‘Gladbach run riot in nine-goal thriller

Cameroon striker Mohamadou Idrissou was both goal-scorer and provider for Mönchengladbach as they upset Leverkusen 6-3 on Sunday in a nine-goal thriller on a weekend of shock results in the Bundesliga.

'Gladbach run riot in nine-goal thriller
Photo: DPA

Leverkusen’s Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler had a day to forget as his defence capitulated leaving coach Jupp Heynckes furious.

“‘Gladbach played very well,” admitted Heynckes. “We made a mess of our defensive organisation. We invited them to the party and they punished us.”

After Bayern Munich were beaten at Kaiserslautern on Friday, Wolfsburg allowed a 3-0 lead to slip to a 4-3 defeat by Mainz on Saturday as Schalke went down at home to Hanover on a bad weekend for the German league’s top teams.

Leverkusen fielded Germany star midfielder Michael Ballack – who was booed off when he was replaced in the second-half – as well as Adler and striker Stefan Kießling.

But they were out-played by ‘Gladbach as midfielder Patrick Herrmann netted twice for the guests which were both set up by Idrissou, who scored himself in the second-half.

“This is an extraordinary day for us,” said coach Michael Frontzeck. “We took everything possible from this game and everything worked out for us. But our objective will not change, we want to build on last season.”

On Sunday evening, Stuttgart’s poor start continued as they were well beaten 3-1 at home by Dortmund.

The visitors raced into a 3-0 lead after just 37 minutes as Christian Gross-coached Stuttgart suffered their second consecutive defeat.

“We played an outstanding first half. That was great football,” enthused Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp.

It started when defender Marcel Schmelzer fired in a cross which deflected off Dutch defender Khalid Boulahrouz and into the net after five minutes. Striker Lucas Barrios and midfielder Mario Goetze then both netted before Germany striker Cacau pulled a consolation goal back on 69 minutes for Stuttgart, who are bottom of the table after two games.

“The way we played in the first-half, we had no spark at all,” said Cacau. “The goal and our fighting spirit came too late.”

Hoffenheim are joint early leaders with Kaiserslautern after Ghana defender Isaac Vorsah headed a late goal on Saturday that gave them a 1-0 win at newcomers St Pauli.

Wolfsburg playmaker Diego marked his return to the Bundesliga with a goal, but was unable to prevent his new side’s shock 4-3 defeat by Mainz as the home side threw away a 3-0 lead.

Last season’s runners-up Schalke were shocked 2-1 at home to Hanover, with defender Konstantin Rausch and striker Mohammed Abdellaoue scoring either side of half-time as the Royal Blues suffered their second consecutive defeat.

Hamburg had to come from behind to win 3-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt as Dutch defender Joris Mathijsen scored a 61st-minute equaliser to spare his side’s

blushes before Ruud van Nistelrooy claimed his third goal in two games.

Peruvian Jose Paolo Guerrero netted in the 89th minute to seal the three points for Hamburg.

Bremen bounced back from their hammering on the opening day of the season against Hoffenheim when they beat Cologne 4-1, while Freiburg beat Nuremberg

2-1 after coming from behind thanks to two goals by Senegal striker Demba Cisse.

On Friday, champions Bayern Munich suffered a shock when they lost 2-0 at 10-man Kaiserslautern.

Bayern were beaten in only their second German league game of the season and were punished for a lethargic first-half performance, as Cologne claimed their second straight win.

Thomas Müller wasted a golden chance for the visitors in the first half and Kaiserslautern, last season’s second division champions, made Bayern pay through goals from Ivo Ilicevic and Srdjan Lakic.

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Putellas becomes second Spanish footballer in history to win Ballon d’Or

Alexia Putellas of Barcelona and Spain won the women's Ballon d'Or prize on Monday, becoming only the second Spanish-born footballer in history to be considered the best in the world, and claiming a win for Spain after a 61-year wait.

FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award.
FC Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas poses after being awarded thewomen's Ballon d'Or award. Photo: FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Putellas is the third winner of the prize, following in the footsteps of Ada Hegerberg, who won the inaugural women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018, and United States World Cup star Megan Rapinoe, winner in 2019.

Putellas captained Barcelona to victory in this year’s Champions League, scoring a penalty in the final as her side hammered Chelsea 4-0 in Gothenburg.

She also won a Spanish league and cup double with Barca, the club she joined as a teenager in 2012, and helped her country qualify for the upcoming Women’s Euro in England.

Her Barcelona and Spain teammate Jennifer Hermoso finished second in the voting, with Sam Kerr of Chelsea and Australia coming in third.

It completes an awards double for Putellas, who in August was named player of the year by European football’s governing body UEFA.

But it’s also a huge win for Spain as it’s the first time in 61 years that a Spanish footballer – male or female – is crowned the world’s best footballer of the year, and only the second time in history a Spaniard wins the Ballon d’Or. 

Former Spanish midfielder Luis Suárez (not the ex Liverpool and Barça player now at Atlético) was the only Spanish-born footballer to win the award in 1960 while at Inter Milan. Argentinian-born Alfredo Di Stefano, the Real Madrid star who took up Spanish citizenship, also won it in 1959.

Who is Alexia Putellas?

Alexia Putellas grew up dreaming of playing for Barcelona and after clinching the treble of league, cup and Champions League last season, her status as a women’s footballing icon was underlined as she claimed the Ballon d’Or on Monday.

Unlike the men’s side, Barca’s women swept the board last term with the 27-year-old, who wears “Alexia” on the back of her shirt, at the forefront, months before Lionel Messi’s emotional departure.

Attacker Putellas, who turns 28 in February, spent her childhood less than an hour’s car journey from the Camp Nou and she made her first trip to the ground from her hometown of Mollet del Valles, for the Barcelona derby on January 6, 2000.

Barcelona's Spanish midfielder Alexia Putellas (R) vies with VfL Wolfsburg's German defender Kathrin Hendrich
Putellas plays as a striker for Barça and Spain. GABRIEL BOUYS / POOL / AFP

Exactly 21 years later she became the first woman in the modern era to score in the stadium, against Espanyol. Her name was engraved in the club’s history from that day forward, but her story started much earlier.

She started playing the sport in school, against boys.

“My mum had enough of me coming home with bruises on my legs, so she signed me up at a club so that I stopped playing during break-time,” Putellas said last year.

So, with her parent’s insistence, she joined Sabadell before being signed by Barca’s academy.

“That’s where things got serious… But you couldn’t envisage, with all one’s power, to make a living from football,” she said.

After less than a year with “her” outfit, she moved across town to Espanyol and made her first-team debut in 2010 before losing to Barca in the final of the Copa de la Reina.

She then headed south for a season at Valencia-based club Levante before returning “home” in July 2012, signing for Barcelona just two months after her father’s death.

In her first term there she helped Barca win the league and cup double, winning the award for player of the match in the final of the latter competition.