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Bundesliga Week 10 Reflections: BVB top, Bayern on the rails

Of course the easy thing to say is that the wheels are coming off Mainz' Bundesliga title challenge. However, that suggests that they were seriously going for the title in the first place.

Thomas Tuchel's team have enjoyed the kind of start that left teams like Bayern and Werder Bremen wishing they could have had only a portion. But with a young squad, there was likely to a reckoning at some point and it came against Borussia Dortmund, another young team. Against Hamburg, Mainz can consider themselves unfortunate. Against BVB they were simply not up to it.

Sympthy must go to Niko Bungert who's mistakes contributed to the defeat. On the other hand, Mario Gotze had to work pretty hard for his picture book goal, Dortmund's first. What a talent he is proving to be. Where are these guys coming from?

And leave it to the Panther himself, Lucas Barrios to snatch the second and decisive goal. The result is, by no means a championship decider, nor a season wrecker. Both Mainz and indeed Dortmund can still look forward to a terrific season but you have to wonder if there is enough in the tank for a championship tilt. Something tells me that the 2010/11 Bundesliga winner isn't even in the top three yet.

Which brings me nicely to Bayern Munich who dispatched Freiburg with ease last Friday. Significantly, Martin Demichelis was among the goal scorers. This selection did not escape the attention of Bayern's club president Uli Hoeness who launched an attack on Bayern coach Louis van Gaal that was off the charts on the Scathe-o-meter. Hoeness accused the Dutchman of dismissing players too quickly, including Demichelis and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk, another goal scorer, conveniently.

The pair have since patched things up, no doubt aware that disharmony wins nothing and that despite their relative distance from the leaders, there is still a good chance that the Bavarian club can overhaul the points deficit between them and the top two. Especially when you consider that most of their traditional challengers are in hopeless form at present.

Take Werder Bremen for example. If the wheels are coming off Mainz' wagon then Werder's is still on the blocks with the man from Kwik Fit sucking through his teeth and claiming that he'll need to order in some new parts. Their apparent unwillingness to take their chances was rightly and deservedly punished by a Nurnburg team who know that they simply cannot afford to waste opportunities to take points in unlikely venues, such as the Weserstadion. The game finished 3-2 to Die Club but Bremen's second was an afterthought at the end of the game. Congratulations to Nurnberg's Ilkayl Gundogen for his splendid brace in that game.

Schalke meanwhile do not seem to be showing any signs of genuine improvement. Sydney Sam's crisp finish was enough to seal all three points in Gelsenkirchen for Bayer Leverkusen (who move up to third in the table). The mood in the Veltins Arena looks ugly and if it were not for the fact that Felix Magath is almost running the whole show there, he would surely be facing the sack.

Meanwhile, it was another fantastic weekend for Hoffenheim and their recent signing Gylfi Sigurdsson who score two goals in his team's 4-0 rout of Hannover. Theofanis Gekas moved up to the top of the goalscoring charts with two more for Eintracht Frankfurt as they beat St Pauli 3-1 at the Millerntor. Kaiserlautern finally broke their losing streak courtesy of the ever accommodating Borussia Monchengladbach. (Steve McClaren's) Wolfsburg stunned their supporters by taking a two lead and not flushing it down the toilet against Stuttgart.

Finally, Koln's new coach Frank Schaefer oversaw a tricky tie against 1860 Munich in the DFB Pokal last week and followed it up with a 3-2 win against Hamburg. To do this, Schaefer called upon the lumbering talents of Slovenia forward Milivoje Novakovic. Frozen out by former coach Zvonmir Soldo, the Bundesliga's answer to Neil Shipperley bundled over a hatrick and lifted the Billygoats out of the bottom three. The game also saw the rare sight of Lucas Podolski providing an assist rather than a crazy attempt at a Hollywood goal. That was his first of the season. Will the wonders ever cease?

That's it. Results and tables are here.

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