The first ‘Englische Woche’ of the season brought some exciting midweek action to the Bundesliga with the usual thrills and spills we’ve all come to expect.
Bayern surprisingly lost their 100% record, while Schalke equally surprisingly maintained their unwanted 100% loss record. Dortmund absolutely demolished Nürnberg in an avalanche of goals while Stuttgart remain winless.
So just who were the winners and losers from matchday 5?
Four games, four wins and a 100% record for Bayern Munich across all competitions- not many people would have given Augsburg much chance of emerging from the Allianz Arena on Tuesday with anything other than a comprehensive defeat.
The Fuggerstädter were however the first side this season to take points from the reigning champions with a gutsy performance in their 1-1 draw. Keeper Andreas Luthe was in fine form, but a 48th minute strike from Arjen Robben looked to have sealed another win for the hosts.
Not so, as Felix Götze profitted from a rare mistake from Manuel Neuer as he manged to chest home from close range after Jeffrey Gouweleeuw had fired across the six yard box.
“If you want to take something from a match against Bayern München, you need luck and courage” explained Augsburg trainer Manuel Baum after the match. “We benefited from these two things tonight. We came into the game tonight with the belief that we could take something from the match and we pressed Bayern for the full 90 minutes. We put in a really strong performance tonight.”
Florian Kohfeldt’s side had made a pretty good start to the new season, but their visitors on Tuesday Hertha Berlin had made an even more impressive start. Sitting second behind Bayern, the Alte Dame arrived at the Weser Stadion on a real high and potentially posed a real problem for the Grün-Weißen.
Werder however showed that their European ambitions this season are serious with a 3-1 win over the capital club. A defensive howler handed them their first before Milos Veljkovic powered home a header just before half-time. Hertha did hit back with a fine striker from Javairo Dilrosun, but a Max Kruse penalty sealed another three points for Werder.
Nuri Sahin enjoyed a solid debut which lasted 60 minutes while old buddies Martin Harnik and Max Kruse both got themselves on the scoresheet and enjoyed a little rehearsed celebration jig after each goal.
“It was our most consistent game of the season today” Florian Kohfeldt said after the final whistle. “We played good football with high intensity for almost 90 minutes. Everyone wanted to have the ball in every situation, and knew how the others would react. This mentality meant that we also defended consistently well in every situation, especially after losing the ball.”
When both Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry signed contract extensions last season, it seemed both were set for a last hurrah at Bayern after years of service. Kingsley Coman and Serge Gnabry were the young pretenders, but so far this season, Dutchman Robben has showed he is not ready to take a back-seat.
With goals against both Hoffenheim and Bayer Leverkusen, the 34-year-old added his third in four games with Bayern’s opener against Augsburg on Tuesday. He slammed home his 98th Bundesliga goal with (of course) his left-foot after being set-up nicely by Gnabry.
The only downside for Robben was that his goal didn’t secure a fifth straight league win with Augsburg equalising with four minutes left of the game.
Wow! I was actually in two minds as to which match to watch on Wednesday night, but boy did I make the right choice by tuning into Borussia Dortmund at home to Nürnberg.
There has been a fair bit of comment in the opening weeks regarding Dortmund’s style and Lucien Favre’s preference for solidity rather than outright flair, but few BVB fans were complaining after seeing their team blast seven unanswered goals past a hapless Nürnberg.
Both Jacob Bruun Larsen and Achraf Hakimi grabbed their first Bundesliga goals, Marco Reus helped himself to a brace (and his 100th Bundesliga goal) while there were also goals from the subs bench with Jadon Sancho and Julian Weigl getting on the scoresheet.
Hakimi was hugely impressive on his debut at right-back, and the success of Favre’s changes will have given him a real selection headache ahead of the coming Bundesliga and Champions League outings. It was the Schwarzgelben’s highest win in 32 years.
After opening the season with three losses, it’s now two wins on the trot for Bayer Leverkusen and their win on Wednesday away to Fortuna Düsseldorf came courtesy of a brace (and his first goals of the season) from Kevin Volland.
After a poor first half from an attacking perspective, Volland profitted from extremely poor marking at a corner five minutes into the second half to stab home from close range. His second arrived just ten minutes later as he headed home after being teed-up beautifully by Kai Havertz.
With the German national team not exactly overflowing with striking options, a good run of goalscoring form could see Volland force his way into Bundestrainer Joachim Löw’s thoughts.
On paper this looked like the ideal opportunity for the Königsblauen to finally end their dismal start to the season, but as it turned out it was the occasion for yet another defeat making it nought from five.
Coach Domenico Tedesco changed his system to a back-four and surprisingly sacrificed talismanic defender Naldo in the process. His tinkering didn’t pay-off with debutant Cedric Teuchert having a wholly forgettable first start.
A goal seven minutes into the second half at the Schwarzwaldstadion from Florian Niederlechner was enough to condemn Schalke to a fifth straight defeat and bring back horrible memories from the ill-fated season under Markus Weinzierl two years ago.
Schalke next face Mainz at home on Saturday with three points an absolute must.
Fabian Lustenberger/ Rune Jarstein
Hertha goalkeeper Rune Jarstein is usually a very reliable custodian, but when his defenders start messing around in his six yard box domain, then problems are sure to follow. Against Werder, the hosts were gifted their opening goal with defender Fabian Lustenberger decided to kick the ball out of Jarstein’s hands, allowing Martin Harnik to scramble home his first goal of the season.
“Mine, mine, mine…..actually it seems not….*@$#!!!”
Fans vs The Authorities
The first Englische Woche was the stage for an organised ‘atmosphere boycott’ during the opening 20 minutes of all nine matches on matchday 5 with an eerie silence descending on the stadia. It was reminiscent of an English Premier League match with the mute button very much turned on.
Fan groups continue to be in dispute with the DFB over issues such as inconvenient kick-off times, increased ticket prices and the general commercialization of the game.
‘DFB, DFL & Co. Ihr werdet von uns hören, oder auch nicht’ (You will hear from us, or not) was a banner seen at multiple matches in midweek. Talks between the authorities and fan groups broke down in late August, with a supporters coalition releasing a statement accusing the DFB of having no real intention to listen, despite promises of meaningful dialogue between the two sides stretching back more than 12 months.
“We increasingly got the impression that as in previous decades, they were only using media-friendly words to avoid any actual action,” explained the supporters collective.
We have not seen (or not heard!?) the last of this.
The end of last season ended on a real high for Stuttgart, but sadly for the Swabians the new campaign hasn’t really got off the ground as they remain winless after five games.
The latest disappointment for Tayfun Korkut’s side came with a 2-0 loss away at RB Leipzig on Wednesday. For a more detailed look at what has gone wrong for Stuttgart, take a look at Louis Ostrowski’s recent piece Tayfun Korkut’s Struggling Stuttgart need a rethink.
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