The opening matchday of the 2020-21 Bundesliga brought plenty of talking points as Germany’s finest began the season with a bang. We had goals aplenty, debuts to remember (and some to forget) as well as a little controversy off the pitch as fans were finally allowed back into the stadia in a limited way. So just who were the winners and losers of matchday 1?
Serge Gnabry/ Leroy Sané/ Jamal Musiala
If anyone was hoping that Bayern Munich were going to suffer a hangover from the Champions League or be suffering from a lack of real pre-season, they were sorely disappointed on Friday as they demolished a sorry Schalke side at the Allianz Arena to send out a real signal of intent to the rest of the Bundesliga.
The Königsblauen were torn to shreds with Serge Gnabry helping himself to a hat trick and Leroy Sané producing a fantastic debut display which saw him provide two assists and score the seventh goal himself. Pre-match talk had been that he would be lacking fitness/ sharpness, but if that is what he can produce when not fully up to speed, then the league better watch out when he is match ready.
A great night for the Bavarians was capped by the debut goal from 17-year-old Jamal Musiala, whose well taken goal in the 81st minute makes him Bayern’s all-time youngest Bundesliga goal scorer.
After the huge disappointment of crashing out of the DFB Pokal last weekend at Eintracht Braunschweig on the back of a run of pre-season defeats, there was an air of apprehension over Hertha as they travelled to face Werder Bremen. That they emerged with a 4-1 win will give them plenty of confidence going into the early part of the season.
After taking control of the game in the first 45 minutes, two goals right at the end of the half from Peter Pekarik and Dodi Lukebakio put them in the driving seat. Matheus Cunha’s goal in the 63rd minute put the game beyond Werder (if it wasn’t already) and new signing Jhon Cordoba added a fourth to cap an impressive display from the subs bench.
“We got into the game very well and let the ball run smoothly” coach Bruno Labbadia explained at the final whistle. “After 20 minutes the game was very even, but then we scored the two goals at the right moment – the second goal was very good for our heads, especially after the penalty that was withdrawn. All in all, it was a good performance as a team. That was a good start for us!”
After finishing last season with a four-goal haul at the Signal Iduna Park against Borussia Dortmund, Hoffenheim striker Andrej Kramarić is already getting amongst the goals at the start of the new season. Following a brace last weekend in the DFB Pokal, the Croatian helped himself to a hat trick against Köln in the season opener to hand new coach Sebastian Hoeneß a debut win.
It took the 29-year-old just three minutes to score after taking advantage of an under hit back pass from Jonas Hector to Timo Horn. A penalty was added in first half injury time and then he bagged a 92nd minute winner with a well taken run and shot to snatch all three points. That means that in his last three competitive games for the Sinsheimer he has scored all of their nine goals.
The player missed a large part of last season through injury but looks in the mood to make up for lost time as the new season gets underway.
The Borussia Dortmund counter
Dortmund got themselves off to a winning start in the late game on Saturday with Lucien Favre putting his faith in youth with both 17-year-olds Jude Bellingham and Giovanni Reyna starting as well as 20-year-olds Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland.
The third goal in their 3-0 win was a thing of beauty as BVB showed just how dangerous they can be on the counter. In the 78th minute they were defending a corner with Haaland on the near post. 15 seconds later they had charged up field via the surging dribbling of Sancho and the Norwegian striker was on hand to fire home his second of the game having covered almost the entire length of the pitch in support of the Englishman.
The only crumb of consolation for poor Schalke after their hammering at the hands of Bayern in the season opener is that the Bavarians can hand out that sort of beating to a club like Barcelona, so they’re in good company.
Only the most optimistic/ deluded would have thought about anything other than a defeat for the Gelsenkirchen side, but the manner of the capitulation will have alarm bells ringing at the club. Defensively there was just no resistance to Bayern’s attack and little that coach David Wagner could do to stem the tide. Yes, Bayern were impressive, but Schalke were so poor that it made things really easy.
With their next two away games at RB Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund, the pressure is already on Schalke to get something from next week’s game at home to Werder. New season, but the same old woes for the hapless Königsblauen.
Much like Schalke it didn’t take long for any of the optimism going into the new season to evaporate at the Weser Stadion as the Grün-Weißen slumped to a 4-1 home defeat to Hertha.
The defensive frailties from last season reared their ugly heads again as did the notion that the team don’t really know what they’re doing. Florian Kohfeldt struggled to make the necessary adjustments and Davie Selke’s goal was nothing more than a consolation- there was hardly anything positive to take out of the game.
Yuya Osako was hardly involved, Josh Sargent found himself wide on the left or having to drop deep to get involved and while Tahith Chong did okay, Hertha found it easy to negate him. 8500 fans were allowed into the stadium to witness the season opener. The 34,000 that were unable to attend should count themselves lucky.
Nathan de Medina
As far as debuts go, it wasn’t exactly one to remember for Arminia Bielefeld defender Nathan de Medina. The right back signed in the summer from Royal Excel Mouscron was booked after just seven minutes for a foul on Sebastian Rode in which he came off worse.
After some treatment, it was clear he was struggling against Filip Kostic and after just 13 minutes had to be replaced by Cedric Brunner as a result of injury. The only bright side was that Bielefeld emerged with a point in their Bundesliga bow.
The FC Bayern board
Despite winning 8-0 on the pitch on Friday, Bayern scored an own goal with the behaviour of their board members, who were clearly seen ignoring all the corona virus distancing and hygiene rules. Oliver Kahn, Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, Herbert Hainer (and for some strange reason ex-Schalke chairman Clemens Tönnies) were all sitting closely together and not wearing face masks as they watched Friday’s match at the Allianz Arena.
With the match being played without fans due to an increase in the infection rate locally, the attitude of the Bayern bosses brought a slight reprimand from the Bavarian health minister Melanie Huml. “It would have been wiser for the Munich management team if they hadn’t sat so close together – because there was enough space. In general, the following applies to Corona: keep your distance where possible. Put on masks where necessary” she added.