Unless and until SB Nation wants to create more Bundesliga team blogs, I'm going to try to keep putting up occasional "look around the league" posts. These are not intended to be complete explanations of everything that's going on in the league, just a run through recent matches, a look at the stats, and/or a discussion of things that fans of German football might find interesting. If you're interested in Bayern-only news, I salute you, and feel free to stop reading now and check in tomorrow. Or you can check out Grudnik's post on Bayern injury news.
Here's a few observations that have jumped out at me from the first two weeks of the 1. Bundesliga season (and, in some cases, augmented by observations from the Pokal or elsewhere):
- Eintracht Frankfurt is the only team other than FC Bayern to win both of its first two matches. They beat a decent Leverkusen side 2-1 in the first week (could have been a bigger margin if a very legitimate penalty shout had been given), then went on the road to hammer Hoffenheim, 4-0. Manager Armin Veh has his squad playing with confidence. They have 2 very winnable matches coming up, followed by a visit from BVB at the end of the month. If they can go into that match with 12 points, that's a surprisingly big early-season showdown. Hopefully one that would draw more than the 28,000 fans they had for the season opener.
- Just behind Bayern and Eintracht Frankfurt, 6 different clubs are level on 4 points (one win and one draw); we'll give the early edge to Hannover 96, because they have the best goal differential (+4) of the group, and because they looked very convincing in crushing VfL Wolfsburg last weekend. H96 also demolished Slask Wraclaw in the Europa League, hopefully a step towards a deep Europa run that would help Germany's co-efficient.
- Borussia Dortmund certainly has nothing to be ashamed of after drawing 1-1 with Nürnberg. They're still in good shape with 1 win and 1 draw after week 2. Nonetheless, it seems like something has been a little off with the two-time defending champs. They looked a little disjointed in week 1, as they edged Bremen despite giving up a few good chances in the last few minutes, and then they couldn't find the finish they needed last week. Reus is going to be a great addition for them (personally, I think he's probably better than Kagawa), but there's obviously a learning curve. Still, 4 points from 2 matches is not a disaster, and you know they'll be competitive all year.
- SpVgg Greuther Fürth lost to Bayern in week 1, but looked somewhat stout on the defensive side for for long stretches of the match. Then they picked up their first 1. Bundesliga win this past weekend, beating Mainz 1-0. If they can pick up a few more wins like that, they've got a chance to stay up (last year, HSV and Augsburg both stayed up despite winning only 8 matches all season).
LOOKIN' WEAK, YO
- TSG Hoffeheim got crushed by low-level Berliner AK in the first round of the Pokal, then lost two straight to start the league season. OK, a 2-1 loss to Monchengladbach is nothing to be ashamed of, but this past week they got smashed by a 4-0 score vs. Eintracht Frankfurt in their home opener. Hoffenheim doesn't have much scoring power, new GK Tim Wiese has made a few saves but has also been beaten too many times, and the wheels really came off the cart in the second half last week with a flurry of cards and defensive lapses.
- Hamburg SV hasn't looked as poor as Hoffenheim, and they were unlucky to lose in week 1 as they hit the woodwork twice in the closing minutes. Still, HSV is winless after 2 matches, and their next 3 are vs. Eintracht, Dortmund, and Monchengladbach (and 2 of those 3 on the road). Wouldn't be a shock to see these guys sitting on 2 points or less after 5 weeks.
STANDOUT INDIVIDUAL PERFORMERS
- Thomas Müller leads the 1. Bundesliga with 3 goals. I don't want to say too much here, I don't want to jinx him. We see you, kid. Just keep doin' your thing.
- Someone named Szabolcs Huszti leads the league with 4 assists. He also had 2 goals and an assist in H96's Europa League win. Alright, that's worth a highlight clip:
- Fortuna Düsseldorf GK Fabian Giefer has not allowed a goal in either of his club's 2 league matches, nor in their Round 1 Pokal win. He's 6'5" tall, he has long arms, he's aggressive on balls in the air, and he's only 22. If he were from another country, I'd say he had a chance of playing some international football; unfortunately, he's German, and there's sort of a log-jam there.
If you know of anything else cool going on in the world of German football, share it in the comments. Is it worth it to do a preview of Germany vs. Faroe Islands? If there's interest, I'll try to post one tomorrow. Thanks for reading.