for feeling hopeful as they arrived at the RheinEnergieStadion.
Marius Wolf, however, clearly had other ideas.
Within 10 minutes of kick-off, he had smashed a loose ball into the net for the opener. Then, just 18 minutes later, he grabbed his and Cologne’s second, again in the right place at the right time to pounce.
That set the tone for a 3-1 home success which lifted them two places above their opponents and Hertha Berlin.
During a weekend in which they were the only side in the bottom five to win, Wolf was the hero.
Quite a time to seal your team’s first home win for almost a year!
This may appear an odd choice by this SBOTOP writer. After all, a 1-1 draw at Werder Bremen may not have helped them ease much away from the relegation trapdoor.
Yet it was still a point which gives them a glimmer of hope.
Omar Mascarell’s first-half opener – his first Schalke goal in his 61st appearance for the club – had the Royal Blues on course for only their second win of the season before Kevin Möhwald struck late on to earn a point.
Yes, Christian Gross’ team still have the worst away record in the division (won none, drawn three, lost six) but if they could secure back-to-back wins they will make those sides above them uncomfortable.
This game also marked Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s second debut for the club, a decade after his first.
It is true that Bayern have not been at their best for spells this season compared to last – although it is far from easy to follow perfection, something they achieved last season with their Bundesliga-German Cup-Champions League treble.
That was shown once again as they cemented their place at the top of the standings with Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller among the goals in an emphatic 4-1 home win over Hoffenheim.
Bayern suffered their only competitive defeat of 2020 at the hands of Hoffenheim but there was no repeat in the Allianz Arena.
They have now scored at least once in their last 50 competitive matches and 58 goals at this stage of a Bundesliga season is a record.
When Frankfurt fell behind at home to Hertha Berlin on Saturday afternoon as the midway point of the second half approached, a question was immediately asked of their credentials as Champions League hopefuls.
Their reaction was as swift as it was impressive.
Andre Silva levelled almost immediately and then grabbed a second in stoppage time after Martin Hinteregger had headed home a second with six minutes remaining.
That sealed a 3-1 success which kept them a point clear of perennial runners-up Borussia Dortmund.
It’s six wins out of seven for Die Adler and seven goals in five games for Silva to take his tally to the season so far to 16 from 19 games – a Frankfurt club record.
I have only selected one loser this weekend.
Hertha Berlin may produce some special moments from time to time but they are out of form at this moment in time and in need of points quickly.
Their 3-1 reverse at Eintracht Frankfurt means they remain clear of the relegation play-off spot only on goal difference and have only two wins from their last 12.
The impressive Krzysztof Piatek netted again but, if Pal Dardai was hoping to mark his return as head coach with a victory after taking over from Bruno Labbadia, it quickly evaporated.
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