Bundesliga stars from Leipzig to Leverkusen and Stuttgart had their time to shine on Matchday 13. - © Getty/Imago
Bundesliga stars from Leipzig to Leverkusen and Stuttgart had their time to shine on Matchday 13. - © Getty/Imago

Leverkusen rescue unbeaten run and four other Matchday 13 talking points


After heavy snow gave Bayern Munich an unexpected weekend off, the spotlight was turned onto the rest of the Bundesliga's leading pack in an intriguing Matchday 13.

1) Schick the returning hero as Leverkusen remain unbeaten

Given the blistering scoring form of new signing Victor Boniface so far this season, there have understandably been question marks as to where Czech striker Patrik Schick would fit into Xabi Alonso's soaring side when he finally returned from an injury problem that ruled him out for the best part of the last year.

Having played a single minute of Bundesliga action this season prior to the weekend, Schick immediately showed that he can play alongside the Nigerian signing very effectively indeed. Just seconds after coming on with Leverkusen trailing Dortmund and at serious risk of losing for the first time of the season, Schick laid the ball across the goalmouth on a plate for Boniface to tap in his eighth goal of the season.  

Watch: Highlights of Leverkusen's 1-1 draw against Dortmund

Dortmund's backline had resisted everything Leverkusen had thrown at them up to that point. While a 1-1 draw against last season's runners-up may seem below the expectations created by a sensational run of 14 wins in a row in all competitions, Schick's spectacular reintegration into the side bodes well for Leverkusen's hopes of mounting a title bid. 

2) Loïs the dependable fires Leipzig into top four

Leipzig's 2-1 home win against Heidenheim is one that might get filed under workmanlike rather than spectacular, and Loïs Openda's calm opener from the penalty spot matched that tone. It was a strike that put the Belgian into double figures for goals already this season, however, leaving no doubt that the summer signing has settled into life in Leipzig wonderfully.

Given Openda's brace at Manchester City in the UEFA Champions League in midweek, he is clearly also a forward picking up some formidable form. 

Watch: Openda opens scoring as Leipzig beat Heideheim 2-1

Openda shows no sign of being satisfied with the 10 strikes from 13 appearances that place him third behind Harry Kane and Serhou Guirassy in the top scorer's race. He told bundesliga.com after the win against Heidenheim: "I scored only ten goals, but I think I had a chance to score more. I have to work on that."

Borussia Dortmund's defence will be the next to feel Openda's insatiable appetite for goals when they host Leipzig - one spot above them in fourth - in a big showdown next Saturday evening.

3) Guirassy and Undav walk the walk 

There was plenty of speculation in midweek about Stuttgart coach Sebastian Hoeneß's attacking selection plans. Would he start Deniz Undav yet again ahead of fit-again scoring sensation Serhou Guirassy, as he had in the 2-1 win in Frankfurt in Matchday 12?

As it happens, Hoeneß put his cards onto the table early - and came up trumps. The Stuttgart boss said ahead of the match that both of the scintillating strikers would start together for the first time, and they promptly both scored in a 2-0 win over Werder Bremen.

Watch: Undav and Guirassy both net as Stuttgart beat Bremen

The deadly duo helped Stuttgart cement third place with their tenth win of the season by forming a fluent attacking triangle with Silas that regularly opened up the Werder Bremen defence.

Leaders Bayer Leverkusen will be next in the sensational strike pairing's firing line in another tantalising Matchday 14 clash. 

4) Cologne shake up the bottom

Cologne's iconic coach Steffen Baumgart promises one thing regardless of results - sheer grit from his side. A six-pointer at newly promoted Darmstadt on a freezing cold Friday was just the kind of setting where that virtue can make the difference - and so it proved, with Davie Selke scrambling a winner to secure the Billy Goats' first away win of the season in an even affair.

Watch: Darmstadt 0-1 Cologne - highlights

The victory shakes things up at the bottom of the table, with six teams separated by just four points and jostling to position themselves away from relegation danger. Cologne have leapt clear of Union Berlin (whose match in Munich was postponed) and away from the bottom of the table all the way up to fifteenth, level with Darmstadt on nine points. 

Mainz's 1-0 defeat at home to Freiburg leaves them in 17th on eight points, while defeats for Werder Bremen and Heidenheim mean they are just two points clear of Cologne. There are plenty of sides eager to ease the pressure in the final three Matchdays before the winter break.

5) Augsburg keep on plowing away 

Volunteers and club staff at Augsburg got to work on Sunday to ensure their meeting with Eintracht Frankfurt would go ahead despite the inclement weather. The playing surface and stands of the WWK Arena were made ready in time for a game against Eintracht Frankfurt that promised plenty for the eager hosts. 

Fredrik Jensen scored the opening goal on a freezing night in Augsburg as the hosts beat Frankfurt 2-1 - Alexander Hassenstein

Augsburg went into the weekend unbeaten in five games under new coach Jess Thorup. That sequence stretched to six with a composed 2-1 win against the visiting Eagles in deep sub-zero temperatures at the WWK Arena. Tidy finishes from Fredrik Jensen and Iago moved the hosts into the top half of the Bundesliga table in ninth.