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Five Observations from Matchday 1 in the Bundesliga

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The Bundesliga kicked off this weekend with some unexpected results. We look back at five things that shaped the weekend.

DORTMUND, GERMANY - AUGUST 26: Axel Witsel of Dortmund scores the team`s third goal during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig at Signal Iduna Park on August 26, 2018 in Dortmund, Germany.
DORTMUND, GERMANY - AUGUST 26: Axel Witsel of Dortmund scores the team`s third goal during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig at Signal Iduna Park on August 26, 2018 in Dortmund, Germany.
(Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images)

Finally, the Bundesliga returned to television sets around the world this weekend! With wild action all over the country, we were witness to some stunning results and great play. Obviously, one can’t look at the results from Matchday 1 and jump to any wild conclusions but this weekend’s matches gave clubs the final opportunity to see their team on the field before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

Borussia Dortmund look dangerous.

After 45 seconds against RB Leipzig, the potential was there for the match to be a long day at the office for Dortmund. However, they stuck with their gameplan and came away with a 4-1 victory on the day with some impressive performances. The match featured Axel Witsel’s first Bundesliga goal, Mahmoud Dahoud’s first goal Dortmund, and Marco Reus’ 100th career Bundesliga goal.

Yes, the argument can be made that Leipzig were a bit unlucky, especially goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi. Reus’ free kick was deflected in by a Leipzig player, and Witsel’s goal came on the rebound of an absolute stunning save. It’ll be interesting to see what Leipzig can do as the season progresses or if the loss of Naby Keita will be too much for them to overcome.

Bayer Leverkusen suffer big stumble early.

Woof. This wasn’t the start that Bayer Leverkusen had planned for the Bundesliga season. Heiko Herrlich has plans to get Leverkusen back into the Champions League after finishing fifth last season and missing out due to goal differential. However, Leverkusen’s young attack was unable to find that connecting pass to lead to a goal. Borussia Mönchengladbach is a solid, scrappy team, but Leverkusen will be ruing their inability to find a goal.

More shocking for Leverkusen is the state of their defense. Fabian Johnson’s goal that eventually became the game winner was an epic bit of passing inside the Leverkusen penalty area. Johnson played a beautiful one-two bit of passing with Raffael that sliced through the Leverkusen backline like butter. If that’s going to be the way that Leverkusen play defense in Matchday 2 against Wolfsburg, they might be look at zero points after two matches.

Is Schalke going to be worse or is Wolfsburg going to be better than we thought?

Schalke finished a surprising second place last season, and while they haven’t greatly improved the squad this summer, were picked by BFW to finish in second once again this year. Wolfsburg, we predicted, would be hovering just above the relegation zone. So, what happened?

Dominic Tedesco has some work to do still to figure out how to replace losing Leon Goretzka in the midfield. If, as the rumors indicate, Sebastian Rudy is heading to Gelsenkirchen, they’ll have a Germany international to slide in and occupy that spot. They’ll be fine, but they should be concerned with how good Dortmund looked against Leipzig.

Joshua Guilavogui was epic in the midfield against Schalke, and if he can perform at this level all season long, Wolfsburg could find themselves comfortably mid-table or, dare I say it, challenging for Europe? And, hey, last second goals against a quality Schalke side don’t hurt.

Eintracht Frankfurt get big win to rebound from embarrassing DFB Pokal elimination.

Remember last week when Eintracht Frankfurt, the reigning and defending DFB Pokal Champions, were eliminated from the competition by Regionalliga side SSV Ulm? They really hope that you forget that ever happened, and they went all out with a smash and grab against Freiburg in Matchday 1. The 2-0 victory will go a long way to rebuilding the club’s confidence as they move forward.

Mainz gets big opening day win over Stuttgart

Mainz celebrated the fifteenth year of their first ever Bundesliga promotion with a big victory over Stuttgart on Sunday. While we predicted Stuttgart to finish mid-table in our preview, Mainz was hovering just north of the relegation playoff spot. This was a huge three points for the club as they work to build credit in the first half of the season, so they aren’t scrambling for too many points at the end of the season to avoid relegation back to the 2.Bundesliga for the first time in nearly ten years.

As for Stuttgart, it definitely wasn’t the start that they wanted with Bayern Munich coming to the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Matchday 2. Their European dreams were dashed last season when Frankfurt upset Bayern in the DFB Pokal Final, but they have high hopes of attaining those goals this year. Heading into the international break with 0 points from 2 matches isn’t ideal.

Matchday 1 Results

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