The second weekend of Bundesliga action delivered once again with plenty of action, excitement, goals and a smattering of controversy. Bayern and Dortmund maintained their perfect starts, while the usual suspects (and a few surprises) got on the scoresheet.
So who were the hits and misses of Bundesliga matchday 2?
I read a tweet earlier in the week that compared facing Bayern to visiting the dentist. It’s not pleasant, but it has to be done twice a year. If that is the case, then striker Robert Lewandowski must be like the dreaded dentist drill to most Bundesliga clubs.
The Bayern hit man just keeps scoring and scoring. He missed out on the Torschützenkanone by one goal last season, but means business in his quest to get it back from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Two goals on Saturday against Werder finally saw FCB overcome a largely resolute and stubborn Bremen side, who frustrated Carlo Ancelotti’s men for so long. There was hint of offside for his first in the 72nd minute, but his clever backheel beat Jiri Pavlenka following Kingsley Coman’s cross.
His second goal was equally as impressive as a great solo run was finished with a left-foot shot drilled through the legs of both Robert Bauer and Pavlenka three minutes later
Lewandowski has now scored 12 goals in his last 9 games against Bremen. I’m sure Werder fans would rather face the dentist!
The 100% Club
Going into the international break we have four clubs with a perfect record after the opening two matches of the season. Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, and of all clubs. promoted Hannover and Hamburg!
Champions Bayern easing to two straight wins will come as no surprise, but the fact that perennial relegation candidates HSV are matching them will. Markus Gisdol has overseen a 1-0 win over Augsburg and 3-1 victory away at Köln. How long before their bubble bursts remains to be seen as they face RB Leipzig after the international break.
New Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Bosz will be delighted with the stat his side have made. The transfer saga over Ousmane Dembélé hasn’t affected performances on the pitch and the players have shown that are adapting to his ways quickly. Youngster Dan-Axel Zagadou has been particularly impressive filling in at full-back, while Christian Pulisic has also shone.
Hannover’s return to the top flight has also got off to the perfect start with their impressive win over Schalke on Sunday following up from the three points picked away at Mainz.
Almost the forgotten man under Thomas Tuchel, the 28-year-old midfielder has really staked his claim to be a cornerstone of new BVB trainer Peter Bosz’s side with his start to the current campaign.
Şahin was limited to just three starts last season and it was his omission from the DFB Pokal final that finally saw the dressing room rift with Tuchel come to breaking point. However, with Julian Weigl injured the former Real Madrid player has started both games this season.
Against Hertha Berlin on Saturday he was excellent scoring one and providing an assist for the other in a 2-0 home win. First, in the 15th minute he had the vision to curl in a sumptuous cross for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score, before adding the second himself in the 57th minute.
As the ball dropped to him on the edge of the penalty area, he executed a technically superb half-volley with his supposed weaker right foot. The shot gave keeper Run Jarstein no chance as it flew into the top right corner. The rocket effort was 108kmh!
“It’s a nice feeling to finally appear on the score sheet after two and a half years. My last goal has been too long ago,” Şahin said.
“Every footballer lives on confidence and trust. It’s not a criticism [towards Thomas Tuchel], but I have the trust of the coach and I’m trying to show that on the pitch. The new role also suits me. I’m feeling very comfortable in this system.”
Centre back Holger Badstuber celebrated his full home debut for his new club VfB Stuttgart by scoring the only goal of the game as the Swabians beat Mainz 1-0 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Badstuber, a free signing having been released by Bayern, stooped to powerfully head home a corner delivered from the left by fellow debutant Denis Aogo. You wouldn’t exactly call Badstuber prolific though.
His last and only other Bundesliga goal came a full 2822 days ago in December 2009 when he scored for Bayern Munich against Mainz.
“It’s always a really special moment,” he said afterwards. “It really gives you goosebumps. It’s hard to imagine if you’ve never experienced it before, but all I can say is it’s something quite amazing, and of course I enjoyed it.”
Badstuber was deployed as part of a three-man defence and lead superbly. He made a total of 38 passes- 90% of which were successful. All in all, a good day’s work and a welcome return.
Leipzig’s forward line
The new RB Leipzig frontline really stepped up in the Sunday game against SC Freiburg as they came back from 1-0 down to win 4-1. The stand out performers for die Rote Bullen were all in the attacking third with Timo Werner, Jean-Kevin Augustin and substitute Bruma heavily involved.
New signing from Paris St Germain Augustin was lively throughout the 75 minutes he was on the pitch and should consider himself unlucky not to have got on the scoresheet. He provided the assist for Werner’s second goal with a top pass and the ovation he was given when he was replaced was more than deserved.
Timo Werner took a leaf out of the Robert Lewandowski playbook with a double strike. The first a great header and the second a clinical finish when through on goal.
The icing on the RB second half comeback was applied by Bruma, a summer signing from Galatassaray, as with almost his first touch he fired home a candidate for goal of matchday 2 to match from the edge of the box to match the effort of Dortmund’s Nuri Şahin.
The honour (or rather dishonour) of receiving the Bundesliga’s first red card of the season falls upon Hamburg defender Mergim Mavraj. To make matters worse he was given his marching orders against a former club, and to make matters even worse he was dismissed for a Gelb/Rot from two different referees!
It took just three minutes for Felix Brych to whip out the yellow card for an early foul. Then in the second 45 minutes, Brych had to lip off with a muscle injury to be replaced by fourth official Sören Storks. Remarkably it only took the replacement 49 seconds to dish out a second booking for a clear foul when Mavraj pulled back Jhon Cordoba.
Not the best way to mark his first return to the Rhein-Energie Stadion and his first appearance of the season. His last sending off was also of the gelb/rot variety back in 2014 playing for Greuther Fürth.
The 0% Club
The strange thing is that neither Werder Bremen, Mainz, nor Köln have played particularly badly in their first two games, but they nonetheless find themselves pointless going into the international break.
The Grün-Weißen were unlucky to lose against Hoffenheim last week and couldn’t really be expected to upset the Deutsche Meister on Saturday. They showed a more solid side and can be proud of their general display.
Mainz are also sitting on zero after a second defeat. They were arguably the better side in losing to Hannover on Matchday 1, and they will think they did enough to have earned at least a point against VfB Stuttgart. In both games, the taking of chances has let the Nullfünfer down.
Surprise European qualifiers last season, the Domstädter haven’t got off to the best of starts this time around. A narrow loss in the Rheinderby last weekend was not ideal, but then losing to 10-man Hamburg at home on Friday certainly was a bit of a shock.
All three sides have the break for the World Cup qualifiers to gather their thoughts and to work with those players not on international duty ready to go again on matchday 3.
It is a case of two for the price of one this week in ‘Gute Woche/ Schlechte Woche’ as Hamburg defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos joins team mate Mergim Mavraj in the ‘bad week’ column.
Do you know the Greek word for ‘embarrassing’? My best effort at a translation is ‘Αμηχανία’. Perhaps we could use the word ‘Papadopoulos’ instead as quite simply his Oscar winning theatrics are just that- plain embarrassing.
When Köln pulled the game back to 2-1 in the 90th minute on Friday, they were understandably keen to retrieve the ball from the back of the net and get on with the job of grabbing a late, late equaliser. The usual scuffle for the ball ensued and as striker Jhon Cordoba tried to retrieve the ball, he ran past the giant Greek centre back.
When the Köln forward had gone a meter or so, Papadopoulos hit the deck. It was like he had been taken down by a high calibre sniper’s rifle from row Z of the Rhein-Energie Stadion.
Surely Cordoba had pulled some kind of ninja move and floored the HSV colossus. How else could you explain such a pained expression and the flooring of the 6ft, 85kg defender? The untrained eye may have assumed guilt on behalf of the Colombian striker, but with the help of the VAR in his earpiece, referee Sören Storks was able to see it for what is was and duly booked Papadopoulos.
Trying to con the referee when he’s now got VAR- embarrassing and dumb.
Following on from last week’s impressive win over Leipzig, it came as a bit of a shock that the Königsblauen went down to a 1-0 defeat at Hannover. What was even more surprising was the lack of attacking bite from Domenico Tedesco’s side.
Amine Harit, Yevhen Konoplyanka and Leon Goretzka couldn’t find a way through while Franco di Santo was largely ineffective and substitute Guido Burgstaller also found it hard to make an impact.
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