Taking a quick break from the Javi Martinez coverage, we thought it might be worth a few minutes to do a brief recap of the 1. Bundesliga's opening weekend and a look at some general news. Our latest Javi Martinez posts are here (mine) and here (Dozbik's), so if you want to know the latest updates, check there or come back later tonight. But in the interest of mixing it up a bit, the rest of this post will be Javi-free.
As most fans already know, FC Bayern sits atop the table (goal differentail being the tie-breaker) after an emphatic 3-0 defeat of Greuther Fürth. Four other clubs also won while scoring multiple goals: Düsseldorf, Dortmund, Eintracht Frankfurt, and 'Gladbach. Some general impressions of the weekend:
- Eintracht Frankfurt, having bounced back after a single season in the 2. Bundesliga, faced a pretty tough opener against Leverkusen. B04 finished top 5 last year, brought back Schürrle, Kiessling, Leno, Lars Bender, and several other solid players, and strengthened the squad by bringing on Nürnberg's Philipp Wollscheid, a strong young defender. But Die Adler showed up ready to play - they went down an early goal, but fought back with aggressive midfield play and good substitutions. It was substitute Martin Lanig with an nice header to win it. All three goals are here:
Looks like some horrible defensive mistakes there on pretty much all of those goals, but maybe that's what games look like when neither side is sitting back with 9 men in the defensive third of the field.
- Diego Benaglio, the VfL 'keeper, looks like he might ready to help Wolfsburg fight for one of those 4 Champions League spots. The Swiss #1 made two nice reaction saves and then stuffed a penalty shot, keeping his club in the match despite VfB Stuttgart dominating possession. Wolfburg went on to win at the last minute, and they now sit on 3 points with an important road victory in the bag.
This fits in with my theory that the Swiss national team is going to be a terror in the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. But we'll get to that some other time.
- Juan Arango, at 32 years old, is showing that he still has something in the tank. The Monchengladbach playmaker had a goal and an assist, both off set pieces, in BMG's opening win over Hopffenheim
- Nils Petersen looked wasteful in failing to score for Werder Bremen. Not only that, he came on for less than 25 minutes. If he can't get ahead of Marko Arnautovic in the Werder B line-up, he's got problems.
- Schalke's defense looked poor in letting H96 fight back for a draw. Jan Schlaudraff, not usually thought of as one of the Bundesliga's most explosive players, carved up the Schalke back line on 2 occasions to create chances, the second leading to a goal.
- I guess it's not a surprise, because no one other than me thought they would be good, but FC Augsburg losing to newcomers Düsseldorf was something of a disappointment.
Big Upcoming Matches
Bayern has the late Sunday match vs. Stuttgart, and obviously we'll have a preview of that later in the week. But two other matches from this weekend also catch my eye: Dortmund travelling to Nürnberg is obviously one. Both teams got a win last week. Nürnberg's defense looked hideous in their Pokal loss to Regionalliga Nord's TVS Hevelse, then looked strong in shutting down Hamburg over the weekend. If they can defend this week like they did in their most recent game, I think Nürnberg has a shot to take a point from this match.
The other intriguing match, in my mind, is Werder Bremen vs. Hamburg. Both are clubs that had plans to improve upon their respective finishes of last season. Both made big moves towards that end this summer (Hamburg bringing in Rene Adler, Werder picking up Petersen, Eljero Elia, and Theodor Gebre Selassie). But both went down to defeats last week. Two straight losses to open the season would be disastrous for either side, so expect a pretty intense atmosphere for this one.
As always, we welcome your thoughts, so let us know if there's anything else from the first weekend we should no about, or any of the upcoming matches that might be interested. Back with more Javi news as it becomes available. Thanks for reading.