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Bundesliga Week 9 Round Up: Tuchel top, Soldo sacked

Andreas Ivanschitz (left) has had a quiet season at Mainz, so far. The Austrian was one of the stars of the last campaign when his club finished a more than creditable ninth in the Bundesliga. However, injuries and the sparkling form of Messrs Holtby, Schurrle and co have force him out of the limelight somewhat. However, the spotlight is now firmly back on Ivanschitz after his 70th minute strike at the Bayarena which proved decisive in Mainz' 1-0 victory over Bayer Leverkusen.

It was Ivanscitz fellow subsitute Andre Schurrle who provided the assist after some good work by Sami Allagui. At the point of his initial pass to Schurrle, Ivanschitz was offside. However, Schurrle's cross did not move the ball forward so I guess his team mate was onside and the goal stood. Mainz hung on although coach Thomas Tuchel was getting increasingly uptight on the touchline. This was unsurprising as his player persistently failed to retain possession and close the game out. As it happened, Leverkusen were not up to the challenge and failed to gain an equaliser.

This was in contrast to Borussia Dortmund who rescued their unbeaten run with a last gasp goal from a free kick by Antonio Da Silva deep into injury time, against Hoffenheim at the Westfalen. Demba Ba took the lead for the visitors after nine minutes. BVB should have equalised with a penalty by Nuri Sahin. However, referee Wolfgang Stark adjudged Sahin's team mate Lucas Barrios to be encroaching and ordered a retake which the Turkish international subsequently missed.

All this puts Mainz back on top of the table with twenty four points. Dortmund are second on twenty two. That's six points ahead of third placed Hannover 96. The leaders excellent form has seen them to the summit but the inconsistency of the other supposed title contenders has established a sizable gap so early in the season.

Bayern Munich and Hamburg must have known that they had been bumped in the UK by ESPN in favour of a Rugby match. They contrived a 0-0 bore draw to make those who missed the game not feel so bad. Schalke were also held to a goalless draw by Eintracht Frankfurt (or the other way round, depending on how you look at it). Steve McClaren's Wolfsburg lost again to Nurnberg 2-1 which is a bloody good result for Die Club. Werder Bremen did, however, notch up a 4-1 victory which is kind of impressive until I tell you that it was against the leaky cauldron that is Borussia Monchengladbach.

Elsewhere, Pappas Cisse continues as Bundesliga top scorer thanks to a goal for Freiburg who, in turn, are heaping more misery on Kaiserslautern. 2-1 was the final score at the Dreisamstadion. Stuttgart's inevitable post coach-sacking revival continued with a 2-0 win at home to FC St Pauli. It seems that the club can only function in a state of continual crisis.

Finally, the Bundesliga saw its second managerial casualty of the season in the forlorn shape of FC Koln's Zvonmir Soldo (right). After a moribund first campaign as coach, last season, the club were looking for some signs of life this campaign. Alas, with Lucas Podolski unsettled and out of form, the excellent Zoran Tosic gone plus a public falling out with veteran goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, Zoldo was on thin ice. On Saturday, after a defeat by Hannover and with the club propping up the table, the decision was made and the Croatian was put out of his misery. Under 23 coach Frank Schaefer will be expecting some sort of response from his players against 1860 Munich in the Cup on Tuesday.

That's it. Results and tables here.

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