The last two placed teams accumulated more points in this matchday than the top two combined! Although it would be an obvious understatement and a sign of ignorance merely labelling the past weekend as just Dudelange and Hesper slipping up. So if you are also interested in the rest, keep reading!
F91 Dudelange 0-1 Union Titus Pétange
Differdange 2-0 Mondercange
Mondorf 5-0 Fola Esch
Swift Hesper 2-2 Etzella Ettelbrück
Käerjéng 1-2 UNA Strassen
Victoria Rosport 4-2 Racing Union Luxembourg
Wiltz 2-2 Hostert
Jeunesse Esch 0-1 Progrès Niedercorn
Match of the Weekend #20
F91 Dudelange hosted Union Titus Pétange for a game that had the opportunity to act as a title decider come the end of the season. Although F91 and Hesper still have to play each other once, with the gap between the two teams possibly growing to five points in the event of an F91 loss and a Hesper win against Ettelbrück, the red-and-whites could have staked a realistic claim for the title at that point.
Union were coming off the back of an impressive run of form already, their free-scoring attacking trio of Artur Abreu, Kempes Tekiela and Kai Merk helping the team deliver leaders Hesper's only league defeat so far this season. On the other hand, F91 have had a slight blip in form since the winter break, dropping points at winnable ties on several occasions.
At Stade Jos Nosbaum, Union once again didn't try to protect the 0-0. Although Dudelange had more chances early on, it was Union setting the tempo with a high-pressing, attacking brand of football, both sides mainly exploiting each other's mistakes at the back. Although all big chances were efficiently dealt with by defenders (or an onrushing goalkeeper), the first half was fascinating to see from a tactical perspective. UTP found it hard to get going against an organised 5-strong F91 backline, with Edis Agović in a makeshift centre-back role following Ismaël Sidibé's suspension last week.
The second half switched things up quite a bit. Union had a newfound momentum, while F91 did struggle in the early stages after the resumption, and never really gelled afterwards either. UTP’s efforts were being kept under control until the 70th minute, when Dudelange defender Chris Stumpf received his second yellow card for the day, resulting in an immensely difficult situation for his team, who now had to contain one of the most reckless scoring attacking units with a defender down. They didn't succeed for very long: Union took the lead straight from the subsequent free kick. Marian Sarr put the ball in the middle from deep, but goalkeeper Lucas Fox made a shocking error, parrying the ball straight onto Kempes Tekiela's leg, allowing the ball to bounce up and find its way into the net by a header from the German striker.
After the goal, the guests once again proved who had been controlling the game, as goalscoring opportunities began to dry up from both sides at 0-1, the game becoming much slower and timid. Only in stoppage time did F91 attack with more urgency, by when 17(!) yellow cards had been handed out. The scoreline didn't change though, meaning Union could beat Hesper and Dudelange on two consecutive matchdays! Things have gone from bad to worse for the hosts, who are now three points behind Hesper and with a hard task to solve in finding their own rhythm after a way too inconsistent start to the spring season.
Player of the Weekend #20
Although Alhassane Keïta didn't score against Fola Esch, and he was taken off after 70 minutes, his contribution to Mondorf's 5-0 win on Sunday was evident. An assist in the first half and another two after the break contributed to an exceptional team display as the Angry Goats swept Stefano Bensi's team aside, stopping their prolific domestic form.
Despite not getting on the scoresheet this time, he already has 7 goals in 13 games to go with the tally of four assists. It has so far been enough for a sixth place for Mondorf, who are once again far away from relegation worries this season.
Goal of the Weekend #20
There were quite a few contenders for the column this week, but nothing beats Ernesto Carratala-Jiménez's shot in my eyes. The German winger inspired Rosport's 4-2 underdog win over Racing Union by a solo run waltzing past several defenders before taking a turn and leaving them on the wrong trail with a body faint, to then curl the ball from the edge of the box onto the woodwork and in the net. Goalkeeper Romain Ruffier stood mesmerised, and he can hardly be blamed for this one.
Hostert midfielder Donovan Bonet's inch-perfect free-kick to open the scoring against Wiltz 71 is worth a look as well, while Bilal Abdelkadous' brace against Fola consisted of two beautifully hit shots after solo efforts. A satisfying weekend for neutral fans and technically gifted attackers.
Storyline of the Weekend #20
The managerial merry-go round doesn't stop. Let's see where it stands at the moment, to get a bit of clarity.
- Differdange have announced they are sticking with caretaker Hélder Correia Dias for the rest of the season, as the former reserve coach guided the team to a 2-0 victory against Mondercange, filling in temporarily after the sacking of Stéphane Leoni last week.
- Hostert also announced the departure of their manager Lars Schäfer after the team were in the bottom two after 19 games played. Schäfer's absence was solved by hiring Henri Bossi for his third tenure at the helm for the club. Bossi has a plethora of experience having worked both with the national setup and most of the country's powerhouses at club level. His latest role was as a sporting director at Swift Hesper, but upon hearing about the vacancy at his own favourite club, he couldn't resist from taking on the challenge once again. Last week's was his 161st game as a Hostert manager, and a draw at Wiltz meant they are only one point away from the relegation play-offs and three points from complete survival at the moment.
- UN Käerjéng also decided to get rid of their head coach. Marc Thomé's fate was sealed after the side's 1-2 loss at home versus UNA Strassen, increasing their winless streak to 13 consecutive games, as they haven't celebrated a victory since overcoming Fola Esch back in mid-October. Thomé, who also leads the league's disciplinary ranking thanks to frequent altercations with officials, couldn't even last a full season for the newly-promoted team, who announced their decision to change manager right before the international break. They believe, as they stated, that the upcoming hiatus in their schedule will provide the perfect opportunity to decide on the best candidate to succeed in charge.