Without any disrespect to the Fuggerstädter not many people would have predicted them getting anything from their home clash with Borussia Dortmund, but Heiko Herrlich’s side sprang a huge surprise by beating the Schwarzgelben 2-0 at the WWD Arena. Goals from Felix Uduokhai and Daniel Caligiuri secured all three points.
Despite conceding the majority of possession and territory to their guests, Augsburg made the most of the chances they had and managed to successfully plug all the gaps at the back with BVB not having too many clear-cut chances or keeper Rafal Gikiewicz having to make too many outright saves.
“We are delighted to have started the season with two wins and that we won our first home game with the fans back” coach Heiko Herrlich said of the win over his former club. “We can put this victory into perspective – it was a great team performance against the ball. We kept things tight, had a bit of luck, but didn’t give them many chances. We defended well in the second half and the crowd pushed us on.”
With two wins on the bounce Augsburg find themselves joint early leaders of the Bundesliga long with Hoffenheim.
Given the nod to start against Schalke in place of Davie Selke, the 27-year-old responded in perfect fashion with a hattrick to help Werder to a much-needed three points at the Veltins Arena.
He opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after turning well to fire in after a fine downward header from strike partner Josh Sargent. His second arrived in the 37th as he rose unopposed to head home a well flighted free kick from the right delivered by Ludwig Augustinsson. The treble was achieved just before the hour mark via the penalty spot after he was brought down by Ozan Kabak.
“I think you know what you will get from me” he said after the game. “Not necessarily goals, but I think I bring a certain attitude onto the pitch with me, which helped the team today.”
VfB Stuttgart’s Congolese attacker scored his third goal in three games to help the Swabians to a 4-1 victory over Mainz. After scoring in the DFB 1st round win over Hansa Rostock and in last week’s 3-2 loss to Freiburg, the 20-year-old scored again and provided an assist in a Man of the Match display at the Opel Arena.
The new season is still in its embryonic stages, but the Stuttgart talent is already showing that the step up to the Bundesliga is not going to faze him after scoring seven goals and adding eight assists on the way to promotion from 2. Bundesliga last year.
The promoted sides
Both Arminia Bielefeld and VfB Stuttgart picked up their first wins of the new Bundesliga season this weekend. 2.Bundesliga champions Bielefeld beat 1.FC Köln at the Schüco Arena thanks to a 78th minute goal from Icelandic midfielder Joan Simun Edmundsson. His well struck shot beat Timo Horn at his near post to give Uwe Neuhaus’ side their first three points after gaining a point last week against Eintracht Frankfurt.
Stuttgart also enjoyed a great 4-1 away win at Mainz. After going behind to a Robin Quaison header, goals from Silas Wamangituka, Daniel Didavi, Mateo Klimowicz and Sasa Kalajdzic sealed an impressive win marred only slightly by the late red card given to Pascal Stenzel.
New Hoffenheim trainer Sebastian Hoeneß enjoyed the perfect home debut as he saw his side end Bayern Munich’s long unbeaten run with a highly impressive 4-1 win at the PreZero Arena.
Against his former employers, the raced into a two-goal lead with goals from Ermin Bicakcic and Munas Dabbur only for Joshua Kimmich to pull one back before the break. The Sinsheim club were not to be stopped though and brace from Andrej Kramarić kept up his excellent recent scoring form and stunned the league champions to seal a 4-1 win.
” We wanted to play very bold and attacking football today” Hoeneß explained. “But we didn’t get off to a good start. We then worked our way into the match and seized a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately, they pulled one back out of nowhere. The team responded unbelievably well, which wasn’t an easy thing to do. We did well to find space between the lines, and that’s how we managed to score the third goal. We’re unbelievably happy today. It was an exceptionally strong team performance. This win shows that we’re on the right track.”
Schalke/ David Wagner
Each Bundesliga matchday is just like Groundhog Day for Schalke and after being thrashed 8-0 at the hands of Bayern last week, it was the turn of Werder Bremen to hand out another defeat for the Königsblauen. A hat trick from Niclas Füllkrug exposed their defensive frailties, and although there were a few positive spells of possession, there was as usual no bite and Mark Uth’s late strike was nothing more than a consolation.
Following the 18th Bundesliga match without a win, Schalke finally took the decision to sack coach David Wagner the following morning. “We had all hoped that we could improve on the pitch together with David Wagner. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen the right performances and results from the first two games of the season for this to happen,” explained Jochen Schneider, Head of Sport.
“We have therefore decided to make a fresh start. Despite the disappointing results, this wasn’t an easy decision for us to make. I would like to thank David Wagner, Christoph Bühler and Frank Fröhling, who, up until their departure, have done everything they can to get Schalke back on track.”
It wasn’t just the blue half of the Ruhr divide that had a bad weekend as title hopefuls Borussia Dortmund slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Augsburg. Despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, territory and chances, Lucien Favre’s side just couldn’t break down the Fuggerstädter.
Defensive lapses were BVB’s undoing with Manuel Akanji the wrong side of Uduokhai for the opening headed goal and Daniel Caligiuri able to run from deep for their second. Alfred Finnbogason even had the chance late on to add a third which would have just added insult to injury.
If Dortmund are going to close the gap on Bayern and even usurp them as champions, they really do need to be winning these games. “It’s hard to accept this defeat” coach Lucien Favre conceded. “We completely dominated the game and started well but lacked precision. We were a bit overhasty and the foul for their first goal was unnecessary. Augsburg defended well once they went 2-0 up and tackled well. We should have been more patient, and we still have plenty to do.”
After all the midweek troubles with players going on strike and refusing to train in support of Adam Szalai, a positive result was paramount on Saturday and Robin Quaison’s headed opener looked to have quelled to fires at Mainz.
At the final whistle though they were staring down the barrel of a 4-1 defeat to newly promoted VfB Stuttgart and the fires were stoked rather than extinguished. Two successive defeats and a dressing room in open revolt was far from the start to the season the club wanted.
Monday morning then brought the reaction, Trainer Achim Beierlorzer was fired. As bad weekend’s go, thus weekend has been pretty dire for the Nullfünfer.
The zero clubs
While Hoffenheim and Augsburg are enjoying their moment in the sun following two successive wins at the start of the season, spare a though for those at the foot of the table as yet not having secured their first points. The woes of both Schalke and Mainz have been discussed by Köln are also in the same boat having lost at Bielefeld.
Getting early points on the board breeds confidence whereas successive losses put you into a downward spiral. All three will be desperate to get their first points next week. Mainz are away at Union Berlin, Köln face Borussia Mönchengladbach at home in a Rheinderby while Schalke face a tricky trip to tackle RB Leipzig.
Schalke’s centre back Ozan Kabak has been linked with a number of top clubs of late, but his display against Werder Bremen would have done nothing to persuade the holders of the purse strings at those clubs to splash millions on his signing.
He is a talent in the making, but on Saturday he highlighted the major defects in his game. His rash challenges in the first half avoided a yellow card before his rugby tackle on Niclas Füllkrug led to Werder’s third via the penalty spot.
He then pulled back Davie Selke to earn a second yellow in the second half and was also involved in a highly unsavoury incident where he was seen to spit on Ludwig Augustinsson. Luckily for him the referee didn’t see it, but the whole game was one to forget for the Schalke defender.
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