The Bundesliga is more exciting than it has been for a long time, both at the top and bottom of the table. BVB is initially in first place. Bochum and Hoffenheim slip further into the relegation mess after their defeats and Schalke draw hope again. The games of the 22nd matchday at a glance:
The knot has burst: Schalke 04 have finally reported back in the relegation battle with their first Bundesliga win in three and a half months. On Saturday evening, the bottom of the table won the important duel with direct competitor VfB Stuttgart 2-1 (2-0) and, still undefeated, draws new hope in the second half of the season. Coach Thomas Reis' team now has a great opportunity to catch up at his ex-club VfL Bochum next weekend and leave the last place in the table, which the relegated team has been in continuously since the eleventh matchday.
After four previous goalless draws, Dominick Drexler (10th minute) ended the 414-minute goal drought in front of 62,271 spectators in the sold-out Schalke Arena. Marius Bülter (40th) increased artistically to 2:0. The Royal Blues last won against Mainz (1-0) on November 9th. In the 100th Bundesliga duel between the two traditional clubs, Borna Sosa's goal (63rd) was not enough for VfB after a serious goalkeeper error by Schalke's Ralf Fährmann.
Borussia Dortmund came to a deserved 1-0 (1-0) win at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, a candidate for relegation on Saturday. National player Julian Brandt (43rd minute) scored the goal of the day in front of 30,150 spectators in the sold-out Sinsheim stadium – including national coach Hansi Flick.
BVB sports director Sebastian Kehl had refused a title announcement in view of Dortmund's high flight before the kick-off - "because we know where we come from," he said in the Sky interview. "When the time comes, we will also deal with the topic. But it's still too early."
Shortly before the break, however, the guests took the lead with a curious free-kick goal: Brandt extended Marco Reus' sharply kicked ball into the net with his back - his eighth goal of the season and the fourth in the fourth game in a row.
Niclas Füllkrug remains Werder Bremen's sporting life insurance. The national striker's 14th goal of the season initiated the important 3-0 (2-0) home win against VfL Bochum, which enabled the promoted team to stay out of the Bundesliga relegation battle. Werder now has an eleven-point lead over VfL, who are extremely weak this time in penultimate place. Bremen scored 23 of their 30 points in games in which Füllkrug scored at least once.
In front of 42,100 spectators in the Wohninvest Weserstadion, the 30-year-old scored the 1-0 for Werder in the 29th minute. Niklas Schmidt (41st) and Marvin Ducksch (59th) extended this lead. The preparatory work for the first two goals came from Anthony Jung, who had just extended his contract with Bremen this week. This home win repeated a pattern from the Werder season: Whenever Ole Werner's team threatens to be drawn into the relegation battle again and there is slight unrest in Bremen, they reliably score.
RB Leipzig is back in the Bundesliga title race. After seven attempts without a win, the German Cup winners again managed to win against Eintracht Frankfurt and at least jumped to fourth place in the table overnight. At 2:1 (2:0) Marco Rose's team showed a convincing performance, especially in the first half.
In front of 47,069 spectators in the sold-out Red Bull Arena, Timo Werner (6th minute) gave the Saxons an early lead against the Europa League winner with a stumbled goal. Then he played for Emil Forsberg (40th) to make it 2-0. Djibril Sow (61st) shortened for Frankfurt, who only woke up in the second half. With 42 points, Leipzig is keeping up with the top trio. Eintracht had to accept a setback in the fight for the premier class places and remains in sixth place with 38 points.
A homegrown player from Cologne has probably ended 1. FC Köln's dream of another season in the European Cup. Yannick Gerhardt, who trained at FC, scored the early opening goal in the fourth minute of the 2-0 (1-0) win in Cologne, laying the foundation for VfL Wolfsburg's fifth away win. Captain Maximilian Arnold added a penalty kick (68th).
The Lower Saxony thus consolidated seventh place, which will probably be enough to get into the Conference League at the end of the season. Cologne, who represented the Bundesliga in the smallest European Cup this season, could have come within a point of VfL if they won. After the second defeat in 2023 and the second in a row without a goal of their own, there are now seven of them. Coach Steffen Baumgart also stated before the game that he did not want to attack seventh place, but only look at staying up in the league.
Former Augsburg Marco Richter has led Hertha BSC to an important victory in the fight against relegation from the Bundesliga. The former Augsburg player initiated the 2-0 (0-0) home win over FC Augsburg on matchday 22 with his opening goal in the 61st minute. Dodi Lukebakio (69th) scored the second goal on Saturday in front of 40,522 spectators in the Berlin Olympic Stadium.
FSV Mainz 05 clearly won Friday night's game. In the 4-0 (1-0) home win against Borussia Mönchengladbach, Jae-Sung Lee (25th minute), Marcus Ingvartsen (49th), Ludovic Ajorque (72nd) and Nelson Weiper (90th 3) scored in front of 32,500 spectators the people of Mainz.
On Sunday, SC Freiburg will host Bayer 04 Leverkusen at 3.30 p.m., before the clash between Dortmund pursuers Bayern Munich and 1. FC Union Berlin at 5.30 p.m.