Among the highlights of the weekend fixtures in the Bundesliga, there were two games involving the top four teams in the league table. At Wolfsburg, Borussia Dortmund claimed a dramatic victory via an added time winner scored by Shinji Kagawa after the home team had equalised from the penalty spot just two minutes earlier. The defeat ended a 29 match unbeaten home sequence for Wolfsburg in domestic league action, but perhaps the surprise result of the day was Borussia Monchengladbach inflicting a first league defeat of the season on Bayern Munich. The home team thus moved into third position in the table with the current champions lead reduced to five points ahead of second placed Dortmund.
For Borussia Monchengladbach, their 3-1 victory on home soil represents a transformation from earlier in the campaign when they lost all five opening Bundesliga matches prompting the departure of long serving manager Lucien Favre. Appointed in 2011 to the Borussia hot seat, Favre had attempted to restore the team to their glory days of the 1970’s when five Bundesliga and two UEFA Cup titles had been secured, and they had only just failed to win the European Cup in 1977 following a 3-1 defeat by Liverpool in the final.
Favre had guided the team to a Champions League qualifying berth last term with the promise of further success to follow this season. However, five consecutive league defeats, culminating in a 1-0 loss at Koln, plus a 3-0 Champions League reversal at Sevilla prompted the resignation of Favre and installation of Andre Schubert as interim head coach. Schubert had been dismissed as manager of St Pauli in 2012 and had coached the German under-15 team before being becoming the Monchengladbach under-23 coach during the summer.
The club hierarchy were intending to lure a high-profile name on a more permanent basis yet Schubert began his apparent brief reign by winning six successive Bundesliga matches with the team scoring at least two goals per game. A home defeat by Manchester City in a Champions League tie is the only loss incurred by the team since Schubert replaced Favre so perhaps their 3-1 victory against Bayern Munich could be considered no real surprise. Bayern had also failed to score against Borussia Monchengladbach in two league games last season and were beaten 2-0 on home soil by the team during March this year.
Wearing a bright green leisure sweater on the touchline and with his balding head, Schubert has now become a cult hero at Borussia-Park and he has been installed as permanent head coach following this successful series of results. There is now renewed optimism at Borussia with hopes of securing Champions League football next season after talk of relegation earlier in the campaign.
A positive result earned at Manchester City in a midweek Champions League tie could also help the team secure third position in the Group D and thus advance into the knockout stages of the Europa League, in which they could be serious contenders to win the trophy.