MOENCHENGLADBACH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 15: Hiroshi Kiyotake of Nuernberg celebrates after scoring his team's third goal during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Moenchengladbach and 1.FC Nuernberg at Borussia Park Stadium.
Three weeks in the books in the 1. Bundesliga, and the table is starting to take shape. Bayern is at the top of the table, with 3 wins in 3 attempts. During that time, the club has oscillated between world-beating excellence and somewhat-worrying mediocrity. But 9 points is pretty much all you can ask for after 3 matches, so we're still on track.
Below us in the table, a few guys are making themselves noticeable. Climb aboard ...
MOVIN' ON UP
New promotees Eintracht Frankfurt were probably expected to be the best of the new 1. Bundesliga sides. But I don't think anyone expected this. The birds have won their first 3, to join FC Bayern as the only teams on 9 points. Playing in the marquee Sunday evening match, Eintracht put in a pretty solid offensive performance and beat HSV. They scored twice in the early going, allowed Hamburg to pull one back at the end of the half, but then reasserted themselves in the second when Stefan Aigner lofted one over Adler's head. I usually don't like "fan from the cheap seats" videos, but this one is actually pretty good:
Nice to see a full crowd there, too. The Commerz-Bank Arena was only about two-thirds full for their first home game, but it appears that now the word is out: a capacity audience of over 51,000 were on hand. Eintracht has FCN next, then a match against Dortmund, which could be interesting. Speaking of whom ...
A rather convincing win for Borussia Dortmund exorcised the difficulties of last week, as Hummels planted a header into the net from a corner to take the lead. BVB went on to win 3-0, and never looked really troubled against Leverkusen. Dortmund is certainly going to be a factor in the 1. Bundesliga title race. Now, maybe they can avoid embarrassing themselves in the Champions League? They have Ajax on Tuesday evening.
Finally, Hannover 96 also deserves some recognition for their solid play recently. Since the beginning of August, H96 have played 8 games (keeping in mind they started early, with the Europa League qualifying round). Well, they've won 7 or those 8, most by multiple goals, and they've scored at least 4 goals in half of them. Even their one blemish is nothing to be ashamed of: a 2-2 draw against Schalke that came only 3 days after a Europa League game. Manager Mirko Slomka has Die Roten Andere looking confident and aggressive, and yesterday's 3-2 win over Werder B was again highlighted by Szabolcs Huszti (who already has 2 goals and 5 assists in 3 league matches this season).
MOVIN' ON DOWN
TSG Hoffenheim found their offensive touch, getting on the score-board inside 4 minutes and putting 3 goals past Freiburg 'keeper Oliver Baumann. But their defensive, goal-tending, and discipline problems remain: 5 goals allowed in the loss, 18 fouls committed, 11 corners conceded, and no points in the standings after 3 matches. The move to pick-up GK Tim Wiese has not paid any dividends. The Deutsche Welle headline puts it properly: Hoffenheim Must Pull Together or Risk Total Disintegration.
MOVIN' ON SIDEWAYS
After 3 matches, Fortuna Duesseldorf still hasn't conceded a goal. Manager Norbert Meier has his team well-drilled and playing hard (and they've caught some luck, too). Unfortunately, F95's offense hasn't been cooking anything up, and they're sitting on only 1 win and 2 draws. But 5 points is a great start for a newly-promoted club, and their next 2 matches, Freiburg and SpVgg, give Fortuna a decent chance to keep the shutout streak going.
- Leon Andreasen, Hannover's wing/middie/all-purpose danger man, has 5 goals across all competitions so far (3 in Europa League, 2 in Bundesliga play). The Danish international had a spell in London playing for Fulham where he didn't see much of the field; now that he's getting regular playing time, he's making the most of it.
- Hiroshi Kiyotake came over to Nuernberg this off-season from Cerezo Osaka. In 3 matches, he has 3 assists and a game-winning goal, and the 22-year old has been a big contributor for FCN. They get red-hot Eintracht Frankfurt this coming weekend.
- Fabian Geifer remains the rock between the goal-posts for Fortuna. He's not quite zeroing in on Neuer's shutout streak of last year, but that team has a good chance to stay up and possibly even finish top half.
Valencia preview coming tomorrow. Thanks for reading.