The best league in Europe is back, the Bundesliga. So who are the leaders after the first weekend? Munich? Dortmund? Schalke? Well, in fact, the it’s the capital city club that are leading the way (After one game, it must be said), Hertha Berlin.
This weekend had everything from slapstick Frankfurt’s slapstick defending, to the fluid counter attacks of Leverkusen, which in the end resulted in the 37 goals spread across 9 games. We missed you, Bundesliga.
First game of the weekend, already reviewed by TBR, was the season opener between Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach.
The season opener was a tightly fought contest with both teams creating chances, but only one team had the luck and that was Bayern. 2 penalties were given within 30 seconds, of which both could be questioned, with the second being put away by Alaba and securing a 3-1 win in the end.
Next up we have Borussia Dortmund, who travelled to Augsburg with confidence having comfortably beaten Bayern in the glorified Supercup and progressing into the 2nd round of the German cup. What they didn’t expect was the game that they were given by FCA, until Aubameyang had netted his 2nd goal midway through the second half, the game was completely even, perhaps Augsburg having the slight edge over Dortmund. Dortmund were unable to control the tempo of the game, having very little space to create anything and leaking chances like a drain pipe at the other end, none of which being taken. Dortmund were able to see the game through in the end, comfortably winning 4-0 thanks to new signing, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s hattrick.
In a game that is billed to be somewhat of derby, sparks did fly as Wolfsburg were reduced to 9 men having being dominated by the near perfect Hannover, who even before the red card decisions looked the better with Andreasen and Huszti putting the game to bed in this comfortable 2-0 start for Slomka’s men.
Less eventful was this week’s ‘Topspiel’ between Braunschweig and Bremen. After 80 dull minutes of misplaced passes and little quality attacking play, the game came to life as Junuzovic gifted Werder their first win since February, while Braunschweig almost instantly equalized before Caldirola brilliantly cleared the ball off the line. 1-0.
Hertha Berlin with their slick counters and effective pressing, ran wild against last year’s surprise team, Frankfurt, making them look like amateurs demolishing them 6-1.
Leverkusen similarly defeated Freiburg on the counter, however, in a far more closely fought tie with Bayer eventually prevailing as 3-1 winners after Freiburg’s Jonathan Schmid missed from the spot (Although, many say it should not have been given in the first place due to Oliver Sorg appearing to trip over himself.
Hoffenheim and Nürnberg played Saturday’s only draw, with the game ending 2-2, although controversially Kevin Volland’s excellent chip was not counted despite clearly being over the line which means Hoffenheim drop 2 points which they really should have attained.
Between Sunday’s two games, 11 goals were scored. 5 of which between Mainz and Stuttgart, with the former winning 3-2, thanks to Nicolai Müller’s brace and Stuttgart not gelling as they should be. Heinz Müller’s match sealing performance is worth noting as he kept the Swabians out time and time again, in the end keeping the two teams apart by one goal gifting Mainz their first 3 points of the season.
Finally, we arrive in Gelsenkirchen, perhaps the game of the weekend, in which there were more twists and turns than a Stieg Larsson novel. Hamburg going down after 83 seconds before taking the lead twice before Schalke were able to claw back a point in the end, thanks to their new Striker pairing, Adam Szalai (one goal) and Klaas Jan Huntelaar (two goals). 3-3, the game ended, Hamburg are the team who are able to take more from this, however, as they were very tactically aware (for Hamburg) and knew their game plan very well.
After the first game the current standings at the top are:
1. Hertha Berlin (+5)
2. Borussia Dortmund (+4)
3. Bayer Leverkusen (+2)
3. Bayern Munich (+2)
5. Hannover 96 (+2)
6. Mainz 05 (+1)
But we can’t really read in to it, as it is only beginning.