Bundesliga Matchday Three: BVB, Bayern, and Monchengladbach retain their unbeaten records
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Borussia Dortmund overcame a slow 60 minutes to bounce Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 on Friday.
Goals from Abdou Diallo, Marius Wolf, and Paco Alcacer gave the BVB their second win of the season. Sebastien Haller registered Eintracht Frankfurt’s only marker.
Wanting to rebound from a dull draw against Hannover 96 on the last matchday, Dortmund coach Lucien Favre changed his side’s formation from the 4-3-3 to the 4-2-3-1. Marco Reus was moved into the number 10 role, while Thomas Delaney and Mahmoud Dahoud formed a midfield pivot. Axel Witsel was also benched for the second straight game.
Although Borussia Dortmund dominated possession in the first half, they struggled to create many chances. The BVB attack failed to gel, and they couldn’t string many opportunities together. Eintracht Frankfurt actually got the best chance in the first half hour. Filip Kostic found space on the right of Borussia’s goal, and forced a standard save out of Roman Burki.
Despite the game’s boring pace, Borussia Dortmund were able to find a first half breakthrough. In the 36th minute, Abdou Diallo connected sweetly on a Marius Wolf corner, only to be denied by Kevin Trapp. Not to be deterred, Diallo forced the ball in on the rebound. It was his first for Dortmund and first in the league since November 4, 2017, and it gave the BVB a 1-0 lead.
The goal didn’t seem to do much for Borussia Dortmund. The BVB still played a similar style in the opening moments of the second half, and failed to react to Eintracht’s adventurous press. In the 68th minute, Sebastien Haller found the equalizer for the visitors. Danny da Costa’s cross took a deflection in the box, and Haller connected with the ball well. The goal was his league-leading third of the campaign, and it made him the only player this season to have scored on every matchday.
Frankfurt’s goal ended up benefiting the opponents more than themselves. Lucien Favre’s side looked more energetic following the marker, and just four minutes after conceding, Borussia retook the lead. Jadon Sancho, who had just come on in the 58th minute, showed incredible skill to free up space for himself in the opposing box. The teenager then picked out Marius Wolf with a well-placed cross, who adeptly converted the chance. It was a special goal for the 23-year old. He had signed with the BVB from Eintracht Frankfurt this past summer, and had taken part in Die Adler’s DFB-Pokal final win only a few months ago. Not surprisingly, he refused to celebrate.
Borussia Dortmund would seal the victory through another newbie later in the match. Paco Alcacer marked his BVB debut with a stunning effort at the edge of the box. It was Alcacer’s first Bundesliga shot, and although it took a slight deflection on the way in, the goal still marked a successful debut for the Spaniard. No need for some late-game hiccups, as Dortmund held on for a 3-1 win.
The BVB now sit second in the table with seven points from three games. Borussia Dortmund remain one of seven teams who have yet to taste defeat, but questions still linger over the identity and style of Favre’s side. Dortmund haven’t found their rhythm yet, although luckily for them, it hasn’t hurt them on the table. On the other hand, Eintracht Frankfurt dropped to 12th following the defeat. They’ve now lost their last two Bundesliga games, although they’re yet to be clean-sheeted.
Borussia Dortmund travel to Belgium for a UCL tie before playing visitors to Hoffenheim on Saturday, while Eintracht Framkfurt take a UEL detour to France before hosting RB Leipzig on Sunday.
Man of the Match: Jadon Sancho
He may have only played 32 minutes, but Jadon Sancho had a wondrous showing versus Eintracht Frankfurt. The 18-year old proved to be a game-changer when he was subbed on near the hour mark, creating exciting plays with his energetic and thrilling style. His assist on Marius Wolf’s winner was pure class, and it could be a sign of future things to come.
Bayern Munich 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen
Bayern Munich remain the only Bundesliga team with a 100% win record following their 3-1 victory over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday.
Goals from Corentin Tolisso, Arjen Robben, and James Rodriguez sealed Bayern’s third win of the season after Wendell gave Leverkusen an early lead.
Going into matchday three, Bayern Munich were one of just three teams who won their opening two games (the others being Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin). It’s the fourth season in a row they’ve started with back-to-back wins, and they were looking to make it three from three when they hosted Leverkusen, who were trying to avoid a third-straight loss.
It’s a matchup that always produces drama, and the game lived up to its billing right from the get-go. In the second minute, Bayern’s Thiago was called for a handball in his box and Leverkusen were awarded a penalty. It looked as though Die Wekself had squandered their chance though, as Kevin Volland saw his attempt and the subsequent rebound saved by Manuel Neuer. But referee Tobias Welz ordered it to be retaken, citing the fact that he hadn’t blown his whistle yet. Wendell stepped up for take-two and coolly slotted it opposite of Neuer for his first of the season. Within five minutes, Leverkusen were up by a goal.
Die Wekself’s lead would be short-lived, though. As many teams have found out over the years, Bayern Munich are a different animal when down a goal at home. Following some questionable Leverkusen defending, Robert Lewandowski found Corentin Tolisso with a loose touch in the box. Tolisso’s first attempt was blocked, but the Frenchman corralled the rebound and struck the equalizer past a frozen Lukas Hradecky. The goal was Tolisso’s first of the season and seventh in the Bundesliga.
Leverkusen would help their opponents find a second just nine minutes later. Jonathan Tah attempted to head a delivery out of his box, but only got it as far as Arjen Robben. After teeing himself up, Robben unleashed a wicked strike over a stranded Hradecky for the go-ahead goal. It was the Dutchman’s second goal of the campaign.
Despite the positive scoreline, Bayern fans were left worried near the end of the half when Corentin Tolisso was subbed off with an injury. The Frenchman collapsed with an apparent leg injury in the 40th minute and was forced to leave the pitch. Doctors later confirmed that Tolisso had torn his ACL. He will miss several months as a result.
Bayern Munich dominated the second half much like they did in the first. The Bavarians offered little real-estate for Leverkusen to work with, and most of the second half’s action took place in Leverkusen’s own half. Bayern were pretty much camping in Die Wekself’s box, and the visitors were fortunate not to concede again early on.
To counter Bayern’s control, Bayer Leverkusen played physical football. There were a few challenges that the home fans deemed rough, and at times it felt as though Tobias Welz was struggling to control the match. This style would cost both teams late in the game. Soon after coming on, Bayer’s Karim Bellarabi stamped on the leg of Bayern’s Rafinha, bringing the Brazilian down. Bellarabi would be sent off for the challenge, the first time he’s ever been red carded, and Rafinha would follow him off the field with a partial ligament tear. As a result, Bellarabi will miss Leverkusen’s next four games, while Rafinha will be sidelined for the next few weeks.
With Leverkusen down a man and unable to find an equalizer, Bayern Munich put the game to bed through James Rodriguez. At the edge of the goal-line, Thiago sent a silky cross in to the rising James. The Colombian directed a solid header downwards, catching Lukas Hradecky with the bounce, for the insurance marker. It was James Rodriguez’s first of the season, and had it not been for the offside flag, he would’ve had a second just minutes later. The game ended in favour of Bayern Munich, 3-1.
With the win, Bayern Munich extended their winning streak to three games. They’re currently the only team with a 100% win record, and their nine goals is also a league-best. It’s the first time since the 2016/2017 season that Bayern Munich have gone 3-0-0 (W-D-L) in their first three games. On the other hand, Bayer Leverkusen have gone 0-0-3 (W-D-L) for the first time ever, marking their worst ever start to a Bundesliga season. They’re one of only two teams to have not won a point this season.
Bayern Munich travel to Schalke 04 next Saturday following a European detour to Portugal, while Bayer Leverkusen host Mainz on Sunday after a mid-week UEL visit to Bulgaria.
Man of the Match: Arjen Robben
Matchday three saw a vintage Arjen Robben terrorize Bayer Leverkusen. His pace and dribbling ability were too much for Die Wekself to handle, and his stunning volley will surely be up for "Goal of the Week" and "Goal of the Month" honours. His pre-assist on James' marker wasn't bad either.
Borussia Monchengladbach 2-1 Schalke 04
Schalke continued with their winless ways following a 2-1 loss to Borussia Monchengladbach on Sunday.
Breel Embolo’s 93rd minute strike served as a mere consolation goal for Die Königsblauen, who found themselves down for much of the game after conceding to Matthias Ginter and Patrick Herrmann.
Going into the match, Borussia Monchengladbach had accumulated four points out of a possible six. It was the second straight season they had achieved that total in two games, and they were looking to improve on it with their best three-game start since the 2011/2012 season. Schalke were trying to avoid going pointless through three games for the first time since 2016.
Schalke did themselves no favours early on. Matthias Ginter found the back of the net just three minutes in. The 24-year old connected on a corner-kick delivery from Jonas Hofmann for the opening marker. The goal was his first of the season and his 11th in the Bundesliga. It was also the fourth straight goal Schalke had conceded since they last scored in their season opener.
Schalke were in danger of losing their cool with some overly-physical challenges. 25-year old Hamza Mendyl had to be subbed off in the first half hour after a reckless tackle worthy of a booking, and his replacement, Alessandro Schopf, picked up a yellow of his own soon after.
Monchengladbach faced difficulty in dealing with Schalke’s set-pieces. In the 33rd minute, Salif Sane found a free header in the box, but was spectacularly denied by Yann Sommer. That was the Swiss ‘keeper’s first of six saves on the day.
The score remained at 1-0 until the 76th minute. Patrick Herrmann bagged his first of the season with a well-driven low shot to goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann’s left. It was the second time in three games Die Fohlen had scored twice in a match, and it was the third straight game Schalke had conceded two goals in.
Schalke were able to ruin the clean sheet in added time. Breel Embolo scored just his sixth career Bundesliga goal with a wondrous effort from the ark of the box. It was only Schalke’s second goal of the season, but it was merely a dent in Monchengladbach’s 2-1 victory.
The W meant that Monchengladbach rose to fourth in the Bundesliga after matchday three. They’ve scored the joint-third-most goals in the league (5) and conceded the joint-least (2). On the other hand, Schalke dropped into the league’s bottom two with a third-straight loss. They’re one of only two sides to have not won any points this season.
Both teams return to league action on Saturday. Monchengladbach head to the capital to play Hertha Berlin, and Schalke play Porto in the Champions League before hosting the reigning champions, Bayern Munich.
Man of the Match: Yann Sommer
Yann Sommer put in another exceptional display when Borussia Monchengladbach hosted Schalke. The Swiss goalkeeper made a total of six saves (per WhoScored), including a sensational stop on Salif Sane. He's now made six saves in back-to-back games, and his performance helped steal all three points for Die Fohlen.
Other scores: Wolfsburg 2-2 Hertha Berlin Mainz 2-1 FC Augsburg RB Leipzig 3-2 Hannover 96 Fortuna Dusseldorf 2-1 Hoffenheim Werder Bremen 1-1 FC Nurnberg SC Freiburg 3-3 Stuttgart