Bundesliga Matchday One: Bayern, Wolfsburg, and Dortmund victorious in tough opening round matches
Bayern Munich 3-1 Hoffenheim
It was business as usual in Bavaria, as Bayern Munich defeated Hoffenheim 3-1 in the first match of the 2018/2019 Bundesliga.
Goals from Thomas Muller, Robert Lewandowski, and Arjen Robben capped off an exciting opening day. Adam Szalai bagged the only goal of the game for the visiting Hoffenheim.
With Niko Kovac now at the helm after the departure of Jupp Heynckes, Bayern Munich remain the favourites to clinch the Bundesliga shield, and they showed why so Friday evening.
Within 23 minutes, Bayern Munich had built a 1-0 lead. Thomas Muller headed in his third goal in the last five opening round matches off of a Joshua Kimmich corner. The goal was his first in the league since April and it provided a nice confidence boost to the 28-year old after a poor 2018 World Cup.
The Bavarians had several chances to score in the opening 45 minutes. Kingsley Coman was involved in most of them and had a wonderful opportunity in the 37th minute, but he saw his attempt turned aside by Oliver Baumann.
Hoffenheim were playing a very physical game at that point, and by the end of the first half, they had accumulated three yellow cards and sent off Kingsley Coman with an ankle injury. Bayern later confirmed that Coman will have to take “several weeks” off to recover, which is not good news for their already limited list of wingers.
It was obvious that Hoffenheim’s style was getting into the heads of Bayern’s footballers. The Bavarians looked to be thrown off by the physicality of Hoffenheim’s players, and it may have been a reason why they conceded the equalizer minutes before the hour mark. Adam Szalai was able to find a way past Jerome Boateng and slot his shot out of the reach of Manuel Neuer for a dramatic finish. It was the Hungarian’s 19th career goal for Hoffenheim, and it opened the game up for both parties.
With 10 minutes to go, the match looked all but set for a draw until Havard Nordtveit brought down Bayern’s Franck Ribery in his box for a penalty. Arjen Robben initially scored the rebound after Baumann saved Robert Lewandowski’s attempt, but VAR determined that the shot was to be retaken. Not to be outdone a second time, Lewandowski opened his scoring account by placing it to Baumann’s right. It’s his first Bundesliga goal since he clinched last season’s top scorer award, and it restored Bayern’s lead with minutes to go.
The goal seemed to have woken up Bayern, as they came at Hoffenheim with a little more hunger than when they started the half. In the 90th minute, Thomas Muller teed up an inviting chance for Arjen Robben, and the Dutchman smashed it past Baumann. The goal was his 96th in the Bundesliga, putting him four away from 100.
With the win, Bayern Munich extends its unbeaten Matchday One streak to seven opening rounds. The Bavarians haven’t lost a Bundesliga season opener since August 7, 2011, when they were defeated by Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0. On the other hand, Hoffenheim dropped their opening round fixture for the first time since 2015.
Both teams will be back in action on Saturday. Bayern Munich travel west to play Stuttgart, while Hoffenheim return home to host Freiburg.
Man of the Match: Thomas Muller
With his third goal in the past five season openers, Thomas Muller capped off a brilliant start to his 2018/2019 league campaign. The 28-year old was one of Bayern’s biggest underperformers last year and didn’t have a good World Cup in the summer. With the goal and the assist on Arjen Robben’s insurance marker though, he looks set to rebound this season.
Wolfsburg 2-1 Schalke 04
Wolfsburg escaped opening weekend with a 2-1 win over Schalke on Saturday.
Goals from John Brooks and Daniel Ginczek guaranteed the Wolves all three points. Nabil Bentaleb registered Schalke’s only goal of the day.
The result has become one of the biggest talking points among analysts and fans, as it featured two calls influenced by VAR and a penalty.
The first 45 minutes were largely dominated by Wolfsburg. Schalke were too static in their defending, and they were made to pay in the 33rd minute. John Brooks headed home just his seventh career Bundesliga goal after being left unmarked in the box. The goal was also his first with Wolfsburg and came in his 100th Bundesliga appearance. Wolfsburg took the 1-0 lead into half-time.
In the second half, controversy would arise through the use of VAR. In the 65th minute, Schalke’s Matija Nastasic received a yellow card after challenging Wolfsburg’s Wout Weghorst with a high boot. After consulting VAR though, referee Patrick Ittrich replaced the yellow with a red and ended Nastasic’s night.
Schalke’s players took offence to their teammate’s sending off, believing Weghorst had embellished the contact. In the 69th minute, Weghorst was shown a red card after body-checking Guido Burgstaller. Replays showed that he was just retaliating to Burgstaller shoving him down, and after consulting VAR again, referee Ittrich changed his card from a red to a yellow, thus keeping Weghorst on the pitch.
The controversy would continue on in the 85th minute. After a mad scramble in Wolfsburg’s box, John Brooks kicked Breel Embolo on the head. Ittrich awarded a penalty to the visitors, which Nabil Bentaleb converted. The goal was his first in the Bundesliga since February and it tied the game up at ones with just minutes to go.
Wolfsburg continued fighting until the end though, and in the 94th minute they were rewarded through Daniel Ginczek. The German striker pounced on a rebound from Yannick Gerhardt’s attempt to seal the deal for the Wolves. It was his first goal for Wolfsburg, and it gave them their first Bundesliga win over Schalke in three years.
Next weekend, Wolfsburg head to Leverkusen to play Bayer 04 while Schalke hosts Hertha Berlin in their home opener.
Man of the Match: Maximilian Arnold
Wolfsburg’s midfield was key in their victory, and Maximilian Arnold shone the brightest among them. The 24-year old German was dangerous on set-piece deliveries, with his 33rd minute corner connecting well with the head of John Brooks on the opening goal. Arnold was calm and collected in the midfield, and stood out from the rest with his poised play.
Borussia Dortmund 4-1 RB Leipzig
It was a historic afternoon for Dortmund scorers as the BVB opened their 2018/2019 Bundesliga season with an impressive 4-1 win over RB Leipzig.
Despite going 1-0 down within the first minute of Sunday’s match, Borussia Dortmund scored four unanswered goals to cap-off an outstanding comeback win.
Mahmoud Dahoud, Axel Witsel, and Marco Reus all unlocked their Dortmund scoring accounts with commendable efforts following Jean-Kevin Augustin’s opener. Marcel Sabitzer’s own goal in the 40th minute proved to be the winner though.
With Lucien Favre and Ralf Rangnick now at the helms of Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, neither boss wanted to open his league campaign with a defeat. Both gaffers put out strong elevens, with Favre starting new signing Axel Witsel and captain Marco Reus, while Rangnick countered with Jean-Kevin Augustin and Emil Forsberg.
Immediately after kick-off, RB Leipzig struck first. Following a defensive mix-up on Dortmund’s end, Jean-Kevin Augustin would sneak a shot past Roman Burki for the first goal of the game. With the clock reading 00:32 (minutes:seconds), the goal was the fastest ever scored by an RB Leipzig player in the Bundesliga. It was also Augustin’s third career goal versus Borussia Dortmund as a Red Bull.
Initially, the BVB struggled to get into the game. RB Leipzig were pressing Dortmund right from the get-go, and the hosts failed to build any chances. They were not comfortable in possession, and they turned the ball over frequently.
As time went on though, the chances started coming for Dortmund. Opportunities fell to both Thomas Delaney and Marco Reus, before Mahmoud Dahoud converted a world-class header in the 21st minute to tie the game. The Syrian-born German had to readjust his body to Marcel Schmelzer’s delivery, and beautifully took the header for his first career BVB goal.
In the 40th minute, Borussia Dortmund took their first lead of the new season. After Marco Reus delivered a free-kick into Leipzig’s 18-yard box, Marcel Sabitzer attempted to deflect the ball away from his goal by heading it over. Unfortunately, his touch directed it into his own net, marking the first own goal of the 2018/2019 Bundesliga.
Dortmund scored again three minutes later through new signing Axel Witsel. After Thomas Delaney saw his header brilliantly saved by Peter Gulacsi, Witsel dropped his shoulder and overhead-kicked the rebound in. It was his first league goal since joining the BVB in early August, and it made sure the home team took the lead into the break.
With Timo Werner on for Marcel Sabitzer to start the second half, RB Leipzig showed more offensive intent in the final 45. The Red Bulls recorded four shots on target after the break, but they could not beat Roman Burki, who saved all four attempts.
The second half looked set to pass without a goal, until Marco Reus, who had dictated Dortmund’s attack the entire afternoon, capped off his performance with an added-time finish. The goal was Reus’ first in the Bundesliga since last season’s closer, and it marked his 100th in the German first division.
It’s the fourth time Borussia Dortmund have scored three or more goals in a season opener in the past six seasons and it gave them their fourth season opening league win in a row. For RB Leipzig, it’s their second straight loss to start a league season. They are now 0-1-2 (W-D-L) in Bundesliga season openers.
Borussia Dortmund travel to Lower Saxony to play Hannover 96 on Friday, while RB Leipzig hosts Fortuna Dusseldorf on Sunday.
Man of the Match: Roman Burki
Marco Reus may have controlled the game offensively, but Borussia Dortmund would’ve had to deal with a closer scoreline had it not been for Roman Burki. The Swiss international made six saves, including several game-savers in the second half. With Marwin Hitz looking to steal his number one spot, this game was one Burki could use to boost his resume.
Other scores: Hertha Berlin 1-0 FC Nurnberg Werder Bremen 1-1 Hannover 96 Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-2 FC Augsburg SC Freiburg 0-2 Eintracht Frankfurt Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen Mainz 1-0 Stuttgart