The wait is finally over. After a gruelling 29 days, the Bundesliga is finally back. But, as they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder. That’s a benefit the Premier League doesn’t have. Also, actually peaking towards summer is a bonus; especially when it comes to international tournaments.
Anyway, we decided to give the throwback honours to the Bundesliga re-start. Quite a few match-ups this weekend feature at least one team that’s been promoted just a few seasons ago, but we still dug up a few gems. The first scoreline really is due for a repeat.
Freiburg vs Bayern Munich, August 23rd 1994
It’s fair to say that Freiburg used to be a bogey side to visit for Bayern. After their first promotion to the top flight in the summer of 1993, Freiburg won their first three home matches against Bayern. The biggest victory came on the second matchday of the 1994/95 season. Freiburg had survived their first season in the Bundesliga thanks to superier goal-difference ahead of Nürnberg. Bayern were reigning champions:
It’s 3:0 to the home side after just 18 minutes. Spahnring, Kohl and Cardoso get the goals, Bayern’s Nerlinger the hook. The newly introduced Ziege pulls one back before half-time, but again it’s Cardoso, this time via penalty, and Heinrich, later of Dortmund fame. While Freiburg put five past Oliver Kahn, Bayern get as many bookings. Jean-Pierre Papin is sent off.
Six Bayern players picked up a rating of 5 (6 being the worst) in the Kicker, the rest were not far behind. For Freiburg this win was a harbinger of what was to come. Only two sides would score more goals in the course of the season, and only two sides would finish above them in the table. Bayern, by contrast, finished a disappointing sixth.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Hertha Berlin, May 12th 2001
While just the final qualifying spot for the Champions League was at stake, the stage was beautifully set nonetheless: Leverkusen was lying in fourth, one point ahead of Hertha. Having won three away matches on the bounce they came to visit Berlin on the penultimate matchday. Hertha in turn, had won their last five home matches. Both streaks were on the line, as was Berti Vogts’ job as Leverkusen manager should the CL bid fail:
Twenty minutes in, Sebastian Deisler shows why he was at one point considered the biggest talent in German football. A sublime volley finish from an impossible angle puts Hertha 1:0 up. Leverkusen, featuring a stable of nightmarish German internationals (Ramelow! Brdaric!! Rink!!!), pulls level at the hour mark. Oliver Neuville had bagged his 14th goal of the campaign. The woodwork denies Ballack, Hertha’s substitute Ali Daei can’t produce a better finish either and the match finishes level.
As both sides would go on to win their last matches of the season, Leverkusen kept the coveted fourth spot in the table. Vogts got the sack anyway.
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