VfB Stuttgart 2-1 SV Sandhausen: The Swabians edge past spirited Sandhausen

Simon Terodde came to the rescue on Sunaday afternoon as his brace secured a 2-1 victory over Sandhausen in the entertaining 2.Bundesliga clash.

Team News

Stuttgart head coach Hannes Wolf named an unchanged starting eleven for the first time this season against Sandhausen, while the away side made four changes from their cup defeat against Schalke in mid-week. Tim Kister, Damian Roßbach, Denis Linsmayer all dropped to the bench, while Vunguidica missed out due to injurty. This meant Kenan Kocak brought in Daniel Gordon, Leart Paqarada, Daniel Lukasik and Manuel Stiefler.

The opening stages of the game saw plenty of possession for the home side, however no chances were created as Sandhausen’s shape was hard to break down. After the ten minute mark the game started to open up and gaps started to appear, before that the only opportunity saw Takuma Asano provide an early cross from the left and it was just in front of the free Simon Terodde, who couldn’t make contact.

Stuttgart continued to apply the early pressure and had more of the chances, Julian Green came close when he shifted the ball inside from the left to have an effort on goal, Marco Knaller was at his near post to deny the effort and palm the ball out for a corner.

The resulting corner should’ve put the home side ahead, the delivery found its way through to Timo Baumgartl, who couldn’t adjust his body and directed the ball wide of the goal from just a few yards out.

On the half hour mark Sandhausen were able to create some problems for the league leaders, two chances came from corners, firstly Daniel Gordon fired over from eight yards out as he struggled to direct a quick delivery on target. Following that attempt a minute later Tim Knipping broke free and headed just wide at the back post.

The tempo of the game started to dwindle and the wide players on both teams started to have less impact on the game, Stuttgart’s Carlos Mané, Green and Asano were causing problems early on with their pace, but as the half came to a close they were struggling to cause problems for Sandhausen.

Sandhausen before today’s game hadn’t conceded in four league games and it was going to be something special or a terrible mistake to see the ball fly past Knaller. Unfortunately for the away side, right on half time Mané skipped past two players out wide and as he came into the area Leart Paqarada made a poor decision to try and win the ball and there was only one outcome. Mané went down under Paqarada’s slide tackle and it gave Terodde the chance to score from the spot. Terodde stepped up and calmly slotted into the bottom right corner as Knaller dived the wrong way, extending his goal tally against Sandhausen to four goals in three games.

Stuttgart started the second half very cautiously and struggled to get outside their own half as Sandhausen enjoyed plenty of possession, one positive for the home side was that their guests struggled to create any clear cut chances with all their possession.

Just as the game ticked over the hour mark Stuttgart continued to allow Sandhausen possession and they were soon punished for it. Richard Sukuta-Pasu came off the bench for the away side and with his first touch he levelled things inside a minute of being on the pitch. Thomas Pledl broke down the right and his wonderful cross picked out Sukuta-Pasu who fired home from three yards out for his first goal since September.

The Swabians came agonisingly close to regaining the lead in the 68th minute, Kevin Großkreutz was played in after Mané lifted the ball over the top for the full back and the former Borussia Dortmund player lofted his effort over Knaller and was only denied by the frame of the goal.

Stuttgart’s Jean Zimmer was gifted a golden chance to put his side ahead when a Sandhausen clearance cannoned off Terodde and set him through on goal, unfortunately for the home fans Zimmer couldn’t find the back of the net as Knaller rushed out to make a good stop to keep his side level.

Straight down the other end Sandhausen had an even better chance to take the lead, Pledl once more broke free down the right and once again provided an excellent cross for Sukuta-Pasu, this time however the forward failed to fire home and instead put his effort wide when it was easier to score.

With five minutes remaining the hosts managed to grab a vital winning goal, Mané crossed from the right and Terodde produced a moment of magic as he acrobatically finished with a stunning scissor-kick which flew into the bottom left corner. Terodde’s second of the game moved him level at the top of the scoring charts and extended Stuttgart’s lead at the top.

Sandhausen came close to a late equaliser when Daniel Lukasik shot from just inside the area, however despite their late pressure they couldn’t find the back of the net again and Stuttgart managed to hold on for the three points.

Stuttgart extend their lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of their trip to Heidenheim next week, while Sandhausen remain in seventh place ahead of another away trip next week when they visit Kaiserslautern.

Dynamo Dresden 0-0 Union Berlin: The East German’s couldn’t be separated in their promotion clash

The 2.Bundesliga served up a treat for Sunday’s action as they scheduled an East Germany derby between Dynamo Dresden and Union Berlin. Both clubs have exceeded expectations so far this season and both are challenging for promotion. Despite Dynamo only coming up this season from the 3.Liga they’ve settled very well and currently sit in sixth place, one point behind their opponents Union. The Berlin club have improved this season and are occupying fourth place and looking to move within a point of the top three.

The match between the East Germans started with both sides battling for early possession, however neither side could keep hold of possession and chances were rare in the opening stages. It took thirteen minutes for the game to have it’s first meaningful effort on goal, Kristian Pedersen broke down the left for Union and after cutting inside he was able to set the ball to Felix Kroos and the Union captain fired just over the bar.

Dynamo’s first chance of the game came from a set piece, Marvin Stefaniak tried his luck from a long range free kick and the low powerful effort bounced just wide of Jakob Jensen’s goal.

The first half certainly wasn’t the most exciting in terms of attacking threat, however it did serve up an intriguing midfield battle. As the game approached half time Dynamo upped the tempo and were almost gifted the games first goal. Christopher Trimmel under hit his back pass to Jenson and Stefan Kutschke looked to be in on goal, unfortunately for the hosts Jensen was quick of his line to clear the danger.

In the second half both sides were more purposeful going forward and it was Union Berlin that came close to breaking the deadlock ten minutes into the half.  Simon Hedlund managed to break away from Marco Hartmann on the left and after coming inside he unleashed a brilliant effort on goal, the Swedish youngster was denied by the fingertips of Marvin Schwäbe who managed to flick the effort onto the bar.

Dynamo responded to that effort and started come out on top and they went agonisingly close to taking the vital lead. A long ball forward saw Kutschke head the ball back towards the middle of the area and the ball looped over Toni Leistner and allowed Niklas Hauptmann to fire from close range and somehow Jensen produced a magnificent reaction save to keep his side level.

Union Berlin should’ve had the ball in the back of Dresden’s goal with fifteen minutes remaining, Kroos’ corner was flicked on by Trimmel and the ball found it’s way to an unmarked Leistner who headed horribly wide and should’ve put his side in front.

The home side came close once more a freekick into the area saw Pascal Testroet win a header at the back post, his header into the middle picked out Hartmann and the midfielder thought he was going to score, however Damir Kreilach raced across and made an excellent block to save his team, the ball did fall nicely for Testroet, who disappointingly fired well over from close range.

That chance for Dresden proved to be the last bit of action of the game and despite both team’s efforts the game ended in a goalless draw.

The draw was enough for Dynamo Dresden to move up to fifth place and up next for them is a trip to Hamburg to face St. Pauli. As for Union Berlin they stay in fourth and are three points behind the top three, they’ll look to close that gap next Sunday as they host Arminia Bielefeld.

Union Berlin 1-1 VfB Stuttgart: Eiserne second half fightback denies top spot for Die Schwaben.

The 2. Bundesliga is still as tight as ever and thanks to Eintracht Braunschweig drawing with Bochum on Friday night VfB Stuttgart had a great chance to go top of the table on Sunday afternoon. However the task for Stuttgart wasn’t going to be an easy one as they travelled to Berlin to face Union, who have enjoyed a good season so far despite back-to-back defeats.

Sunday’s meeting between Union Berlin and Stuttgart was the first ever between the two sides and it started brilliantly for the away side as they took an early lead. Carlos Mané crossed from the right side and found Christian Gentner, who then played the ball into Simon Terodde who was lurking around the penalty spot and the club’s top scorer twisted away from two players to fire past Jakob Jensen for his eighth goal of the season.

Stuttgart were by far the better side in the opening twenty minutes as the home side struggled to get going in front of the expecting fans. It took till the fifteenth minute for Union Berlin to create their first attempt on goal.  Steven Skrzybski slipped the ball into Kenny Redondo inside the area and the twenty-two year old could only fire straight down the middle and into the arms of Mitchell Langerak.

Unfortunately for all spectators the game died down in terms of quality in the final third, however the game did improve as a battle, both sides became evenly matched and struggled to get the better of each other.

After the effort from Redondo it took till the thirty-seventh minute for the came to have a meaningful effort on goal. Dennis Daube delivered in a freekick for the hosts and found the head of Damir Kreilach, sadly for the home supporters Langerak managed to easily save.

The second half started the same as the first with Stuttgart flying out the blocks, a cross from the left picked out Terodde and his header forced Jensen into action as the Danish keeper had to flick the effort over the bar.

The resulting corner wasn’t cleared by the home side and the ball fell to Terodde, the in-form forward fired across goal and narrowly missed his mark.

Union Berlin created a chance of their own shortly after Collin Quaner managed to burst into the area as Kreilach drived into the box with the ball after getting into some space he cut back and hesitated with his shot and the effort was blocked before falling into the arms of Langerak.

The entertaining start to the half continued and surprisingly Union Berlin managed to grab an equaliser out of nowhere. Roberto Punčec found space out on the left and his cross tempted Langerak to come out to claim, unfortunately for Stuttgart their keeper couldn’t deal with the danger and punched the ball straight to Steven Skrzybski who fired past Langerak as he blasted his effort just out of the reach of the Stuttgart stopper.

After the goal the home side were very much on top and Stuttgart were struggling to deal with the pressure from Union. Their top scorer Quaner had a glorious chance to take the lead, Simon Hedlund raced down the left and after cutting in he provided a lovely ball across goal and the unmarked Quaner took his eye off the ball and missed it completely from a couple of yards out.

Stuttgart came close themselves shortly after, Terodde picked out Takuma Asano and his effort in the area looked to be heading in, however Christopher Trimmel was able to get across and put his body on the line to direct the ball out for a corner.

Back down the other end Union should’ve grabbed that all important second goal, Felix Kroos found space and with the goal baring down on him Langerak came rushing out and managed to come out on top in the one-on-one exchange. The rebound fell to Kreilach on the edge of the area and his effort was agonisingly cleared off the line.

Six minutes from time the home side appealed for a penalty, once more Hedlund crossed from the left and Skrzybski went down with the ball at his feet, nevertheless play was waved on.

The last chance of the game fell to the hosts, Philipp Hosiner was allowed to turn in the area and his effort on goal was saved rather comfortably by Langerak.

The second half fight back from Union Berlin was impressive and they could’ve won the game on a number of occasions, Stuttgart will be disappointed that they weren’t able to build on their early goal and the draw sees them missing out on the top spot. As for Union Berlin they drop to seventh with the draw thanks to Dynamo Dresden’s win over Greuther Fürth.

Nürnberg 2-0 Hannover 96: Clinical first half from Der Club sees off Die Roten

Sunday afternoon saw two former Bundesliga sides clash as both looked for vital victories. 1. FC Nürnburg were the hosts as they looked to earn a fourth straight victory, they hosted a Hannover 96 side that were looking to bounce back from a disappointingly defeat last weekend.

Nürnberg needed a win in order to leap up the table and a fourth win in a row would see them jump up into the top eight following a slow start to the season. Hannover on the other hand have had a good start to their season and a win would see them go back into second place and keep the pressure on league leaders Eintracht Braunschweig.

The hosts started the game very well, they set the tempo high and they were rewarded quickly. In the fourth minute Nürnberg made the first move in taking the lead, Kevin Möhwald created space for himself and this allowed him to switch the play out to Tobias Kempe, the winger twist and turned to tease the Hannover full back and his effort forced Samuel Radlinger into a save, the young keeper failed to keep hold of the shot and this allowed Tim Matavž the chance to stroke home the rebound.

Hannover responded well to going behind and they applied some good pressure. The away side came agonisingly close to levelling the scoring when a corner came out to Sebastian Maier, he managed to keep his effort low and it flew through bodies and headed for the bottom left corner, unfortunately for him Thorsten Kirschbaum reacted brilliantly to save.

The away side came close to scoring soon after the Maier chance, this time it was from a freekick twenty-five yards out. Edgar Prib stood up to take and his effort was lifted over the wall and agonisingly curled just wide of the bottom right corner.

As the game ticked past the twenty minute mark Nürnberg doubled their lead despite being on the back foot since opening the scoring. Ondrej Petrak won possession in midfield, Matavž then laid the ball out to the right to Möhwald and the midfielder whipped in a terrific ball towards the back post and an unmarked Guido Burgstaller was picked out wonderfully to powerfully head past Radlinger.

The second goal was one of the last bit of action in the first half as Hannover struggled to gain momentum and Nürnberg were happy to control the tempo of the game. Before the break however Hannover almost carved open a chance, Prib slipped the ball through to Miiko Albornoz and the Chilean was denied a shot thanks to Even Hovland’s excellent tackle to intervene.

At half time Hannover made changes to bring on Martin Harnik and Felipe and the changes almost paid off immediately. Two minutes into the half Prib crossed in a lovely teasing cross from the left and it was Harnik on the end of it, however somehow Kirschbaum managed to deny Harnik with a wonderful reaction save.

The second half failed to provide much entertaining goal mouth action as Nürnberg remained strong defensively and restricted Hannover, who were struggling to create any chances.

Before the game entered the last fifteen minutes however Hannover were given the chance to get themselves back onto the game. Prib was at the heart of the action for Hannover again and his pass into Felix Klaus lead to Mišo Brečko bringing down the Hannover man. Miiko Albornoz stepped up for his side and he struck it well to the bottom left, unfortunately Kirschbaum matched the effort and wonderfully flicked the penalty onto the post and out for a corner.

As the game approached the end Hannover started to try their luck from range and one shot in particular caused problems for Nürnberg Salif Sané was given time and his effort from range was flying towards the top right corner, however Kirschbaum was there once more to provide a great save.

That was the last of the action as Nürnberg managed to see out the 2-0 victory, keeping back to back clean sheets and extending their win streak to four games, this also meant they jump up to eighth place. As for Hannover that’s now back to back defeats for them and stay in fifth place.

1. FSV Mainz 2-1 SV Darmstadt 98: Die Nullfünfer finally win at home after edging past Die Lilien

The opening Bundesliga game on Sunday saw SV Darmstadt 98 travel to nearby 1. FSV Mainz 05 and despite it being a derby match tensions are rarely high in the meetings between the two. However a close exciting encounter was in store as both were keen to end their poor runs.

Darmstadt are yet to win away from home this season in the league and today’s game was a good opportunity for Die Lilien as their host’s Mainz have struggled to earn three points at home, Die Nullfünfer haven’t won at home since April and they looked to end a run of five games without a win at the Opel Arena.

No mercy from Mainz as they fly out the blocks

The home side couldn’t dream of a better start to their afternoon as five minutes into the game they took the lead. Daniel Brosinski excellently lofted the ball over the top of the Darmstadt defence to Gaetan Bussmann, who at the first time of asking played the ball across to the open Pablo De Blasis and the Argentine fired past Michael Esser.

Darmstadt looked to react quickly to conceding and pushed more and more men forward, come the seventeenth minute they almost equalised. A cross into the Mainz area wasn’t delat with and this allowed László Kleinheisler to volley from range and in catching Jonas Lössl off his line he almost scored, fortunately for Mainz Lössl managed to get the slightest of touches to flick the effort onto the bar.

A minute later Mainz should’ve scored, Levin Öztunali fed the ball forward to Yunus Mallı, who excellently played the ball through to Jhon Andrés Córdoba and despite doing the hard part of getting away from his marker and rounding the keeper he couldn’t direct his shot on target and his chance was wasted as it struck the side netting.

In the twenty-fifth minute Malli was denied, the Mainz star drived forward towards goal and he excellently sent Alexander Milosevic flying past him as he faked a shot to cut inside, his left footed effort was then saved by the hand of Esser who did well to stop his side going another goal down.

The resulting corner saw Malli deliver and it was Alexander Hack who managed to meet the delivery, sadly for the central defender he couldn’t make the most of his chance and headed just wide of the post.

After the half hour mark Córdoba had another chance to get himself on the scoresheet, Malli crossed from the right and Córdoba’s powerful header cannoned off the crossbar.

The last action of the half saw some controversy, a high ball in the area saw Stefan Bell challenge with Antonio-Mirko Colak, the latter went down and the referee awarded a penalty which was very harsh on the Mainz defender. Colak stepped up to take the penalty and disappointingly for the forward his penalty was saved by Lössl, despite the save you could argue Lössl was well off his line before the penalty was taken.

Mainz hold on despite a late push from Darmstadt

Darmstadt’s second half didn’t start in the way they would’ve wanted, like the first they conceded early. In the fifty-sixth minute Malli picked up the ball outside the area and danced his way into the box and Die Lilien skipper Aytac Sulu made a poor decision and brought down his countryman. The penalty was awarded and Malli was the man that calmly stepped up and stroked the ball down the middle to double his sides lead.

After the hour mark Darmstadt created a golden chance to get themselves back into the game, an awful back pass from Giulio Donati  saw Sven Schipplock run through on goal, the substitute managed to get past Lössl, however the angle was against the forward and he was forced to cut the ball back across goal to where Colak was arriving and somehow the Croatian failed to make contact on the pass and the chance was wasted.

Following that missed opportunity the game died down slightly as Darmstadt looked defeated and Mainz looked to see out the result. The next chance didn’t arrive till injury time and this saw another penalty awarded for Darmstadt.

A cross into the area saw a header strike the arm of Niko Bungert and a penalty was awarded, once again it was a harsh decision against the home side as there was no intent and no way Bungert could avoid the handball with the header being so close. Nevertheless Jérôme Gondorf stepped up for the away side and produced a quality penalty to score his first goal of the season.

Darmstadt left it late to get on the score sheet and they will look back on this game thinking what could’ve been after a handful of missed opportunities that should’ve struck the back of the net. Mainz will be delighted with all three points and even more so that their home curse has come to an end.

Mainz move up to eleventh place following the victory and up next they face Schalke away after hosting Anderlecht in the Europa League during the week. Following today’s loss Darmstadt have to dust themselves off and pick themselves up for the visit of Wolfsburg.

1. FC Union Berlin 2-1 Hannover 96: Quality Quaner inspires Eiserne to victory over Die Roten

On Sunday afternoon Union Berlin celebrated fivety years of being named Union and in doing so managed to celebrate in fine style by dispatching their guests and grabbing all three points.

Hannover 96 travelled to the Stadion An der Alten Försterei knowing a win would see them jump from third to first in the table. Despite having that prize dangling in front of their eyes Hannover had to be careful against Union side that sat in sixth place and hasn’t tasted defeat at home for almost a year, their last loss at home came on the 24th of October 2015.

Intense first half fails to provide goals

The game got off to an excellent start as the ball quickly ended up in the back of the Union net inside the first minute, a cross from the right saw Felix Kroos direct the ball into his own net. Fortunately for Kroos and his side a freekick was correctly awarded after Iver Fossum pushed the midfielder.

The first real threatening effort on goal came in the fourteenth minute and it fell to the home side, Kroos delivered an excellent corner which allowed Roberto Punčec to leap the highest and his header rattled the crossbar before going over. In doing so the Croatian clashed heads and needed a moment to recover.

A minute after Union’s chance Hannover came close to scoring themselves, Kenan Karaman crossed from the left and his lovely ball found an unmarked Artur Sobiech, the Pole failed to test Jakob Busk Jensen after only getting minimal contact on the cross. Fossum was at the back post to play the ball back into the danger area, however the Norwegian was just offside.

Both sides weren’t showing how you should play the passing game as both failed to keep hold of possession and the passing accuracy was rather poor, however luckily for the home side they had Kroos on the pitch to provide some quality. Just after the half hour mark Kroos picked up the ball out on the right and his delightful ball picked out Damir Kreilach at the far post, unfortunately the midfielder wasn’t quite tall enough and directed the cross wide.

The last chance of the first half fell to Union Berlin and it was the closest both sides came to an opener. Kroos switched the play with his freekick and given space was Steven Skrzybski, who was allowed to control and fire towards goal, his effort swerved towards the near post and was saved by the fingertips of Philipp Tschauner.

Keller’s killer move work’s wonders

Early in the the second half provided a couple of half chances for both sides, however none that threatened either keepers, the second half wasn’t as intense as the first and more chances were created. Sadly ten minutes into the half play was stopped after a pyro show from the away supporters caused smoke to make it’s way onto the pitch.

Once play resumed the entertainment continued and the away side came agonisingly close to opening the scoring. Just after the hour mark Felix Klaus fired in a wonderful low ball across the Union area and at the back post Fossum slid in, however he couldn’t get enough contact to direct the ball on target.

The stop in play thanks to the Hannover fans was disappointing, however the game did improve after, the game was less intense and their were plenty more chances as both team’s pushed for the three points.

As the game edged towards the last fifteen minutes both sides made changes and it was Union’s change that proved to make the difference. Collin Quaner replaced Kenny Prince Redondo and a minute later he scored the opener. The ball came in from the right and after Quaner and Christopher Trimmel got in each other’s way the ball fell perfectly for Quaner and the forward brilliantly finished past Tschauner.

Things went from bad to worse for Hannover as some poor defending lead to Union doubling their lead four minutes later. Quaner once more was at the heart of the move as he wonderfully steamed forward beating a number of players before cutting the ball back across goal, Skrzybski narrowly missed the ball, nevertheless Philipp Hosiner was unmarked towards the back post and his job was easy as he calmly slotted the ball home.

The officials added on eight minutes of injury time and as the game entered the added on time Skrzybski came very close to making it three, his effort from range narrowly flew just wide of Tschauner’s post.

Hannover did manage to get themselves on the score sheet, however it was left too let. Sobiech managed to keep hold of possession before picking out Felix Klaus who fired past Jensen with his right-footed effort.

The game came to end soon after Hannover’s goal and it was an opportunity missed for the former Bundesliga side as they missed out on the chance to go top, they still stay third however only by goal difference. Union Berlin go level on points with their opponents today with the victory and now find themselves just two points off top spot.

Article for VAVEL Bundesliga.

Will Oumar Niasse emerge from the shadows?

In January 2016 the winter transfer was coming to a close andEverton needed more firepower to turn their fortunes around. The man they signed to help things was Senegalese forward Oumar Niasse, at the end of the window the Merseyside club spent £13.5 million on the Lokomotiv Moscow man. Come October the former Railroaders goalscorer now find’s himself playing for Everton under-23’s and his future looking bleak.

Rocky road for Niasse

Since his dream move to the Premier League Niasse has only made five appearances for Everton and all being relatively short appearances, the most minutes Niasse experienced in an Everton shirt was towards the end of the 2015/16 season when he played sixty-three minutes away to Leicester City.

The striker is yet to score a senior goal for the Toffees after struggling to gain a place in Roberto Martinez’s side and further more since the arrival of Ronald Koeman on Merseyside the Senegal forward has found game time even harder to come by. Niasse was told soon after Everton’s first pre-season fixture that he was no longer needed at the club and to start looking to play elsewhere, after the discussion with Koeman it looks even more likely that Niasse may never score in the royal blue Everton shirt.

The news of Niasse being allowed to leave the club didn’t cause any shock waves through the Everton fan base as many believe he won’t be good enough to pull on the shirt again.

After being told he can leave the club Niasse looked away fromGoodison Park for a move, however he only had one destination on his mind and that was to stay in England. Despite interest from club’s such as West Brom, Hull City and Crystal Palace nothing concrete was put on the table and this left Niasse unwanted at Everton as the summer window shut.

Playing with the kids

Shortly after the window closed things worsened for Niasse as he was then demoted to train and play  with the Everton under 23’s. In plenty of cases this would see a player chuck his toy’s out of the pram and kick up a fuss in the media, however that’s not the case with the Senegalese man.

Speaking to the Guardian Niasse explained how he’s looking to prove a point to everyone and show his talent in England, even if it means playing for the under 23’s, “If, at any time, Everton need me – for the 23s or the first team – I will be there, because I work for Everton. They paid a lot of money for me and that’s why I feel I have to show something. People say what they think but they don’t know me in England. They have never seen me fit and playing”.

For the under 23’s Niasse has appeared four times and has played a part in win’s against Arsenal, Manchester United andWolverhampton Wanderers.  In the matches against Arsenal and Manchester United Niasse managed to get his name on the score sheet with two close range efforts, the first against Arsenal was an easy first time finish with his right foot and his second for the under 23’s saw Niasse powerfully head home a cross from the right.

Oumar Niasse is certainly looking to prove a point in the under 23’s despite him not having a place to store his belonging’s as he works hard on the training pitch, “I’m in the dressing-room with the under-23s but I don’t have a locker, the other players have where they put their stuff but I don’t. I come with my bag and I just have a place I know. I put my bag down, I train and after, I put everything in my car and go home”.

Despite your opinion on his footballing ability the forward certainly doesn’t deserve not having a place at Finch Farm. Something the Senegal man agrees with, nevertheless he hasn’t made a fuss instead he’s handled the situation excellently,  “It’s sad, it’s really sad. And, to be honest, I think that I don’t deserve this. But what I can do is just keep my head and fight to change things. I’m not going to make a drama over this. I just deal with it. I know that it’s just one period”.

It’s an attitude that’s great to see and who know’s, if he continues to score for the under 23’s and work hard in training, the future could see him make a return to the first team set up. Niasse has been named in Everton’s 25-man squad so all hope isn’t lost for the forward and the least his efforts can do is attract interest away from the Toffees.

It’s not the first time in his career Oumar Niasse has had to prove himself, in Russia for Lokomotiv Moscow he had to wait before catching flight and over the next few months we’ll see if his Everton career is another delayed take off.

Article for VAVEL

FC Shalke 04 4-0 Borussia Mönchengladbach: Sensational second half sees Die Knappen shock Die Fohlen

The Veltins-Arena was the stage for the Bundesliga’s last match of the weekend as struggling Schalke hosted a Borussia Mönchengladbach side looking to leap up into second place.

Schalke have surprised everyone so far this season, however not for the right reason’s as they sit in an unfamiliar position at the bottom of the Bundesliga. The Gelsenkirchken club needed to find their Europa League form and start transferring it into league form as the international break approaches.

As for Gladbach things looked bright going into the game they sit in sixth place after picking up ten points in their five matches and as previously mentioned a win would mean second place was their’s. Despite losing in midweek against Barcelona the club could take positives into their game with Schalke after performing admirably.

Schalke flew out the blocks

The home side didn’t waste any time in looking to get on the front foot and get the fans behind them and it took just five minutes for them to show Gladbach some threatening signs. Nabil Bentaleb found space in midfield and attempted to play the ball through to Eric Choupo-Moting, which he succeeded in doing so, disappointingly for Schalke the offside flag was raised against the forward.

Die Knappen were the side on top and the first meaningful effort on goal came after ten minutes. Alessandro Schöpf crossed from the left and the bounced all the way through to Leon Goretzka, on the turn the youngster’s effort was on target however it didn’t cause Yann Sommer any problems.

Shortly after the effort from Goretzka the home side had another, Nico Elvedi was able to stop Schöpf advancing towards goal, well so he thought, Schöpf quickly robbed Elvedi of possession and struck an effort on goal. Sadly for Schöpf his hard work didn’t pay off as his effort rolled into the hands of Sommer.

Visitors Gladbach were very quiet in the first half and struggled to produce anything going forward, nevertheless they finally did towards the end of the first half. A ball over the top picked out Fabian Johnson and the American cut the ball back to Andre Hahn, agonisingly for their fans the ball edged away from the forward before being cleared for a corner.

The resulting corner almost produced the first goal, Jannik Vestergaard arrived at the back post and managed to leap above his marker to head the ball over Ralf Fährmann, to the relief of the Schalke keeper Schöpf was on the line to clear the danger.

Schalke surprise as they run riot

The second half started with electric pace as both teams looked to get on the front foot, a minute into the half Hahn was able to force Fährmann into action with a strike from thirteen yards.

Die Fohlen were looking better and looked more likely to grabbing the lead, however that wasn’t the case as in the fifty-second minute saw the referee award Schalke a penalty. Choupo-Moting picked up possession on the left side and came inside only to be clipped by Ibrahima Traoré in the area. The Cameroon forward stepped up to take and he excellently fired into the top left corner, the effort was just out of the reach of Sommer.

Four minutes later things got even better for Schalke as they doubled their lead. Sead Kolašinac won the ball for the home side on the left and after brilliantly bursting forward he was able to play in Breel-Donald Embolo who was free in the middle and the young Swiss was able to guide the ball past his countryman Sommer and into the bottom right corner from eight yards.

The goals didn’t stop there either as Schalke made it three, Mahmoud Dahoud was robbed of possession inside the Schalke half and a counter attack was on. Embolo charged forward and slipped the ball into Choupo-Moting his effort looked to be heading in, however Sommer was able to pull off a great save, unfortunately for the keeper he was left helpless as the rebound was tucked away by Goretzka.

Gladbach were left stunned after the three quickfire goals and struggled to respond. One of the opportunities that came their way saw Thorgan Hazard link up with Johnson and his strike from a tight angle was saved by Fährmann and unluckily flashed past the Hahn and the post.

As the game entered the last ten minutes Schalke grabbed themselves a fourth, Andreas Christensen failed to pass the ball back to Sommer as he came under pressure from Embolo and the Schalke man managed to edge ahead of the defender before knocking the ball past Sommer and tapping into the empty net after tangling with Christensen.

That proved to be the last of the action as Schalke sealed all three points, not only was it their first win of the season it was also their first points of the season. A much needed win for the men in blue and a big wake up call for Gladbach who looked vulnerable at the back once more.

The victory now sees Schalke move off the bottom of the table and into the relegation play-off spot, meanwhile Gladbach drop down to ninth place. After the international break Schalke will look to grab another victory when they travel to Bavaria to face Augsburg, while Gladbach will have to pick themselves up and face Hamburg at Borussia Park.

RB Leipzig 1-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach: Die Bullen fail to hold onto victory as Die Fohlen leave it late

During English week in the Bundesliga there was a first meeting between two team’s, RB Leipzig played the part of host’s as they welcomed Borussia Mönchengladbach to their home for the first time.

Leipzig have impressed early on in the season and went into the game in fifth place following a draw and two wins, one of those wins saw them defeat Borussia Dortmund. A win for the home side would see them into the top four.

For Gladbach they’ve had a mixed start to the season, after an opening day victory they found themselves losing 3-1 to Bundesliga newboy’s Freiburg. On the weekend however they bounced back with a 4-1 win over Werder Bremen which took them into seventh place. Tonight a win over newly promoted Leipzig could send them into the top four if results go their way.

The opening of the night came very early on as the hosts started brightly, Yussuf Poulsen produced a lovely drive forward before crossing from the right. Timo Werner was able to bring the ball down, despite a heavy touch the forward was fortunate as the ball came back to him thanks to a mix up between the two Gladbach centre backs, without hesitation Werner fired in across goal and past Yann Sommer.

After the goal Leipzig played with plenty of confidence and dominated the opening stages, the only thing that was lacking for the hosts was the chances to double their lead.

Just after the twenty minute mark the game started to even out and Gladbach looked more settled in Leipzig.

With twenty-seven minutes gone in the game Gladbach managed to create their first chance of the game. André Hahn picked up the ball inside the area and quickly played a high-looping ball across the box to the unmarked Fabian Johnson, the American then produced a delightful volley which struck the top of the crossbar thanks to the fingertips of Péter Gulácsi.

After the half hour mark Leipzig had an opportunity to score after a lightning quick counter attack saw Werner burst forward, Poulsen was too his right but the young forward played in Marcel Sabitzer and the Austrian’s shot from the edge of the area flew straight into Sommer’s arms.

Shortly after Gladbach had a chance themselves, Lars Stindl played an excellent ball forward through to Hahn and the forward’s shot was deflected wide for a corner after Leipzig defenders reacted quickly to close the danger.

In the last five minutes of the half Leipzig had a glorious chance to double their lead, a freekick was played out to the left and a delightful cross to switch play picked out full back Marcel Halstenberg. Despite having plenty of space and no pressure the defender wasted his opportunity after mishitting his volley into the ground and wide of Sommer’s goal.

Early in the second half Gladbach appealed for a penalty, Johnson managed to get round Willi Orban just inside the area and both player’s went to the ground. Despite the appeals match official Manuel Gräfe waved away the protests and awarded a goal kick.

Leipzig responded to that attack with one of their own, they managed to win themselves a freekick and the delivery found the head of Marvin Compper, who’s headed despite being on target was comfortably collected by Sommer.

Although the second half began with plenty of promise the game quickly shifted back into a tightly fought battlefield as both team’s struggled to come out on top of the play. This unfortunately meant a lack of chances for both sides.

As the game approached the end Leipzig troubled Sommer once more, Poulsen slipped the ball through to Werner and the goalscorer’s effort forced Sommer into a save, despite there being a rebound Gladbach were able to recover possession.

With five minutes left on the clock Gladbach were able to surprise the host’s to grab an equaliser. Hahn played the ball forward to Stindl and the Gladbach skipper found Johnson on the right and the American was able to cut inside sending Halstenberg past him before brilliantly curling the ball round Gulácsi and into the far bottom corner.

Instantly after conceding Leipzig came agonisingly close to regaining the lead, Poulsen broke down the right once more and played the ball inside to Oliver Burke, his first time finish looked to be heading past Sommer but the Swiss keeper was able to react to save.

Straight down the other end Johnson looked to inspire Gladbach to a late victory, once more he found space on the right hand side of the area and this time he decided to find a teammate, his cut back somehow found Hahn who was expecting the ball to find him and his touch let him down.

Both sides couldn’t be separated for large parts of the game and despite Leipzig looking slightly more dangerous going forward when the game came to an end, neither side went home hugely disappointed.

Up next for Leipzig is another surprise package as they travel to face in-form Köln, who’ve also yet to taste defeat in the Bundesliga this season and find themselves in second. For Die Fohlen they host an Ingolstadt side who are yet to win so far this season.

Hertha BSC 2-0 Schalke 04: BSC head to the top after dispatching S04

The eventful Bundesliga weekend came to a close on Sunday evening as Hertha BSC hosted Schalke 04. After lack of action it was Hertha that showed their quality to send Schalke home empty handed once more.

Hertha have started the campaign in fine fashion having picked up two victories in their opening two matches, a 2-0 win against Ingolstadt and a 2-1 victory over newly-promoted Freiburg. They went into Sunday’s game in high spirits and confident of another three points, which was needed if they were to move up from fifth into joint first along with Bayern Munich.

Schalke have made changes over the summer and so far this campaign things have struggled to get going, after two matches the club find themselves second from bottom thanks to two losses against Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayern.

The only fresh injury concern for either side coming into the game was for the home side as Anthony Brooks suffered an injury earlier in the week.

Slow start Sunday for Hertha and Schalke

The game failed to kick itself into life throughout the first half as both team’s struggled to create their chances and the battles around the pitch were equally fought out between both team’s.

The final ball lacked on a number of occasion’s and the first showing of this came in the third minute, Breel-Donald Embolo broke down the left side as Schalke looked to counter and a poor through ball forward towards Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was easily cut out.

Schalke came forward down the left once more moments later as Rahman Baba managed to get the better of Peter Pekarík, his cross from the byline however saw Sebastian Langkamp cut out the danger and put the ball out for a corner.

Hertha were having more of the ball in the first half and were able to sustain the most pressure, however they were failing to create the chances needed to take the lead. Their guests Schalke were more purposeful when in possession and they came close to an opener after the hour mark, Eric Choupo-Moting managed to beat Pekarík out on the left and after cutting inside his effort took a deflection and narrowly flew past the post.

Hertha find their feet to take the lead

Schalke managed to create the first bit of action of the second half six minutes in, Benjamin Stambouli found space outside the area and his effort from thirty yards deflected off Fabian Lustenberger and forced Rune Jarstein into flicking the ball over his bar.

On the hour mark Genki Haraguchi took it into his own hands to try and break the deadlock and he came close to doing so. The Japanese midfielder drived down the left and came rushing inside before trying his luck which flew well wide.

This proved to be a warning for Schalke as moments later the home side grabbed the lead. Vedad Ibišević played the ball out to the right and despite having got to the ball first Stambouli had a nightmare as he gifted the ball to Pekarík, the full back charged towards the area before cutting the ball back to Mitchell Weiser and he excellently finished across goal and into the top left corner for his first goal of the season.

Ten minutes after taking the lead Hertha doubled it, Per Ciljan Skjelbred won the ball off Nabil Bentaleb and Weiser was alert to quickly chip a glorious ball over the top to substitute Valentin Stocker and at the first time of asking the Swiss forward direct his effort past Ralf Fährmann.

After the second Schalke were able to apply some pressure on the Hertha defence, however they continued to fail to cause them any problems. The game didn’t provide much else in the game as Hertha looked to see out the game, they came close to a third as Weiser played the ball through to Julian Schieber and unfortunately for him Naldo did well to block him off and shield the ball out of play.

That was the last of the action and the three points head to Hertha who maintain their 100% start to the campaign meaning it’s their best ever start to a campaign and they move up to joint first with Bayern. Up next for the capital club they travel to Munich to face Bayern on Wednesday as English week heads to Germany.

Schalke continue their disappointing start and they need to turn things around quickly before a European finish escapes their grasp. On Wednesday they have another tough task as in-form Köln come for a visit to the Veltins-Arena.