So the long wait for the start of the new Bundesliga season is over and we have had the first round of what should prove to be a fascinating battle for the Meisterschale. Reigning champions will face stiff competition from Borussia Dortmund, while RB Leipzig will want to make the title race a three-team battle.
The opening weekend didn’t disappoint and there were plenty of talking points. We had the Friday opener with the battle of the Croatian coaches, BVB were stunned early on before going on a goal-fest, while RB Leipzig spoilt the party for Union Berlin.
So just who were the winners and losers from matchday 1?
There has been so much positivity and enthusiasm regarding BVB’s title aspirations this season that a positive start was a must (especially with Bayern dropping points at home to Hertha Berlin). The Schwarzgelben however could not have got off to a worse start with Augsburg opening the scoring after barely 30 seconds! Shades of deja-vu of last season’s opener against Leipzig.
Lucien Favre’s side were not behind for long though and after Paco Alcacer’s equaliser, it was one-way traffic and they ran out comfortable 5-1 winners. Alcacer grabbed two, while Jadon Sancho, Marco Reus and debutant Julian Brandt got the others. There was evidence of the strength in depth BVB now have with Favre’s substitutes. The introduction of Brandt, Achraf Hakimi and Mario Götze made no noticeable difference in the quality of the line-up.
All in all a good afternoon for Dortmund, who after just one matchday sit top of the table. Will that still be the case after matchday 34?
Bayern’s hitman was up to his old tricks right from the outset. The 30-year-old Polish striker bagged another record to add to his collection when he scored the opener against Hertha Berlin on Friday. It meant he had scored in the season opener for the fifth year in a row, more than any other player. Lewandowski surpassed Stefan Kießling and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who achieved this feat in four consecutive years.
The Bayern striker has scored a total of nine goals on matchday 1 of a Bundesliga season, equal with Fritz Walter in the all-time rankings. Only Klaus Fischer on 13 goals and Gerd Müller on ten boast more.
Friedhelm Funkel clearly hasn’t heard of ‘Second Season Syndrome’ whereby the surprise package of the promoted sides from the previous season struggle in their next one. There was none of that on display at the Weser Stadion as Fortuna Düsseldorf pulled off a shock 3-1 victory over Werder Bremen.
The home side were a little wasteful with their chances, but Funkel’s side played a very clever game and deserved the three points which came courtesy of goals from Rouwen Hennings, Kenan Karaman and centreback Kaan Ayhan.
Maxi Arnold/ Jonathan Schmid
The goal of the weekend was arguably a coin toss between Wolfsburg’s Maxi Arnold and Freiburg fullback Jonathan Schmid. Midfielder Arnold fired home an absolute screamer to open the scoring at home to Köln on Saturday. With the Geissböcke failing to clear a corner sufficiently, he adjusted his body superbly, before unleashing a sumptuous volley that left Timo Horn with no chance.
Normally it would be a hands down winner, but Freiburg’s new fullback signing from Augsburg, Jonathan Schmid, has run him very close. Freiburg scored three goals in the final ten minutes at the Schwarzwaldstadion to beat Mainz with Schmid’s second the pick of the bunch.
Cutting in from the right, he unleashed a rocket of a curling shot with his left-foot to double the home side’s advantage. Someone’s been watching videos of Arjen Robben during their summer break methinks.
Until yesterday Congolese/German Streli Mamba had played no higher than the 3.Liga in Germany. Paderborn’s summer signing from Energie Cottbus wasted no time at all in getting used to life in the Bundesliga scoring in his first-ever appearance. It wasn’t the most spectacular goal, but he won’t care.
He lashed the ball home to equalise in the 25th minute against Bayer Leverkusen after Wendell had hand-balled Sven Michel’s shot off the line. Referee Tobias Stieler played advantage, allowing Mamba to celebrate his Bundesliga debut with a goal.
FC Augsburg/ Tomas Koubek
Augsburg are many pundits tip for relegation this season and based on Saturday’s display against Dortmund, you can see their point. Granted they were playing one of the favourites for the title, but there was just so much wrong with their play. Chief amongst the culprits was poor goalkeeper Tomas Koubek, who was making his Bundesliga debut after moving from Rennes in the summer.
He was at fault for all of Dortmund’s first three goals. First he fumbled at his near post to allow Paco Alcacer to equalise, before flapping at the cross that reached Jadon Sancho for the second. Worse was to come as he came out and completely missed the ball for Marco Reus’ goal making it 3-0.
After their goal, they offered nothing going forward and when Paco Alcacer grabbed his second, they had all eleven players in and around the penalty box, yet nobody was near the deadly BVB striker. Augsburg have real problems.
The Portuguese midfielder turned 22 on Sunday, but I bet he didn’t feel like celebrating. Sanches was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons having been fined €10,000 by the club for his outburst following Bayern’s opening night draw against Hertha Berlin.
Speaking to Sport 1 after the match, Sanches vented his frustration at only being sent on very late in the game. “Five minutes is not enough. The situation is not good for me, this is the second time I have wanted to leave the club and they have not let me go.”
Consider the toys well and truly thrown out of the pram. CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge clearly was not impressed telling Sanches to literally pipe down. “It is not appropriate that you run away so angry here after the first or second game,” Rummenigge said. “We will not sell him, that will not work, he would do well to calm down.”
It’s like Sanches and Rummenigge are performing karaoke to Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody.
‘Easy come, easy go, will you let me go?
Bismillah! No, we will not let you go. (Let him go!)’
The first game of the new season is always highly anticipated by the promoted sides and they want to hit the ground running to make a good start. Going from the top of one league to being the underdog in another can be tough.
All three of this season’s promoted sides however ended matchday 1 with a defeat. Champions Köln were beaten by 2-1 VfL Wolfsburg with Simon Terodde’s late consolation making the score line look slightly better. Paderborn gave Bayer Leverkusen a real challenge at the Bay Arena only to to finish on the wrong side of a 3-2 result.
The fairy tale ended fairly quickly for Union Berlin as RB Leipzig made themselves even more unpopular than they already are in Köpenick. Julian Nagelsmann’s team showed little mercy in dishing out a comprehensive 4-0 defeat at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei.
Anyone late into a Bundesliga stadium
The message after matchday 1 is clear: Don’t hang about outside the stadium munching your bratwurst and slurping your beer, otherwise you will miss out. If you were not in your seat (or standing spot) by 15:31 at the Signal Iduna Park or at the Commerzbank Arena, you would have missed the opening goal.
Augsburg took just 30 seconds to score against Borussia Dortmund with Florian Niederlechner finishing a fine move to stun BVB. Over in Frankfurt on Sunday Martin Hinteregger was only marginally slower as his goal after 36 seconds was enough to claim all three points at home to Hoffenheim.
You snooze, you lose. Get in early!
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