Weekly football conversation since 2009, with Graham Sibley, Jan Bilton and Terry Duffelen. Listen on Apple, Google, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or your podcatcher of choice.

Bundesbag Week 23 - Quadrophenia

I wonder, when Stuttgart striker Cacau sat down on Saturday morning for his bowl of Cheerios if he realised that he was about to triple his Bundesliga goal tally for the season? The naturalised Brazilian German international had scored a grim total of two goals up to the weekend and couldn't have conceived that by Saturday afternoon his total would be up to six after scoring four goals in Koln.

Cacau's first strike was from a perfect cross from Timo Gebhart. His second a long range thunderbolt. Number three was a less convincing bundle over the line at close range and the fourth was a shot from just in side the penalty area. His efforts contributed to a 5-1 pasting of Koln and acted as the perfect preparation for Stuttgart's epic encounter with Barcelona in the Champions League where Geghart and Cacau combined once again to earn their team a creditable draw that could so easily have been more.

The Red and Whites continue to climb the Bundesliga table and are now officially in mid table on thirty one points, just 9 points off a Europa League spot (it's a glass half full week). However, you didn't come here to read about some mediocre Bundesliga club did you? You want to know what's going on at the top. Well your going to find out anyway because this was the weekend where Bayer Leverkusen may have jumped the shark.

The weekend started well for the leaders after the news came in that the Bavarian derby had ended in an unlikely draw between Nurnberg and Bayern Munich. Thomas Muller put Bayern in the lead in the first half but his team mates (minus Franck Ribery) couldn't press home their advantage. In the second half, Nurnberg responded with an equaliser from 19 year old Ilkay Gundogan. The result left the door wide open for Bayer to take a two point lead at the top, a relative chasm in the scheme of things. The only problem was that they had to win at the Weserstadion, home of Werder Bremen and they almost managed it too.

The first two goals were down to goalkeeping errors. Tim Wiese's despairing dive at Eren Derdyok's free kick was so late, it could have been attributed to a points failure. This was nothing compared to Leverkusen keeper Rene Adler's howler for the Bremen equaliser. Again, this was from a free kick from Naldo which was comically spilled by the German international for Claudio Pizzaro to pounce on the loose ball and score.

Leverkusen regained the lead on 57 minutes with a glorious long range swinger from Toni Kroos and from there the rear guard action commenced. Bremen pushed the visitors further back until finally, in the 94th minute, Per Mertesaker who had made his way into the six yard in typically leisurely fashion met a cross with his head and ruined Leverkusen's day.

After the game Bayer coach Jupp Heynkes said he wasn't that fussed about the result. Let's hope for his sake that this is true. To the objective eye it's hard not to imagine that his young squad could be knocked back a touch after failing to press home their advantage.

Elsewhere there were two goal less draws to tell you about: Mainz drew a blank against Bochum as did Hamburg against Frankfurt. There was more than an element of good fortune in Borussia Monchengladbach's two goals against Hoffenheim so nobody felt too bad for them when the Hoff clawed their way back to a 2-2 draw. Hertha looked anything but the bottom club as they dismantled a poor Freiburg team 3-0. Schalke's challenge to the title took a beating after two magnificent goals from Grafite as Wolfsburg stuck it to their old manager Felix Magath.

Finally, the demise of Hannover 96 takes on a more tragic narrative after they were thumped 4-1 at Borussia Dortmund. The team shirts still sport the commemorative Number 1 on the from in honour of Robert Enke. At the risk of sounding disrespectful, I wonder if it's time to remove them in the hope that this will represent a moving on of sorts. One can't help but feel the the squad is still burdened by grief and that some sort of change, however symbolic, maybe what they need.

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