The Giovanni Reyna/ Erling Haaland bromance
Borussia Dortmund got back to winning ways after last weekend’s disappointing loss to Augsburg with a performance inspired by the blossoming relationship between Gio Reyna and striker Erling Haaland.
The 17-year-old American playmaker provided a hat trick of assists, while Haaland bagged his second brace of the season while adding an extremely unselfish assist of his own. Making himself undroppable at the moment and keeping Julian Brandt out of the side, Reyna provided the decisive ball for both Haaland’s goals as well as Emre Can’s header for 2-0.
Dortmund’s number 9 fired in two superb finishes and then spurned the chance of a hat trick of his own right at the end to set up substitute Felix Passlack for his first-ever Bundesliga goal.
Reyna and Haaland seem to have developed an almost telepathic understanding, which spells bad news for Bundesliga defences this season. With Jadon Sancho out with an illness, the duo of Reyna and Haaland stepped up to deliver the goods for the Schwarzgelben.
At the final whistle Bayern coach Hansi Flick made excuses that his side were not 100% going into the Hertha match and that Robert Lewandowski was one of the players not yet at his full match readiness.
Having scored all four goals against Berlin, it just serves as a warning to the rest of the Bundesliga and Europe of what might happen when he is ‘fully fit’. The Polish striker’s goalscoring exploits last season made him a shoo-in for the cancelled Ballon d’Or and he is already showing this season that he is more than ready to fight off the challenge from Erling Haaland and Andrej Kramaric for his title of the best striker in the Bundesliga.
The Eintracht Frankfurt striker was instrumental in his side’s 2-1 home win over the previously unbeaten Hoffenheim. A clever assist to set up Daichi Kamada for the equaliser got the Adler back in the game before he scored the winner himself in the 71st minute.
“Hoffenheim arrived with self-confidence as league leaders and Bayern conquerors” Dost said after the final whistle. “But they knew that it would be difficult against us. We played well from the start, the 0-1 came out of nowhere. Immediately afterwards we were a bit desperate, but later showed a great reaction and deservedly won the game.”
Gregor Köbel/ Sasa Kalajdzic
The fact that VfB Stuttgart avoided defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday afternoon and took a valuable point from the game was primarily down to the contributions of goalkeeper Gregor Köbel and striker Sasa Kalajdzic.
The keeper saved well from Charles Aranguiz in the opening minutes and then kept his side in the game with a top save on the hour to deny substitute Lucas Alario’s header with the Werkself 1-0 up. He denied Karim Bellarabi three minutes later and also denied Moussa Diaby.
With 15 minutes left, Kalajdzic, who won his first call-up to the Austrian national side this week, rose to head home a Philipp Kliment freekick to score his third Bundesliga goal in as many games. “It was a bitter pill to concede another goal in the opening 15 minutes, but after that we really fought our way back into the match” the striker said at full-time.
“We struggled a bit in the first half but after the break we put in a really good performance. We showed that we’ve got the right mentality and that we’re not overawed, and that’ll give us confidence for the matches to come.”
Die Eisernen enjoyed their biggest Bundesliga win on Friday night as they made light work of beating a sorry Mainz 4-0 at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. A very confident performance saw Urs Fischer’s side claim their first win of the season. Christopher Trimmel was a key performer providing two excellent assists from right back, while Max Kruse scored his first goal for the club with a great header.
Fellow new signing Joel Pohjanpalo also scored on his debut with his first involvement after coming on in the 64th minute. “If you win 4-0, you can be satisfied” coach Urs Fischer said. “But we will look at the game again and analyse it. We were efficient in the crucial phases, that gives confidence and triggers the opposite in the opponent.”
The new trainers
Both Schalke and Mainz must have been hoping that sacking their trainer and installing a new man at the helm would have prompted an upturn in the fortunes, but both clubs endured much of same as they suffered their third successive Bundesliga loss.
Having finally lost patience with David Wagner and replaced him with former Augsburg coach Manuel Baum, Schalke travelled to RB Leipzig on Saturday, but were easily dispatched 4-0 by Julian Nagelsmann’s side. All of the shortcomings David Wagner struggled to overcome were on display and Baum really does have a huge task on his hands to inject something new into the Königsblauen.
Mainz also slumped to a third consecutive defeat at Union Berlin with the installation of interim trainer Jan-Moritz Lichte having no discernible impact. The Nullfünfer were a shambles defensively giving too much time and space to Union Berlin, who recorded their highest-ever Bundesliga victory.
Like at Schalke there is plenty of work to do, and the international break is going to have to be used to its fullest to get the players into a different mindset.
Losing the Rheinderby to rivals Borussia Mönchengladbach at home is never to going to make for a good weekend in Köln, but when the defeat is your third on the bounce at the start of the season, then the blow is all the more painful.
Two goals within the space of two minutes at the quarter hour mark from Alassane Plea and Stefan Laimer put the visitors in control and when Lars Stindl added a third from the penalty spot after 56 minutes it was game over for the Geißböcke. A late consolation from Elvis Rexhbecaj was of little comfort and the only plus point was the absence of Fohlen fans from the Rhein-Energie Stadion to gloat over the win.
Bayer Leverkusen/ Karim Bellarabi
Having missed out on Champions League qualification and losing in the DFB Pokal at the end of last season, Bayer Leverkusen would have wanted a positive start to the season especially to prove they could cope with the loss of Kai Havertz and Kevin Volland. Three successive games where they have had to be content with just a single point is not the start they wanted.
They had the opportunities to put the game beyond VfB Stuttgart on Saturday but were just not clinical enough. Add in a completely unnecessary free-kick conceded by Karim Bellarabi prior to the Swabians’ equaliser and the weekend was one of disappointment for the Werkself.
Both goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky and Peter Bosz were publicly critical of the winger as the first three points of the season still elude Leverkusen.
When Jessic Ngankam scored an 88th minute equaliser at the Allianz Arena to take the score to 3-3, Hertha Berlin looked to have rescued an impressive point against the champions and secured their just desserts for a valiant effort. What they didn’t bank on was Maxi Mittelstädt undoing all the hard work with a clumsy challenge on Robert Lewandowski in stoppage time to hand the Pole the opportunity from the penalty spot.
Lewandowski (of course) didn’t miss and Hertha left empty handed.