Bundesliga Bulletin: Leverkusen back in business, Hertha Berlin mean business

Leverkusen turned on the style and provided a reminder of their quality. On Saturday, Hertha Berlin denied Dortmund a seventh straight win, proving again that they deserve to be near the top of the Bundesliga.

Good week for: Freiburg, Hertha Berlin, Jadon Sancho, Bayer Leverkusen

Bad week for: Friedhelm Funkel, Hannover, Stuttgart, Bremen 

The Lowdown

Hertha Berlin mean business this season. Having beating Bayern at home last month, they have now snatched a draw at league leaders Dortmund. A last-minute penalty proved crucial and while Dortmund should have wrapped the game up sooner, Hertha deserved something for their smart play. Europe, whether they'll admit it or not, is very possible for this side this season.

Read more: Hertha show how smart they have become

Bayer Leverkusen were back to something close to their best and that fine form has been spearheaded by contributions from Julian Brandt and Karim Bellarabi. The latter is reborn in recent games, scoring four goals in the last nine days for the club. It took him 350 days to score the four goals before that. The win is a much-needed one for coach Heiko Herrlich, upon whom the pressure was starting to grow. A 6-2 drilling is something of a reality check for Werder Bremen, despite a second-half rally that got them back to 3-2. They remain fourth and are still enjoying a fine season.

Much like in Athens last week, Bayern Munich got the win without really impressing. Leon Goretzka and Thiago dragged Bayern over the line against struggling Mainz, but the performance won't have done much to stave off the crows circling around Niko Kovac.

Fussball Bundesliga 9. Spieltag l Mainz 05 vs FC Bayern – Tor 0:1

It wasn't thrilling, but Bayern got the job done at Mainz. But the fans don't like the mint green kit ...

Markus Weinzierl is still waiting for a real chance to show his worth as the new Stuttgart head coach. After losing 4-0 to Dortmund soon after arriving, Weinzierl suffered the same result at Hoffenheim. But his side went down a man after just eight minutes, leaving his matchplan in tatters. Perhaps against Frankfurt next time out he will get a fair chance, but so far it's been a baptism of fire for Weinzierl.

Augsburg and Wolfsburg got wins against Hannover and Düsseldorf, respectively, as the gaps in quality starts to show around the Bundesliga table. RB Leipzig extend their unbeaten run to eight in all competitions but, after a goalless draw with Schalke, they are functional rather than exhilarating under Ralf Rangnick. Incidentally that's back-to-back goalless draws for the Red Bull-backed team, who are lacking, ahem, energy in attack.

— There's late, and then there's Sebastien Haller late. The striker salvaged a point for Eintracht Frankfurt at Nuremberg, who were edging their way to a vital three points when Haller spoiled the party in the 92nd minute, preserving Eintracht's unbeaten run, which is now up to six games.

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Mainz 1-2 Bayern Munich

Though it wasn't pretty, the defending Bundesliga champions got the three points they needed in Mainz. Leon Goretzka gave Bayern the halftime lead after Thiago's goal was disallowed by VAR. Jean-Paul Boetius scored the equalizer shortly after the break, his first ever Bundesliga goal, but Thiago restored Bayern's league just after the hour mark to seal the win.

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Werder Bremen 2-6 Leverkusen

Under pressure, Heiko Herrlich delivered in spectacular fashion as his side hammered one of the most in-form teams in the Bundesliga. Karim Bellarabi inspired the visitors to a three-goal lead at the break, but Werder Bremen got back to within one thanks to Claudio Pizarro and the help of VAR. But the comeback was cancelled as Kai Havertz scored and Bremen collapsed.

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RB Leipzig 0-0 Schalke

It's becoming harder to see what the plan is from Schalke's perspective, as Domenico Tedesco's side endured their second bore draw of the week. Breel Embolo missed a glorious chance to put the visitors ahead, but sent his free header wide. There were few real chances for either side on a wet Sunday afternoon in Leipzig, leaving the score a fair reflection of the game.

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Nuremberg 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt

French forward Sebastian Haller rescued a late point for Eintracht Frankfurt on a difficult afternoon in Nuremberg. The Club's impressive home form this season looked set to continued after Adam Zrelak gave them the lead with just 12 minutes remaining, but Haller scrambled the ball over the line from Danny da Costa's cross in injury time to equalize for the Eagles.

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Hoffenheim 4-0 Stuttgart

After scoring three in the Champions League on Tuesday, Hoffenheim bagged four more goals against Stuttgart on Saturday. Stuttgart played most of the game with 10-men after Emiliano Insua was sent off. Hoffenheim exploded in the second half, scoring four goals in 12 minutes, with Ishak Belfodil (middle) scoring two of them.

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Hannover 1-2 Augsburg

Rani Khedira scored his second ever Bundesliga goal to give Augsburg a 1-0 first half lead. Alfred Finnbogason doubled the visitors' advantage from the spot after Genki Haraguchi handled a ball in the penalty area. Ihlas Bebou put Hannover back in the game, but the hosts couldn't do enough to avoid their fifth defeat of the season.

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Dusseldorf 0-3 Wolfsburg

Fortuna's misfortune continued on Saturday as they suffered their fifth consecutive defeat. Referee Daniel Schlager pointed to the spot after a free kick from William struck Rouwen Henning's arm. Wout Weghorst converted the penalty, his third goal in his last four games. Josip Brekalo and Daniel Ginczek added to Wolfsburg's lead in the second half.

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Dortmund 2-2 Hertha Berlin

A brace from Jadon Sancho wasn't enough for Dortmund, as Salomon Kalou got a brace of his own to give Hertha a big draw away from home. Sancho's goals came from great team moves, but Dortmund paid the price for not taking more of their chances. Hertha proved efficient at taking theirs, Kalou scored their only chance in the first half and cooly converted a stoppage-time penalty to seal a point.

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Freiburg 2-1 Gladbach

Gladbach really do hate playing in Freiburg. They last won in Freiburg in the Bundesliga back in 2002 and despite being the in-form team 16 years later, they couldn't change that stat. After 13 seconds, Gladbach conceded a penalty (see above) which Nils Petersen scored. Thorgan Hazard scored from the spot at the other end, but Luca Waldschmidt struck a deserved winner in the second half.

The quotes

"I don't want to talk about that crap anymore. If that's a clear error, when a player has the ball hit against him from half a meter away... Where should he put his hands? Should he leave them in the changing rooms?"
- Horst Heldt after Augsburg's VAR penalty.

"Who would these club bosses choose if they were about to have heart surgery? The young doctor who has just passed his exams with flying colors? Or the experienced doctor who has performed the procedure a thousand times?"
- Felix Magath to Bild on the trend of young head coaches.

"You know what, I like all colors."
- Niko Kovac when asked about the Bayern fans' protest against the mint green away jerseys, that are not in line with the club colors.

"We were a bit naiive in the last few minutes. We have to be smarter and not just score four, five goals. You get three points for a 2-1 win as well."
- Marco Reus on the draw with Hertha Berlin.

"I take my hat off to them."
- Christian Streich on his players after their win against Gladbach.

"We haven't won any beauty prizes today but that wasn't our aim." 
- Schalke sporting director Christian Heidel after his side's 0-0 draw with RB Leipzig.

The stats

— Jadon Sancho became the first player born in 2000 to score a brace in the Bundesliga.

— Weston McKennie's header against the bar for Schalke was the sixth time Schalke have found the woodwork this season, once more than they've scored.

— Düsseldorf have now lost five games in a row, scoring two and conceding 17 in the process.

— Gladbach have not won away in Freiburg since 2002.

— Salomon Kalou's brace takes him to 41 career Bundesliga goals, making him the leading Ivorian goalscorer in league history. Kalou overtook Didier Ya Konan, who previously held the record.

— The last time a team had scored more than Dortmund after the first nine games of the season (29) was Eintracht Frankfurt (31) in the 1974/75 season.       

— Schalke's Mark Uth has now gone 835 minutes without a Bundesliga goal - his longest ever dry spell. 

The fans

Some of Hertha Berlin's fans had an altercation with police during their game against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. Hertha released a statement afterwards, condeming the use of pyrotechnics in the stadium, while supporter groups have criticized the actions of police, which they say contributed to the escalation. 

The weird

In the fourth minute of injury time, with Borussia Mönchengladbach pushing for an equalizer against Freiburg, goalkeeper Yann Sommer came out of his box to receive a throw-in and launch a final attack. But his miss-cued pass landed straight at the feet of Lucas Höler who, having only been on the pitch a couple of minutes, controlled on the chest before firing the ball into the empty net from 45 meters (49 yards). 3-1 to Freiburg, game over. 

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