Bundesliga Bundesliga 2
Marco Reus (r.), still with Borussia Mönchengladbach at the time, kick-started the second half of the 2011/12 campaign with an eleventh-minute strike in the opening game against Bayern Munich Patrick Herrmann's ensuing brace wrapped up a 3-1 win for the Foals, moving them to within a point of league leaders Bayern. Just over half a year previously, they had only escaped relegation by way of the play-offs Unlike Bayern, defending champions Borussia Dortmund started the second half of the season in style, racking up a comprehensive 5-1 win at Hamburger SV Polish pair Robert Lewandowski (pictured) and Jakub Blaszczykowski each bagged a brace in the stunning perrformance New man in charge: Long-time youth and assistant coach Christian Streich took over at SC Freiburg after a disappointing first season-half, which had left the team from the Breisgau bottom of the table on just 13 points Freiburg sold a number of their top players during the winter break - first and foremost among them prolific frontman Papiss Cisse (37 goals in 65 Bundesliga games) - as Streich opted to put his faith in upcoming prospects. The strategy reaped immediate dividends, 18-year-old Matthias Ginter scoring the only goal of the game on Streich's debut against FC Augsburg Third-placed Schalke 04 consolidated their good early form, securing comfortable wins over VfB Stuttgart (3-1, pictured) and away to 1. FC Köln (4-1) Michael Skibbe (l.) enjoyed an altogether less successful January: Hertha BSC Berlin's newly installed coach, succeeding Markus Babbel, started with defeats against 1. FC Nuremberg and Hamburger SV 26 players were signed by the 18 clubs over the winter break. One of the most prominent was Vedad Ibisevic, who might have been wondering whether joining Stuttgart from 1899 Hoffenheim was quite the right decision after losing the first two matches After featuring in the 3-2 win against Mainz 05 on Matchday 18, Bayer Leverkusen skipper Michael Ballack was relegated to the bench by coach Robin Dutt. It was a much talked-about decision, which did little to improve Bayer's fortunes over the following weeks
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