Harry Kane took his Bundesliga tally for the season to 20 goals with a brace against Stuttgart. - © IMAGO/Kirchner/David Inderlied
Harry Kane took his Bundesliga tally for the season to 20 goals with a brace against Stuttgart. - © IMAGO/Kirchner/David Inderlied
bundesliga

Harry Kane back on the scoresheet and four other Matchday 15 talking points

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Harry Kane found the back of the net once more as Bayern Munich got the better of Stuttgart, and Bayer Leverkusen made sure they will be top of the table at Christmas with victory against Eintracht Frankfurt. Here are the five big talking points from a captivating Matchday 15...

1) Kane back on the scoresheet

Given how prolific Kane has been so far this campaign, a three-game goal drought could almost be deemed a mini-crisis for the England captain. However, after failing to find the back of the net against Copenhagen and Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League and versus Frankfurt on the Bundesliga's Matchday 14, Bayern's number nine was back on the scoresheet, bagging a brace as Die Roten defeated Stuttgart 3-0 at the Allianz Arena.

Neither strike was remarkable - the first was a tap-in, while the second was a free header inside the six-yard box - but a clinical finisher like Kane will not mind. These latest efforts take his league tally for the campaign to 20 strikes, which makes him only the third player after Gerd Müller (20, 1968/69) and Robert Lewandowski (22, 2020/21) to reach that haul during the first half of a season. In all competitions, he has 24 goals - there are few more superlatives remaining with which to describe the 30-year-old.

The victory also sees Bayern bounce back from the 5-1 defeat against Frankfurt. Going into the final round of matches before the winter break, they are four points adrift of Leverkusen having played a game less. It is still all to play for as Thomas Tuchel's men go in search of a 12th consecutive Meisterschale.

Watch: Harry Kane - My story

2) Leverkusen top at Christmas

After consecutive 1-1 draws slowed down their momentum somewhat, Leverkusen returned to winning ways on Matchday 15 as they defeated Frankfurt 3-0 at the BayArena. It was a controlled, professional performance, with Victor Boniface, Jeremie Frimpong and Florian Wirtz all finding the back of the net and, had the woodwork not denied Wirtz and Piero Hincapié late on, the margin of victory would have been even greater.

The result means that Leverkusen will top the table at Christmas regardless of the outcome when they face Bochum in midweek, doing so for the first time since the 2009/10 campaign. It has been a stunning season for Die Werkself so far – they remain unbeaten, in all competitions, the longest such run to kick off a term in Germany since Hamburg in 1982/83, while the 42 goals they have scored in the Bundesliga after 15 matches is a club record.

Their 39-point tally is also one they have never previously matched at this point of a season, and they can end 2023 on a further high with a win on Wednesday. Right now, it is hard to see who can stop Leverkusen and, if they can match this pace after the winter break, it will take a monumental effort to stop them.

3) Fairytale exit for Forsberg

RB Leipzig's 3-1 victory over Hoffenheim was relatively routine, as they dominated possession and created a host of chances on their way to picking up all three points. However, it was a particularly special evening for Emil Forsberg, who played a key role in the victory on what was an emotional day for the Sweden international.

In January, Forsberg will depart Leipzig for sister club New York Red Bulls, ending an eight-year association with the Saxony-based outfit. He signed at the start of 2015, when Leipzig were still a second-tier side, and has been there every step of the way as Die Roten Bullen have established themselves as one of Germany’s biggest clubs. He was a key component of their run to the 2019/20 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, and will leave with two DFB Cup winners medals to his name.

In his 323rd and penultimate Leipzig appearance – and the final one in front of his own supporters – Forsberg’s contribution was crucial. He scored within four minutes of coming on from the bench to give his side the lead, before almost finding the back of the net direct from a corner as Mohamed Simakan bundled home the rebound. RBL’s history may be a relatively short one, but there are few players who have shaped the club’s rise like the 32-year-old.

Watch: Forsberg's emotional Leipzig farewell

4) Augsburg on the up

It was a disappointing day at the office for Borussia Dortmund as they were held to a 1-1 draw away at Augsburg on Saturday afternoon. Die Schwarzgelben fell behind to a goal from Ermedin Demirović, and although Donyell Malen did equalize before half-time to salvage a point for his side, the result means Edin Terzić’s men have not won any of their previous five games in all competitions.

While Dortmund have lost momentum, though, Die Fuggerstädter are flying. This latest point means they have lost just once in eight outings under new manager Jess Thorup, and they now sit a comfortable 10th, eight points above the relegation play-off spot. With 14 goals already across Thorup’s reign, they are clearly able to cause consistent problems for their opponents, as BVB found out to their peril during Matchday 15. Captain Demirović, who has eight strikes and five assists already this Bundesliga campaign, has been especially dangerous.

With Stuttgart, Leverkusen, Bayern and Leipzig all to come over the next six games, the new-found confidence Augsburg have picked up under Thorup will be put to the test. However, if they can reproduce this latest display on a regular basis, they may well upset the apple cart some more in weeks to come.

Jess Thorup has reversed Augsburg's fortunes since being appointed manager. - IMAGO

5) Heidenheim off the mark on the road

Heidenheim needed only the one goal to defeat Mainz at the MEWA Arena, with Marvin Pieringer scoring in the 12th minute to secure the win for his team. Frank Schmidt’s men broke new ground in this encounter – not only was it their maiden away victory in the Bundesliga, but it was also the first time they had even take the lead amongst the elite on their travels.

Despite that, the matter in which they did find the back of the net was an all too familiar story – Pieringer headed home Benedikt Gimber’s flick-on from a free-kick for what was his side’s 12th goal from set-pieces so far this campaign, which is a Bundesliga lead. They have found a real weapon in their aerial ability, and are putting it to good use.

After defeating fellow newly-promoted outfit Darmstadt 3-2 on Matchday 14, FCH have now won back-to-back matches at this level for the first time. Seventeen points from 15 matches puts Heidenheim 12th in the table, a solid return considering they have already played Dortmund, Leverkusen, Bayern and Leipzig away from home. It has taken Schmidt over 16 years to reach the Bundesliga – he is clearly in no mood to depart it with a whimper.