Diego & Reus Feature in Bundesliga Team of the Week
Round 11 of Bundesliga action saw Bayern edge further clear of Frankfurt in the table, while Dortmund and Schalke recorded big wins to keep from slipping further behind the Bavarians.
Further down the table, Hannover and Mainz drew closer to Champions League positions, while Leverkusen were dealt a demoralizing 3-1 defeat that kept them from claiming a position among the top four.
There were, as always, many heroic individual performances over the weekend. Read on for this week's top 11, selected to fit in a 3-2-3-2 formation.
Goalkeeper: Diego Benaglio
Wolfsburg's 3-1 win against Leverkusen may have been made possible by playmaker Diego, but goalkeeper Diego Benaglio also had a big hand in the result. The Switzerland No. 1 comfortably dealt with crosses and made two brilliant saves from Andre Schuerrle and Stefan Kiessling in the opening minutes. Benaglio was only beaten for the first and only time in the closing moments of the match.
Defender: Benedikt Hoewedes
Despite being shuffled from position to position around the Schalke back four, Hoewedes has been one of the Bundesliga best defenders this season. The 24-year-old was at his best as a right-back on Saturday and did well both in attack and defense as Schalke beat Bremen 2-1. Given his form and injuries to Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng and Marcel Schmelzer, Hoewedes now has a very good chance of starting for Germany in Wednesday's friendly with Netherlands.
Defender: Martin Stranzl
Gladbach did indeed concede twice to Fuerth on Sunday, but center-back Martin Stranzl was nonetheless one of the best players on the pitch. The Austrian was not at fault for the goals conceded, and individually he was dominant inside his penalty area. He also scored a critical equalizer to make it 2-2 before BMG went on to claim all three points.
Defender: Heiko Westermann
Freiburg and Hamburg battled to a scoreless draw on Saturday, and the best player on the pitch was Westermann. The Germany international dealt well with the hosts' considerable pressure, and his display was all the more impressive given that his partner in central defense changed twice over the course of the match.
Midfielder: Jermaine Jones
Jones rounds off an all-Schalke defensive midfield in this round's Team of the Week. The USA international was a dynamic presence, breaking up play at the back before bursting through the midfield. His run and pass teed up Julian Draxler for the game-winning goal.
Midfielder: Roman Neustaedter
The day after being called up to Joachim Loew's Germany squad for the first time, Neustaedter justified his inclusion with a masterful performance in Schalke's 2-1 win against Bremen. The Ukraine-born midfielder read the game with superior tactical sense, won his challenges and rarely misplaced a pass. All that, and he scored with a towering header.
Midfielder: Patrick Herrmann
Ever since Marco Reus' summer departure, Gladbach coach Lucien Favre has been looking for the right man to take on the Germany international's role as a central supporting attacker. As of late he's used Patrick Herrmann to great effect, and on Sunday the 21-year-old was his side's best player in a 4-2 win in Fuerth. Herrmann's intelligent runs sliced through the hosts' defense, and he assisted Oscar Wendt's equalizer at 1-1 before scoring the go-ahead goal to make it 3-2.
Relegation-battling Wolfsburg climbed closer to safety on Sunday as they earned an emphatic 3-1 win against Leverkusen. Die Woelfe led 2-0 after a quarter hour thanks to a pair of strikes from the clinical Diego. With their substantial lead formed, Wolfsburg never looked back. The Brazilian looks to have turned over a new leaf since Felix Magath's departure.
Midfielder: Marco Reus
Dortmund's talismanic forward was at his best on Saturday as he powered the Bundesliga champions to victory in Augsburg. The German international showcased surgical precision as he netted the opener from a free kick, and later helped Robert Lewandowski put the result to rest as he set up his teammate for a simple finish.
Forward: Robert Lewandowski
Dortmund's best player alongside Reus in the Augsburg win, Lewandowski scored the visitors' second and third goals. The Poland international was always strong in his hold-up play, and his fool finishing ensured a comfortable win.
Forward: Mohammed Abdellaoue
Hannover were 2-0 down against Stuttgart on Sunday before the Lower Saxony side scored four unanswered goals to claim three points. Abdellaoue put Hannover ahead just two minutes after coming on as a substitute. He then found the net from the penalty spot, putting the result to rest.