It may only be MatchDay 2 in the Bundesliga, but the league’s glorious unpredictability is already keeping us all on the edge of our seats. Heads will be dropping at Gladbach after Lucien Favre’s men endured a second defeat in as many games leaving them at the bottom of the table. Meanwhile Thomas Tuchel’s tenure at Borussia Dortmund has begun in surprisingly near perfect fashion after a second successive 4-0 victory for Hummels and Co, while Kevin De Bruyne may have played his final game in Wolfsburg colours.
Some things never change though. Bayern Munich can still be relied upon to gain some late luck, Hamburg and Stuttgart still provide comedy in defence, and Schalke still manage to be the main cause of any demise they experience.
All we can hope for is that the remaining 32 matchdays offer the same thrills and spills as the first two. So sit back and enjoy the ride.
Roman Bürki – It would be easy to gloss over Roman Bürki’s performance as Dortmund romped to a 4-0 win over Ingolstadt on Sunday. Easy because the performance of a goalkeeper is largely a sideshow when your attack is in such irrepressible form. That should not take away though from the huge role Dortmund’s new stopper had as his side coasted to the top of the Bundesliga table. At 0-0 and after largely dominating the first half, Thomas Tuchel’s men found themselves in a spot of bother during the first ten minutes of the second half, as Ingolstadt begun to assert their presence on the game. Burki had to be alert to make a couple of excellent interventions, before doing the same again straight after Marco Reus’ penalty. Easily forgotten input, but crucial in helping Dortmund continue their impressive start to the campaign.
Johan Djourou – Johan Djourou would have been a relieved man when the 2014-2015 campaign ended with Hamburg retaining their status as a Bundesliga side. He had endured some woeful form towards the end of the season, as well as finding himself in some off the field bother. Therefore it would have come as a welcome change in fortunes as he netted the winner in Hamburg’s 3-2 victory over Stuttgart this weekend. His defending was still by and large questionable, especially having to play alongside a suspect looking Emir Spahic, but the 28-year-old kept his most important input delayed until the very end, popping up to score an excellent, and perhaps even at this early point, vital strike to ensure all three points remained with the hosts.
Robert Lewandowski – This is going to be a big season for Robert Lewandowski. After settling slowly into life at the Allianz Arena, he began to show the sort of form that made him one of Europe’s most sought after strikers towards the end of the campaign. Now, having had time to adapt to the Bayern way of things, not to mention with an endless amount of supply lines at his disposal, he should be set for a very high scoring return in 2015-2016. Therefore it must have been frustrating for the Pole to find himself on the bench for Saturday’s trip to Hoffenheim, especially having opened the season with a goal in Bayern’s win over Hamburg. Needless to say Lewandowski’s services were required as Bayern struggled to overcome their hosts and he fired a timely reminder to Pep Guardiola of his qualities, turning in a last-gasp winner to ensure Bayern travelled back to Bavaria with maximum points.
Darmstadt – Bundesliga newboys Darmstadt could have been forgiven for being a little disappointed last weekend. They were forced to settle for a point from their opening fixture against Hannover 96, despite leading their opponents twice in the game. It was encouraging therefore to see them react to that disappointment with a decent draw away at a re-invigorated Schalke (more on them later). If there is to be one negative from what was on the whole a very promising performance, it is that the newboys once again saw a lead wiped out. They will need to be wary of allowing this to happen too many more times if they are to avoid an immediate return to the 2. Bundesliga.
Julian Weigl – We started with a Borussia Dortmund player who has enjoyed a good week, and end with one too. Though in the case of Julian Weigl, it is a case of an excellent fortnight. Few expected the 19-year-old to be thrust into the limelight quite as he has found himself in the opening two weeks of the season. But the deep-lying midfielder has dealt with the responsibility admirably, turning in a couple of excellent performances. Composed on the ball and happy to drive his side forward, there is definitely more to come from the former 1860 Munich man. A bright future in the Bundesliga awaits.
Kevin De Bruyne – The teamsheet said that Kevin De Bruyne was starting for Wolfsburg, and it certainly seemed that someone that resembled his appearance was on the pitch in Cologne. But the man in The Wolves’ midfield certainly did not play like the Kevin De Bruyne we have seen before. It seems obvious to say, but the Belgian’s head has clearly been turned by the interest from Manchester City and perhaps in hindsight it would have been a better decision if Dieter Hecking had taken him away from first team duties this weekend. Alas, he did not and De Bruyne performed like a player who had his mind on other matters. This was most notable as he spurned a glorious chance at the end of the game, meaning last year’s runners up went home with a solitary point instead of all three.
Stuttgart – After last season’s toils, the new campaign was supposed to be a fresh start for Stuttgart. Instead their supporters appear to be getting more of the same. They were humbled in their season opener against Cologne, while on Saturday they were arguably the better side against Hamburg, but still managed to snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory, having led with less than ten minutes to go. It is easy though to point out exactly where they are going wrong. The Swabians have an excellent and exciting attack, but they are being constantly let down by a poor defence, one that looks like it could be breached regularly this season. Work needs to be done, or it could be another very long campaign for Stuttgart and their fans.
Hoffenheim/Eugen Polanski – When you have the chances against Bayern Munich, you have to take them. For a while things looked good for Hoffenheim as they went toe-to-toe with the champions, taking the lead after just eight seconds through highly-rated Kevin Volland. Even when Bayern equalised Hoffenheim looked capable of springing a surprise, and chances come no better than a penalty. Unfortunately for the hosts Eugen Polanski’s effort was disappointing. A short while later and Robert Lewandowski had struck a winner. Hoffenheim were left reflecting on a case of “What might have been.”
Schalke/Andre Breitenreiter – Last weekend we were presented with a Schalke we had not seen for some time. The Royal Blues were efficient, composed and deadly in front of goal. In fact, their 3-0 cruise over Werder Bremen had people predicting that this may well be an impressive campaign for the side under new manager Andre Breitenreiter after all. Such thoughts had all but evaporated by the end of play on Saturday as one of last year’s disappointments was revisited as Schalke was held to a draw at home to a stubborn, but beatable Darmstadt. Very much a case of one step forward, one step back, Breitenreiter must rectify the wrongs in this Schalke side if they are to be seriously considered a threat to the top four this time round.
Lucien Favre – It may seem a touch unfair to have the Borussia Monchengladbach manager, rather than his team on here, but this season has not started well for Favre. Last weekend, perhaps for the first time during his tenure at Gladbach he got his tactics woefully wrong with a set up that allowed Borussia Dortmund to run rings around his men. This week, while there can be less qualms about the tactics, there will arguably be more disappointment with the result, as the Champions League side suffered defeat at home to Mainz. It is a worrying start for a side that already looks weaker without the departed Christoph Kramer and Max Kruse in their line up in addition to Fabian Johnson sidelined with injury. Favre will need to start thinking of fixes quickly, before Gladbach’s season and Champions League appearance gets swallowed into the realm of a nightmare.
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