The race for the Bundesliga crown remains tense with Hertha going back on top following their win over Moenchengladbach. Hoffenheim were held goalless at Dortmund , as were Bayern Munich against ten-man Werder Bremen.
Wolfsburg are up to fourth with a 3-1 win over Hamburg, while Bayer Leverkusen went down to defeat at Hannover.
(1) Christian Vander (Werder Bremen)
With Tim Wiese injured, Christian Vander was drafted in against Bayern Munich and he certainly didn’t let anybody down. He put in a ‘Man of the Match’ display to keep Bayern goalless. Three excellent saves in the first half and two more in the second secured a point for Werder.
(2) Rafinha (Schalke)
The Brazilian full-back was back to his best on Saturday as Schalke notched up an away win at Frankfurt. He was secure at the back and a constant threat going forward down the right. He capped a fine performance with a goal.
(3) Andreas Ibertsberger (Hoffenheim)
The Austrian defender had a solid game for Hoffenheim during their 0-0 draw with Borussia Dortmund at the Signal-Iduna Park. Most of the attention this season has gone to the high-scoring forwards, but Ibertsberger has also had a great season alongside the likes of Beck and Compper.
(4) Serdar Tasci (Stuttgart)
Tasci is looking more and more like an accomplished international defender as the season progresses. In the derby with Karlsruhe on Sunday, he put in yet another solid display to keep the home side goalless. He was dangerous at set-pieces and had a good chance to score in the first half.
(5) Andrea Barzagli (Wolfsburg)
The Wolfsburg centre-back was on top form as he marshalled the back line to help his side to a 3-1 away win at Hamburg. The World Cup winner has settled well in the Bundesliga and the solidity at the back is the foundation of Wolfsburg’s success this season. Felix Magath’s side are now fourth.
(6) Petit (Koeln)
The Portuguese midfielder is Koeln’s most important player. He got through an unbelievable amount of work against Bielefeld on Friday. His header got the home side in front and his energy was at the heart of all their best play.
(7) Pal Dardai (Hertha Berlin)
Mr. Dependable just never seems to let you down. He has been at the club since 1997 and is still doing the business, despite the club signing other players for his position. He popped up with Hertha’s second goal just before half time to help seal the win that put them top once more.
(8) Arnold Bruggink (Hannover)
The Dutchman had the simplest of tasks to stroke the ball home against Leverkusen after great play from Jan Schlaudraff, but his all-round game on Saturday was good with an energetic performance helping the Niedersachsen side to a much needed win.
(9) Sejad Salihovic (Hoffenheim)
Hoffenheim were held to a 0-0 draw by Dortmund, but that wasn’t through want of trying from Sejad Salihovic. He twice went very close with free-kick efforts and was all over the pitch instigating attacking moves. Salihovic is an absolute gem.
(10) Grafite (Wolfsburg)
Back following a knee injury, Brazilian Grafite returned with a bang for Wolfsburg hitting two goals to help his side beat Hamburg 3-1 at the HSH Nordbank Arena. The first half of the season saw the Helmes/ Kiessling partnership grabbing the headlines. Now it seems time for the Grafite/ Dzeko partnership to steal the limelight.
(11) Jan Schlaudraff (Hannover)
Like Grafite, Schlaudraff made a return from injury and showed the fans just what they had been missing. He was a constant danger up front against Leverkusen and his build-up play was superb. His excellent assist set up Bruggink for the winning goal.
Rafinha Tasci Barzagli Ibertsberger
Salihovic Petit Dardai Bruggink
As always there are a number of players, who deserve a special mention despite having not made it into the final XI.
A few goalkeepers are worthy of mention for their displays. Robert Enke (Hannover), Andre Lenz (Wolfsburg) and Roman Weidenfeller (Dortmund) all played well for their teams.
Defensively, Dino Drpic (Karlsruhe) did well against Stuttgart, Heiko Westermann was solid for Schalke, and Christian Schulz did a good job for Hannover. Marcel Schaefer was also highly impressive for Wolfsburg as was Christian Gentner in midfield.
Ivica Iliev scored and played well for Cottbus as they lost 3-2 at Bochum.
Joel Epalle of Bochum and Andrei Voronin deserve praise for their displays also. Edin Dzeko continued his good goal scoring form with his sixth goal in four games.
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Mathew Burt, Goal.com