Bundesliga round-up: Matchday 2
The second weekend of the Bundesliga kicked off on Friday evening with the match between newly promoted Greuther Furth and FSV Mainz.
In a relatively poor match, Mainz controlled most of it but were beaten 1-0. A Felix Klaus goal in the 67th minute was the difference.
Mainz were undone by two main factors. One, they squandered numerous great chances, especially the unlucky Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, and they were also stifled by Furth’s best player on the night, keeper Max Grun.
As a result, Mike Busken’s side walked away with their first three points in their short Bundesliga history.
It might have been a slow start but the matches on Saturday afternoon showcased plenty of action and goals.
FC Nurnberg fustrate Dortmund
Reigning champions, Borussia Dortmund travelled to FC Nurnberg, who were coming off the back of a good victory at Hamburg SV the week prior.
Dortmund controlled much of the match, with over 60 per cent possession and had four times as many passes played.
Meanwhile, Nurnberg decided to lay deep and defend, putting nine men behind the ball at any given time.
The Bavarians were mainly focused on frustrating the Dortmund link-up play and settling for creating chances via set pieces.
It was exactly one of those set pieces, a corner in the 31st minute that saw Nurnberg take the lead thanks to a Tomas Pekhart header.
Following that first goal, Dortmund piled on the pressure and just nine minutes later, Polish international Jakub Blaszczykowski put away the equalizer.
The second half saw even more Dortmund possession and pressure, but the final pass and bit of creativity wasn’t there for the Bundesliga champions.
German international, Mats Hummels came close to giving them the lead, but his header was cleared off the line.
The last best chance came from Nurnberg’s Robert Mak, as his shot hit the post in the 85th minute. Ultimately the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
Schalke lucky against Augsburg
Dortmund’s great rivals, Schalke took on FC Augsburg at the Veltins Arena.
Not being able to produce much from open play early on, set pieces became important to Schalke.
After 33 minutes, Greek international defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos put the home side ahead following a corner.
It took only 37 seconds after starting the second half for Schalke to double their lead, following a breathtaking solo run from Jermaine Jones.
Augsburg pushed on but could not capitalize on their chances.
Last season’s top scorer, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar scored Schalke’s third with 18 minutes remaining to put the match out of reach for the visitors.
The team from southern Germany did pull one goal back seven minutes later, thanks to Torsten Oehrl, but ultimately it was too late and Schalke walked away with a rather flattering 3-1 victory.
Easy victory for Leverkusen
Bayer Leverkusen came up against SC Freiburg, a team that beat them 2-0 last season and spelled the end of then manager, Robin Dutt’s time in Leverkusen.
This match was an entirely different story. Leverkusen dominated the match against a harmless and uninspired Freiburg side.
After just seven minutes, the much sought after Andre Schurrle could have opened the scoring, but his shot was swept off the line.
Just one minute later though, Gonzalo Castro pounced on a loose ball and headed in the first goal.
Leverkusen then began to play with even greater confidence and continuously brought pressure across the flanks.
After 54 minutes, summer signing Philipp Wollscheid increased their lead following a Castro corner.
Freiburg simply had no answers and deservedly lost 2-0.
Hoffenheim press the self-destruct button
In Sinsheim, home team 1899 Hoffenheim were looking to put the bad results from previous weeks in both league and cup behind them, whereas promoted Eintracht Frankfurt hoped to pull off yet another surprise victory.
Hoffenheim controlled the first 30 minutes and had a few good chances to take the lead, but then the away side began to take command.
Frankfurt’s Alex Meier capitalized on an unlucky Hoffenheim deflection and scored the Hessian’s first of the day after 39 minutes.
Barley four minutes later, Swiss international Pirmin Schwegler scored an absolute cracker from 22 yards.
Hoffenheim were unable to re-adjust and pose much of an obstacle to Frankfurt in the second half.
Frankfurt created chance after chance, and their cause was aided when Hoffenheim’s Sejad Salihovic and Stephan Schröck both received their second bookings and were sent off within a space of three second half minutes.
Things got even worse for the home side when Frankfurt were awarded a penalty in the 83rd minute, which Meier put away.
Frankfurt’s fourth and final goal was scored by substitute Martin Lanig in added time, as they walked away with an impressive 4-0 victory as Hoffenheim self-destructed.
Bremen take the points in the Nordderby
In the much celebrated Nordderby (North Derby) between Werder Bremen and Hamburg, it was Bremen who took the points.
Hamburg returnee, Rafael van der Vaart sat in the stands and watched his new club face their old rivals for the 97th time.
Hamburg started the match with their other two new summer signings, Czech international Petr Jiracek and Croatian international Milan Badelj, in the holding midfield roles.
While struggling to create chances, Hamburg were mainly focused on defending, allowing Bremen to launch a full attacking assault.
The first warning shot came after just four minutes, when Nils Petersen headed the ball against the Hamburg crossbar.
Time and again, Aaron Hunt and Marko Arnautovic put the Hamburg backline under tremendous pressure.
That pressure culminated in a Bremen penalty four minutes before the break. However, Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler saved the poorly taken Hunt penalty.
As luck and persistence would have it though, Hunt got another crack at it ten minutes later, when Bremen were awarded another penalty. This time, he made no mistake.
Loan signing from Bayern Munich, Nils Petersen netted a second goal for Werder Bremen, as they cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory.
Rhein Derby comes back after 15 year absence
Fortuna Dusseldorf and Borussia Monchengladbach clashed in the Rhein Derby, after a 15 year absence from the Bundesliga fixture list.
Sadly, this match was not an entertaining one, as a visibly tired Gladbach side, struggled with a defensively well structured Düsseldorf outfit.
Gladbach had more of the ball, but failed to capitalise on some good early chances, thanks to the woodwork and the efforts of Fortuna’s goalkeeper Fabian Giefer.
In the second half, one could clearly see that the midweek Champions League qualifying tie in Kiev begun to affect Borussia’s performance.
All too often, Gladbach’s attack broke down and they left themselves vulnerably to Norbert Meier’s and the opposition's counter attacks, but these never resulted in much.
All in all, Dusseldorf will be happy with the 0-0 draw and Monchengladbach will be looking forward to the international break and some much needed rest.
Hannover roll over Wolfsburg
The third and final derby of this matchday pitted two clubs from Lower Saxony against one another on Sunday afternoon.
Hannover 96 recorded a fantastic 4-0 victory over VFL Wolfsburg, their first win against their opponents since 2006.
Hannover established themselves as the better side from the start. After just ten minutes, Karim Haggui headed in from a corner kick.
The hosts controlled the match after that, creating multiple great chances to build on the lead, which happened in the 23rd minute.
A horrendous error from Wolfsburg's Josue, allowed Artur Sobiech to double the lead.
After the break, the match quickly went from bad to worse for Wolfsburg, conceding a third goal following a free kick in the 52nd minute.
Four minutes later, Sobiech scored his second and Hannover’s fourth of the match.
Felix Magath’s nightmare continued, when youngster and second half sub, Robin Knoche was sent off in the 65th minute for a second bookable offence.
Bayern power past Stuttgart
In recent seasons when Bayern Munich play VFB Stuttgart there never seems to be a shortage of goals, and the final match on Sunday evening was no different.
This 6-1 victory certainly signifies their intent to regain the title after a two season famine.
Stuttgart started the match well and controlled the opening half hour, even scoring the first goal from an outstanding shot by Austrian international Martin Harnik.
Bayern were anything but fazed by the Stuttgart lead and began to take control of the match.
Within a minute, they had turned the match around with goals from German internationals Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos.
Stuttgart became increasingly nervous and following Luiz Gustavo’s strike in the 43rd minute, they folded miserably.
What followed in the second half was nothing short of a demolition, with Bayern increasing their lead thanks to goals from Mario Mandzukic, Muller again and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Bayern were now cruising to an easy victory, which became even easier, when Stuttgart’s Vedad Ibisevic received a harsh red card for a rash challenge on Jerome Boateng.
The final highlight of the match was when the new Bundesliga record signing, Javi Martinez was brought on for Schweinsteiger in the 77th minute.
The 6-1 victory shows that Bayern Munich are not lacking in confidence or quality heading into the international break.
By Matthias Suuck – Follow me on Twitter @mws579
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