Sensational Nicals Fullkrug Hat-trick caps Hannover comeback while Dortmund draw | Bundesliga Matchday 18 Roundup

Bayer Leverkusen 1 – 3 Bayern Munich

(Volland 70’ – Martinez 32’, Ribery 59’, Rodriguez 90+1’)

A game in which the most memorable parts might have been a mouse on the field and two fans communicating via their shoes was filled with action nonetheless. Javi Martinez gave Bayern the lead after the half hour mark. Arturo Vidal got free at the back post during a corner and his header was deflected into the path of Martinez, who put it away for his first goal of the season and in ten months. In the second half, Bayer were committed to getting a result in front of their own fans at the BayArena and went at Bayern. Leon Bailey cut inside from the right and went close with an effort, only to hit the top of the crossbar. Just five minutes later, Bayern had extended their advantage courtesy of Franck Ribery. A clearance from Sven Ulreich was nodded down to James Rodriguez by Arjen Robben. The Colombian produced a fine first touch and then switched the ball over to Ribery. Ribery drove into the box, cut in, and caught Bernd Leno off balance to double the Bavarians’ advantage. Kevin Volland got one back for Leverkusen, albeit somewhat fortuitously. The German’s shot took two deflections before ending up in the back of Ulreich’s net. James Rodriguez produced a stroke of brilliance to put the game beyond doubt in the first of four added minutes. James took the free-kick from the edge of the box, and put it over the wall and into the top corner to end Bayer’s 12-match unbeaten run.

VfB Stuttgart 1 – 0 Hertha Berlin

(Stark OG 78’)

Stuttgart had scored only 13 goals coming into this match, and hoped the return of Mario Gomez might make a difference. He almost did early on, going close with a header just seven minutes in. Although he did miss that chance early on, Hertha had the better first half, with a first-time strike bouncing off of the post to spare Ron-Robert Zieler and Stuttgart a deficit on 30 minutes. Davie Selke broke free on the right hand side and found Salomon Kalou. Near the half-time whistle, Kalou found himself a pocket of space but his finish left Hertha wanting more. Stuttgart were goal-less since November, until ‘Super Mario’ forced an own goal out of Niklas Stark in the 78th minute. Gomez’s first game back at the Swabian club would end happily as the game finished 1-0.

Eintracht Frankfurt 1 – 1 SC Freiburg

(Haller 28’ – Koch 51’)

The league’s second best defence in Eintracht Frankfurt took on a Freiburg team in memorable form. Freiburg created a good chance early on, a deflected cross striking the inside of the post and bouncing clear. Frankfurt dominated from then on, and Timmy Chandler headed down a long ball for Sebastian Haller to poke into the Freiburg goal. Frankfurt threatened to add to their tally, with Mijat Gacinovic striking a shot from 20 yards out just wide. Freiburg pulled level just six minutes into the second half, a surprise considering how little of an attacking threat they had posed in the first period. Robin Koch headed home his first Bundesliga goal from a Christian Gunter corner for what would, eventually, give them a share of the spoils. Niko Kovac’s men went on for a second, but were unable to win their first Bundesliga match at home since November.

Werder Bremen 1 – 1 Hoffenheim

(Gebre Selassie 63’ – Hubner 39’)

The 2016/17 edition of this fixture ended 5-3 in favor of Hoffenheim, and this one was just as open, if not as high scoring. Florian Kainz had the first opportunity for Bremen as Ishak Belfodil whipped in a low cross from the right, only for Kainz to be denied by a firm block from Pavel Kaderabek. In the third meeting between these two sides, Hoffenheim were better in possession, but lacked the finishing touch, as they did in the other two matches. A brilliant cross from former Bremen man Serge Gnabry picked out centre-back Benjamin Hubner to reward Hoffenheim for their efforts. Bremen were much improved, and got the goal to pull level on sixty-three minutes. Full-back Theodor Gebre Selassie poked come from a corner that Hoffenheim failed to clear. Nearly immediately after the equaliser, the man to step into Sandro Wagner’s boots, Andrej Kramaric, was denied by a stupendous Jiri Pavlenka save. Bremen almost sent Hoffenheim home with no points, but Oliver Baumann and co kept out the Green-Whites in a goal-mouth frenzy. A Ludwig Augustinsson cross was tipped to Jerome Gondorf, whose volley was blocked by the goal-scorer Hubner. Centre-back Niklas Moisander pushed out of the defence and into the opposition box and was eventually denied by yet another block, this time from Kevin Vogt. Gondorf produced a great block and clearance of his own to round off the action.

FC Augsburg 1 – 0 Hamburger SV

(Koo Ja-Cheol 45’)

Former Hamburg player Michael Gregoritsch and FC Augsburg welcomed Markus Gisdol and his Hamburg side to the WWK Arena. Hamburg gave summer signing Julian Pollersbeck a first league start in place of Christian Mathenia. The former Kaiserslautern player was tested early on, as Gregoritsch’s volleyed effort was kept out. Sergio Cordova was given his first start of the season, with Augsburg’s top scorer Alfred Finnbogason out. Cordova was denied again by Pollersbeck, however the new man between the sticks wasn’t able to keep out Koo Ja-Cheol’s header. Philipp Max, Gregoritsch, and Caiuby combined down the left before crossing to the Korean after a weak clearance. Jonathan Schmid came on and almost doubled the Bavarian club’s advantage with his first touch, a header looping just over. With a quarter of an hour left, Augsburg continued to threaten and took all three points, although they were unable to find a second goal.

Hannover 3 – 2 Mainz

(Fullkrug 33’, pen 38’, 75’ – Muto 26’, Hack 31’)

Mainz took the advantage early on, with Yoshinori Muto scoring his fourth of the campaign. Alexander Hack, on his second league start this season, doubled Mainz’s lead just five minutes later. Hack rose above the Hannover defence from a back post delivery to score his maiden Bundesliga goal. Although just 2 minutes later, Hannover gave the home support something to cheer about, with Niclas Fullkrug scoring his sixth of the season as Mainz conceded once again from a set piece. Five minutes later, Nigel De Jong – on his return to the Bundesliga – brought down Felix Klaus in the area. Fullkrug scored his second of the game from the spot, send Robin Zentner the wrong way to draw Hannover level. Hack nearly put Mainz back on top again, but this time his header went narrowly wide. Ihlas Bebou’s deflected shot landed in the path of Fullkrug, who made no mistake from close range. The striker slotted home to complete his first Bundesliga hat-trick and a sensational comeback for Hannover.


RB Leipzig 3 – 1 Schalke 04

(Keita 41’, Werner 69’, Bruma 71’ – Naldo 55’)

Domenico Tedesco came into the match looking to continue Schalke’s 13-match unbeaten run in all competitions, while Leipzig were looking for their first league win since November. Schalke’s task was made tougher as Jean-Kevin Augustin was felled in the area by fellow Frenchman Benjamin Stambouli. Augustin got up and stepped up for the kick, only for his weak effort to be kept out by captain Ralf Fahrmann. Nonetheless, Leipzig got their goal, this time through Naby Keita. Keita’s shot from outside of the area was deflected in by Naldo. Naldo made up for this by scoring another equalizer on 55 minutes. Naldo managed to find himself unmarked on a set-piece and stooped down to head home. Konrad Laimer stole the ball from a wayward Naldo pass, combined beautifully with Marcel Sabitzer before Timo Werner marked his comeback from an absence with a goal. Encouraged, Leipzig pushed forward and were rewarded a mere two minutes later. Werner turned provider this time, squaring it to Bruma, whose shot went off Naldo and into the net.

FC Koln 2 – 1 Borussia Monchengladbach

(Sorensen 34’, Terodde 90+5’ – Raffael 69’)

Koln were boosted by the return of defender Jonas Hector, but found themselves on the back foot early on nevertheless. Christoph Kramer failed to put away the game’s first big chance, off of a corner. Cologne grew into the game and got the opening goal, with Milos Jojic putting in a fantastic delivery for Frederik Sorensen, who out-muscled fellow Dane Jannik Vestergaard before poking the ball past Yann Sommer. Patrick Herrmann nearly equalised for Monchengladbach, as he latched on to a ball over the top but failed to put the ball in the back of the net. Substitute Raffael levelled on 69 minutes for the Foals, following up on rebounds twice before the ball struck the underside of the crossbar and the back of the net. Lars Stindl set up Herrmann, only for the former German international to fire wide again. The game reached the closing stages and were probing for a winner. Konstantin Rausch’s perfect cross found the head of Simon Terodde, sending the home fans into raptures.

Borussia Dortmund 0 – 0 VfL Wolfsburg

Youngsters Jadon Sancho and Alexander Isak were handed starts while main man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was suspended for “disciplinary reasons.” Sanco and Isak both had chances to net their first Bundesliga goal less than twenty minutes in, when an Andriy Yarmolenko cross evaded Isak’s head and Sancho promptly smashed over. Yunus Malli and Daniel Didavi teamed up to get past Dortmund’s defence, but Roman Burki produced a save to prevent an opening goal. Mario Gotze then set up Isak, but the young Swede was denied by the frame of the goal. Good buildup from Isak and Gotze gave Yarmolenko the ball with the goal at his mercy, but he managed to fire over. Yarmolenko slotted through Shinji Kagawa, who played it across to Sancho, but Dortmund were denied once more by the woodwork. Koen Casteels was caught quite some distance out of his goal, but Nuri Sahin failed to hit the target, and the game ended a stalemate.

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