There was plenty of action across the Bundesliga during Matchday 14, as six of the top seven prior to kick-off faced off...
Super Eagles soar past champions
Winless in five previous outings and on a run of four straight losses, Eintracht Frankfurt could not have been welcoming champions Bayern Munich at a worse time on Matchday 14. Despite Thomas Tuchel's Bavarian giants going in search of a seventh consecutive Bundesliga win, Dino Toppmöller called for his side to show a positive response to their recent travails. "Everyone should convey from the first second against Bayern that they're up for it," the 43-year-old insisted. His side answered that call in emphatic fashion.
Snapping at the visitors' heels from the off, the Eagles raced into a deserved lead through Omar Marmoush's seventh top-flight goal of the campaign. Éric Dina Ebimbe added a second as the rain teemed down on an electric Deutsche Bank Park and when Hugo Larsson added a third on 36 minutes, the Frankfurt faithful were in raptures. Joshua Kimmich pulling a goal back for Bayern failed to dampen home spirits, with Dina Ebimbe adding his second before Ansgar Knauff completed the Eintracht scoring on the most dramatic of afternoons in Mainhatten. "This time our performance was unbelievable," Toppmöller enthused afterwards.
"It was an outstanding game from us," goalscorer Marmoush added. "You could see that everyone was playing for each other out there. It’s just amazing to celebrate a win like this against the best team in Germany," the Egyptian concluded, as the Frankfurt fans went into the evening singing in the rain.
Leverkusen on the ropes but show resilience
Few would have tipped Bayer Leverkusen's trip to Stuttgart to be a top-of-the-table encounter back in August, but both sides deserve their status as title contenders thanks to their impressive displays throughout the campaign. The clash at the MHPArena had all the makings of a thrilling encounter, and it ultimately delivered as the two sides went toe-to-toe.
Die Werkself went into the clash unbeaten in all competitions this term, but they were put under intense pressure by Stuttgart prior to the interval. In fact, Die Schwaben notched up 18 shots during the first half, the most Leverkusen have faced in the opening 45 minutes of a league game since April 2006. They also found themselves behind to a Chris Führich tap-in, but subsequently showed impressive resilience to restore parity shortly after the restart through Florian Wirtz before putting their opponents under the cosh themselves.
Ultimately, they couldn't find a winner and were therefore unable to take advantage of Bayern's slip-up, but Xabi Alonso will still be delighted by the way his players responded to adversity.
Leipzig in the hunt
A Super Matchday fixture that delivered the drama in spades, those who witnessed RB Leipzig's dramatic 3-2 victory away at Borussia Dortmund were left with plenty to discuss. A second successive Bundesliga win for Die Roten Bullen has Marco Rose's side buzzing as they snuggle back into the title race. Mats Hummels' third career sending off may have aided the visitors' cause at the Signal Iduna Park, but Leipzig still needed to make their numerical advantage tell.
The Saxony-based needed a Ramy Bensebaini own goal to get going on the scoring front, but their slick attacking play merited nothing less than a lead. Christoph Baumgartner and Yussuf Poulsen would later add the necessary cushion, even if a late Niclas Füllkrug strike tested their nerves in the final couple of minutes. Bayern's defeat and the draw between Stuttgart and Leverkusen allowed Leipzig to reduce the deficit to all three sides in the table, and the seven-point gap to the table's summit is far from insurmountable.
Watch: Dortmund vs. Leipzig: A new-age rivalry
Dortmund have hope
It was certainly a difficult day at the office for BVB, and the result saw them lose more ground in both the battle for the top four and the title race - they have now also won just one of their last six Bundesliga games. However, despite losing Hummels and going behind, they refused to lie down, and it is that fighting spirit that will surely stand Edin Terzić's men in good stead.
Dortmund famously finished runners-up to eventual champions Bayern last term yet after 15 games of the 2022/23 season, had already lost six times. That spurred Die Schwarzgelben on to an eight-game winning streak, meaning they have the experience and the know-how to recover from their current domestic travails. On paper, Dortmund have a run of winnable games to come, too, as they face five of the bottom six in their next six fixtures. They could be right in the mix once more before we know it.
Union bounce back
After Union Berlin notched back-to-back 4-1 wins over Mainz and Darmstadt to kick off the 2023/24 Bundesliga campaign, few would have expected them to go another two-and-a-half months without picking up another victory in any competition. The last few months have been difficult for Die Eisernen, with their 14-game winless run ending fan favourite Urs Fischer's successful five-year reign as head coach, and the first two games under new boss Nenad Bjelica also failed to turn the tide.
However, the UEFA Champions League 1-1 draw with Serie A champions Napoli in the penultimate outing of Fischer's tenure, as well as subsequent sharing of the spoils against Braga and Augsburg following his dismissal, allowed the side from the capital to put a 12-game losing streak behind them. This weekend, in front of a packed house at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, they were finally triumphant as they defeated Borussia Mönchengladbach 3-1 courtesy of goals from Kevin Volland, Benedict Hollerbach and Mikkel Kaufmann.
Having found themselves rock bottom a couple of weeks ago, they are now out of the relegation zone, and positivity has returned to Köpenick. While they go into their clash with Real Madrid as clear underdogs, this win will no doubt give them confidence that they can pull off an almighty shock.
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