On this, the day of St. Valentine, the Bundesliga has restored my faith in love.
See, I'd been feeling a bit down today. My Premier League team is in the relegation zone, having scored a measly 12 goals all season. I've been using Bundesliga as sort of a crutch, a way to get my fix of goals so I don't end up in a padded room, trying to scratch off the invisible bugs.
But Germany had failed to satisfy recently. I mean, a series of 1-1 draws? Narrow 1-0 victories? Two rounds in a row featuring matches with zero goals scored? I was ready to move on, to attempt to find my fill of free-scoring matches elsewhere. Portugal was looking nice.
Then came this weekend. After much hyping of Wolfsburg's visit to Bayer Leverkusen, I feared it would be a letdown, that the Wolves would play too conservatively, that Leverkusen's strikers would still be unable to find the net. So I turned on Konferenz, hoping that with five games going, at least a few balls would find the back of the net.
And oh, did they. Bas Dost opened the scoring with a goal for Wolfsburg. They were up 3-0 by the 30th minute, Werder Bremen were leading Augsburg 2-1 by the 23rd, and Bayern Munich had a 3-0 lead over Hamburger SV by halftime. By the end of 90 minutes, 26 goals had been scored. In five matches.
The cynics say you should learn to defend. I say, turn a deaf ear (and a blind eye to their 140-character rants). Those trying to put a damper on today's fun obviously didn't get a Valentine this year. Or perhaps they were never hugged as a child. Yes, there's a place for defense in football. Sure, tactics are often intriguing. Even a goalless draw can be entertaining if done in a masterful way.
If it had just been an 8-0 thumping doled out by Bayern Munich, okay. Perhaps people don't enjoy a spectacle normally observed through long-range lenses while wearing safari hats. But this weekend gave us so much more. Heung-Min Son scored a hat trick inside ten minutes, so Bas Dost had to one-up him, scoring four. His last gave Wolfsburg their late winner, 5-4 over Leverkusen. Yet Hoffenheim also beat Stuttgart, 2-1, with a stoppage time goal, while Borussia Mönchengladbach sneaked a 1-0 win over Köln with a last-minute goal from Granit Xhaka.
People -- probably those same people writing missives on how the Bunesliga must learn to defend -- moan about the fact that Bayern looked to have sewn up the title way back in October. Yet somehow Germany is still offering up plenty of drama. No, it's not just the goals. There's the scramble for the Champions League places, with six teams having a reasonable shot at the two that haven't been nearly clinched already. One of those sides is Werder Bremen, who were in the relegation zone when the second half of the season started.
That, of course, is excellent news for Dortmund, who've been traumatized by this season. So recently a Bundesliga winner, so recently a Champions League runner-up, yet so recently the team sitting dead last. With two wins from two, they've zoomed up to 14th, and by the end of next week could find themselves midtable. Yet somehow, they're still behind HSV, despite the latter having the fewest goals in the league. Of course, it may have helped that Hamburg won last week thanks to two own-goals from Hannover.
Defense? Screw it. At least every once in awhile. There are people hurting, the world over, beyond desperate to see a goal. The Bundesliga will provide. They'll give us hat-tricks, four-tricks, bullet headers, Arjen Robben, late winners, instant concedings, own goals flicked with flair and style, and straightforward, old-fashioned spot kicks. Oh, and they'll give us a guy named Bas Dost. It's simply impossible to not fall in love with a league that gives you four goals, in a single match, from a man called "Bas Dost."