The Top 5 Players in the Bundesliga This Weekend
Round 22 of the Bundesliga saw little change in the top half of the table, as Bayern Munich, Dortmund and Leverkusen all recorded wins while Freiburg and Hamburg edged closer to fourth-placed Frankfurt in their bids for a spot in the 2013-14 Champions League playoffs.
Further down the table, dreams that Schalke and Gladbach had of finishing in the top four took another hit as both sides failed to capitalize on Frankfurt's loss by dropping points. They both stand seven points behind Die Adler, with Freiburg, Hamburg and Mainz between them and the coveted fourth spot.
Individually there were some excellent displays in the Bundesliga over the weekend. While Bayern's win in Wolfsburg was more of a team effort, Dortmund benefited from a Marco Reus hat trick and strong performances from a select few others.
Leverkusen's victory also required a bit of individual flare, as Stefan Kiessling played a part in both his team's goals in their narrow 2-1 win against Augsburg. Elsewhere, Michel Bastos and Nils Petersen both were on target twice, although the Brazilian's Schalke were only held to a draw while Petersen's Bremen succumbed to defeat at the hands of Freiburg.
Out of the many strong displays, who made the difference in the Bundesliga this weekend? Click "Begin Slideshow" to find out...
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Bayern only managed to take eight shots on Wolfsburg's goal on Friday, but it would be a mistake to think the Bavarians did not dominate the run of play throughout the match. In reality, the Bavarians barely ever looked threatened by the Wolfsburg attack as they commanded the majority of possession and won the territory battle.
Bastian Schweinsteiger was at the heart of Bayern's success. The 28-year-old led all players with 103 touches, 74 completed passes, 19 challenges won and 12.27 km covered. Suffice to say, he was everywhere for his team, distributing over short and long distances and winning the ball back when needed. All that, and he nodded the ball to Mario Mandzukic for Bayern's opener.
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Stefan Kiessling stood out as man-of-the-match for Leverkusen as they beat Augsburg 2-1 on Saturday. The Bundesliga's leading scorer was at his best as he played a hand in both of his side's goals.
With the score still level at 0-0, the 29-year-old rose to head home a free kick that put the hosts ahead. Then, with 15 minutes left, he turned provider. First, Kiessling set up Andre Schuerrle for a shot that was parried by Alexander Manninger. The striker was first to the rebound, however, and unselfishly passed to Lars Bender, who doubled B04's advantage.
Kiessling only took two shots in Saturday's match but found ways to be effective. He was excellent in his hold-up play and distributed well to his teammates. And when the time came, he characteristically struck the necessary goal.
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No Lewandowski? No problem! Those four words may best sum up Dortmund's 3-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
BVB were without Robert Lewandowski, who served the first of a three-match suspension this weekend. But the two-time reigning Bundesliga champions didn't miss a beat as Marco Reus scored all three of his team's goals in a comfortable win.
Eight minutes into the game, Reus latched onto Mario Goetze's chipped ball and fired home the opener. Less than two minutes later, the 23-year-old made it 2-0 as he latched onto Mats Hummels' through-pass and beat Kevin Trapp with his left foot.
Reus' early impact provided a huge morale boost to a BVB side that lost 4-1 to Hamburg last week and had unconvincing spells in a 2-2 draw away to Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. And it meant that when Julian Schieber was sent off in the 31st minute, Dortmund were still in control. Reus completed his hat-trick on 65 minutes, capping off a stunning display.
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Reus' right-hand man on Saturday was Mario Goetze, who assisted Dortmund's first and third goals. The 20-year-old's delicate chip to set up the opener was a perfect combination of playmaking vision and technical skill.
For the third, he showcased his pace in latching onto a through pass and his strength in shrugging off Bamba Anderson's shoulder-shove before teeing up Reus.
Goetze had a heavy burden on his shoulders especially after Schieber's red card, as he was the only central attacking player left. But the Germany international, who has in the past played as a false nine for his country, seemed to have little trouble orchestrating the BVB attack.
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Restored to the Dortmund starting lineup for the first time in three games, Ilkay Gundogan showed exactly why BVB need him to win games.
When Goetze gave assists, Gundogan was the man who assisted the assist: On Saturday, the 22-year-old twice found the playmaker who ultimately linked with Reus.
Ubiquitous in the Dortmund midfield, Gundogan had more touches (73) and more completed passes (56) than of the ball than any of his teammates. Whether shepherding the ball from his own box, making a surging dribble through the middle third, or finding his playmaker Goetze, Gundogan did it all.
And by no surprise, with him back in the starting lineup, Dortmund returned to winning ways.