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Five Observations from Matchday 2 in the Bundesliga

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Matchday 2 of the Bundesliga is in the books. Some teams are turning expectations on their heads while others massively disappoint.

01.09.2018, Hesse, Frankfurt: Soccer: Bundesliga, Eintracht Frankfurt - Werder Bremen, 2nd matchday in Commerzbank-Arena. Milot Rashica (2nd from left, 11) from Bremen hits a free kick over the Frankfurt Wall to the final score of 2:1.
01.09.2018, Hesse, Frankfurt: Soccer: Bundesliga, Eintracht Frankfurt - Werder Bremen, 2nd matchday in Commerzbank-Arena. Milot Rashica (2nd from left, 11) from Bremen hits a free kick over the Frankfurt Wall to the final score of 2:1.
(Photo by Thomas Frey/picture alliance via Getty Images)

After a positive Matchday 1, Borussia Dortmund drop a stinker in Matchday 2.

Following their impressive-yet-not-so-impressive victory last week over RB Leipzig, it certainly looked like Borussia Dortmund were going to be able to build on that with a follow-up victory on the road against Hannover 96. Yeah, that didn’t happen.

In fact, the highlight of the game may have just been an older man in the stands heading the ball back onto the field and taking a young kid down the ground in the process.

In a drab scoreless Friday night game, Dortmund showed that maybe they’re not as good as last week’s scoreline showed. Obviously, some luck went into last week, but they were flying around the field, threatening Leipzig all game. Today, while they had 3 shots on target to Hannover’s 0, it wasn’t a performance that you want to head into the upcoming international break with.

You could argue that their attack lost a bit of spark with Christian Pulisic injured and unavailable for the match; however, Lucien Favre has his work cut out for him to figure out exactly how he wants this team to play moving forward.

Wolfsburg beat Schalke and Bayer Leverkusen in back-to-back weeks. Will they sustain a Champions League challenge?

So, we picked Wolfsburg to finish in 15th place in our Bundesliga Preview Extraordinaire, and after their first two Bundesliga matches, they really want to make us eat those words. Entering the half tied at one, Wolfsburg snagged two goals in five minutes just before the hour mark to go up out 3-1 on Leverkusen and didn’t look back.

What does this mean for Wolfsburg for this season? It’s hard to tell. We know that Bruno Labbadia is their head coach, and it’s been many years sine he last had a successful season in the Bundesliga. Will he be able to steer them toward a top half of the table or ... European place? No, beating Schalke and Leverkusen in the opening two weeks isn’t a real sign of anything, but maybe it shows that they’re definitely going to be better than we thought they were going to be.

Wolfsburg will have the opportunity to show us their worth when the Bundesliga returns following the September international break. They will take on fellow 6-point team Hertha Berlin, followed by Freiburg and Mainz. Six or even nine points out of those three matches isn’t out of the realms of possibility.

Werder Bremen scores late goal to change a result two weeks in a row.

Despite not facing world-beating competition, Werder Bremen will be happy to head into the international break with four points from two matches. Last week, a late goal rescued a point at home against Hannover 96, while Matchday 2 saw them steal all three points on the road against Eintracht Frankfurt thanks to a 96 minute free kick from late substitute Milot Rashica.

The 22 year old Rashica has been a second half substitute in both matches, and he’s been instrumental in their four points. Against Hannover, he had the assist on Theodor Gere Selassie’s game tying goal. Against Frankfurt, his inch perfect free kick left Kevin Trapp with no chance at the save.

It’s hard to know what this will mean for the bulk of Werder’s season. While they will face other stronger and weaker competition this season, what’s going to happen when these late breaks don’t go their way? Will they figure out a way to keep moving forward or will they fade?

As a boost to their European competition hopes, Werder also completed the transfer of Nuri Sahin from Borussia Dortmund on the final day of the transfer window. Adding the experienced midfielder to their squad will go a long way to boosting their season hopes.

Schalke, RB Leipzig, Bayer Leverkusen need to regroup over the international break.

What a disaster of a start for three of the Bundesliga’s clubs that are competing in European competition this year. Schalke, RB Leipzig, and Bayer Leverkusen have combined for a grand total of ONE point after SIX matches. That point came from Leipzig’s come from behind draw against freshly promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf in Matchday 2. This is not good.

Thankfully for the three clubs, the international break is now here, and they can begin to piece together their poor start and prepare to move forward for the upcoming season. With the Champions and Europa League starting soon, they better.

Oh, hey, this is your reminder that if the Bundesliga clubs tank in Europe this year, the league will likely fall to fifth in the coefficients behind France. It’s time to get it together, or the entire league will suffer as a result, folks.

Hertha Berlin have started hot. Can they keep it up?

Victories over Nürnberg and Schalke have Hertha Berlin sitting on six points after two matches, sharing the top spot with Bayern Munich and Wolfsburg. (Technically, they’re in third due to goal differential and goals scored tiebreakers. Whatever.) However, we’ll really find out how good they are once the Bundesliga returns from the September international break.

In a three week period, Hertha will face Wolfsburg, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Werder Bremen, and Bayern Munich. If they manage six or more points from those four matches, we’ll definitely have to consider them challengers for a spot in Europe next season. Those are all tough matches and will be a real test of the club’s quality.

Matchday 2 Results

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