The Bundesliga returned this weekend with the first round of matches in what should prove to be a very interesting season. As usual we were treated to superb atmosphere, top talent, great goals, and entertainment galore. So just who where the winners and losers from Matchday 1?
Jamal Musiala & Sadio Mané
Bayern’s seemingly customary opening night cruise to victory was once again on display on Friday in Frankfurt in the first match of the post-Robert Lewandowski era. On this display the Bavarian’s are going to cope well enough without their talismanic goal machine with others ready and able to step up to the plate.
Youngster Jamal Musiala, fresh from his Man of the Match display against RB Leipzig in the Super Cup, grabbed two goals and the attention of viewers with another top display beyond his years. His dribbling and intelligent use of space caused Eintracht no end of headaches. “We wanted to play with the same energy as we had against Leipzig” Musiala explained post-match. “There was a phase in the second half when we had to chase a lot, but generally we played well. We always try to create a lot of chances. We are all technically strong and at the moment it’s clicking.”
Big summer signing Sadio Mané also got on the score sheet and has already endeared himself to the Bayern fans after just two games. Heading into the crowd post-match to join in the singing with the megaphone was a great image from the weekend.
Starting the new season with a city derby adds extra spice to the opening weekend, and it was the red half of Berlin who emerged victorious on Saturday. Union put their more glamorous city rivals to the sword at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei with a 3-1 win.
Jordan Siebatcheu made the perfect start to life as the number one striker with a headed opener in the first half and Sheraldo Becker doubled the lead in the second period with a fine solo goal. Robin Knoche’s header meant that the game was all but over ten minutes into the second half.
Union continue to outperform Hertha, for whom it looks like a case of new season, same old problems.
The Breisgauer’s sixth place finish last season saw them enjoy a fantastic season qualifying for Europe and they began the season on Saturday where they left off last time out. A 4-0 away win at Augsburg with all four goals coming in the second half capped a fine afternoon for Christian Streich’s side.
Vincenzo Grifo was on hand with another splendid direct free-kick goal, the returning prodigal son Matthias Ginter scored with an excellent effort, while debutants Michael Gregoritsch and Ritsu Doan also had impressive debuts.
It wasn’t just Jamal Masiala scoring on the double this weekend with Mainz striker Onisiwo also grabbing a brace. Two headers in each half saw the Nullfünfer to a 2-1 opening day win at Bochum. Onisiwo scored five goals last season with nine assists, so is already looking good to improve upon those figures this time around.
“As a striker, it is of course great to score two goals” Onisiwo said after the match. “I played a lot of games last year and didn’t score too many goals. I need to go on a run and push on. If you get on a roll, the goals come easier. That’s why it is great for a striker to get two. I have to keep at it and become even cooler when the chance comes my way.”
With many outside observers still belittling the Bundesliga as a one-team monopoly, Uefa Cup winners Eintracht Frankfurt had the chance to dispel those accusations in Friday’s Eröffnungsspiel at the Deutsche Bank Park. Going down 5-0 at half-time and 6-1 overall was the worst possible start for the Adler and just adds fuel to the fire that Bayern will stroll unchallenged to an 11th title in a row.
“We lost our heads after the second goal” coach Oliver Glasner explained post-match. “We were permanently trying to put Manuel Neuer under pressure, and then Bayern ruthlessly exploited the spaces and we were overrun, had no grip on the game and couldn’t handle their one-touch football. The first five goals all originated out wide when Bayern created an overload.”
The bad boys- Stefan Posch, Lukas Hradecky & Dominick Drexler
It took less than 20 minutes for the first Bundesliga red card of the new season and the recipient of the unwanted honour was Hoffenheim’s Stefan Posch, who received two yellow cards from referee Daniel Siebert. An early foul on Florian Neuhaus was soon followed by a late and clumsy tackle on Ramy Bensebaini, which rightly saw him dismissed.
The more comical red card of matchday 1 was handed out late at the Signal Iduna Park, where Bayer Leverkusen keeper Lukas Hradecky had a rush of blood to the head handling the ball outside his area as Marco Reus bore down on him. Heading the ball would have been the sensible option, but in these days of VAR, you get away with nothing.
Sunday witnessed the third sending off of the opening weekend with Schalke’s Dominick Drexler red-carded against his former club in the first half. A challenge on Jonas Hector looked much worse following a look a VAR with the Köln captain clearly caught dangerously late on the calf.
Borussia Dortmund’s new summer signing thought he had made the ideal start to his BVB career by opening the scoring against Bayer Leverkusen in the late game on Saturday. His effort however was blocked on the line by a combination of Lukas Hradecky and Piero Hincapie, forcing Marco Reus to steal the goal as he bundled it over the line.
By the 23rd minute the race was run for Adeyemi, who was forced off with a foot injury following a challenge from Hincapie. With Sebastien Haller out for the foreseeable future, BVB can do without any further striking injuries.
Afterwards, the German national team attacker spoke to reporters and revealed that it was “merely” a problem with his big toe. “It’s already better,” Adeyemi insisted after the match, “Swelling is down. It’s probably just an overstretching of the tendon or something on the capsule.”
Referee Dankert was inadvertently(?) mowed down by Freiburg captain Christian Günter in the 23rd minute of the opener with Augsburg. A calf injury kept him down and only after lengthy treatment from the FCA doctor was the man in black able to continue.
Many people’s perennial candidates for relegation, the Fuggerstädter did themselves no favours with a heavy opening day 4-0 home defeat to Freiburg. Former striker Michael Gregoritsch opened the scoring just 15 seconds into the second period and three goals were to follow (as well as one disallowed).
It is just the first game of the season, but Augsburg know full well that a long hard season awaits them.