Bundesliga kicked off its 51st season with 37 goals, a glut of glowing newcomers, and plenty of drama to spare. From Borussia Dortmund to Hertha Berlin, THT reviews the best of Matchday 1.
Aubameyang inspires Dortmund to speedy start
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is talk of the town after his emphatic debut for Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. Nicknamed “Spiderman,” the speedy and athletic Aubameyang made his mark with a hat-trick that fired BVB to their 4-0 win at Augsburg. The striker’s brutal pace was on full display from the start, when he blazed past full-back Matthias Ostrzolek to open his scoring account after 24 minutes.
Augsburg began the game sitting much too deep in their own half, but after Aubameyang’s first goal, the home side picked it up. The last minutes before halftime saw a flurry of chances for Augsburg as they pressed for the equalizer. Their best chance came when Mitchell Langerak was caught out on a corner; Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker sent in a strong header, but Sven Bender was on the line to head the ball over. Raphael Holzhauser then tried his luck with a drive from 40 yards out, but couldn’t fool an alert Langerak.
Shortly after the restart, Amsif denied Aubameyang when the Gabon international went in to double his tally. But Dortmund’s next goal was coming: in the 66th minute, Marco Reus assisted Auba for his second, before Robert Lewandowski laid the pass for Spiderman’s third of the night. Aubameyang was substituted off for youngster Jonas Hofmann, who soon put his own stamp on things with a blistering dash into Augsburg’s box to draw the penalty. Lewandowski promptly converted from the spot, and a potentially tricky fixture was put to bed.
It was a dream start for Dortmund. But as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility. It will be up to Aubameyang to keep up the intensity for the rest of the season. And it will also be up to Jürgen Klopp, as the tactic employed in the Augsburg game — feeding through balls to Auba as quickly and often as possible — is too transparent to remain effective for long.
Things are looking good for Dortmund though, between their debutante’s heroics and the talents of last year’s Champions League finalists. Marcel Schmelzer and Sven Bender in particular deserve credit for their performances. Against Augsburg, the midfielder won all his tackles and also headed away Callsen-Bracker’s shot to deny the Fuggerstädter the equalizer. All told, this Dortmund side look as sharp as ever and ready to give Bayern a run for their money.
Hertha Berlin’s dream Bundesliga return
Hertha Berlin are at the top of the Bundesliga table. While this means next to nothing after just one matchday, Hertha’s 6-1 performance against Eintracht Frankfurt does bode well for The Old Lady’s return to the top-flight.
John Anthony Brooks had a dream debut with a goal and 90+ minutes of sensible, alert defending. Forwards Adrian Ramos and Sami Allagui bagged a brace each, and Ronny wrapped things up with Hertha’s sixth of the day. Only Alexander Meier’s 37th-minute penalty marred an otherwise perfect opening day for the home side.
The entire Hertha team deserve plaudits for their performance, and none more so perhaps than Hajime Hosogai. The Japanese international wasn’t even sure if he would be selected to start. But start he did, and for for 83 minutes he masterfully pulled the strings in Hertha’s midfield. It was one of his defense-splitting passes that set Allagui up for his second goal, and with an 85% passing accuracy, Hosogai was as much a rock as an inspiration.
This current Hertha little resembles the ship that went down in 2011/2012. The team kept their foot on the pedal for the entire match and reaped the rewards. Jos Luhukay has worked wonders at the Olympiastadion, and fans will surely be looking forward to much more magic as the season gets into full swing.
Schalke and Hamburg clash in 6-goal thriller
For the second year in a row, Schalke began their Bundesliga campaign with a draw. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar opened the scoring inside of two minutes, before Joel Matip handed the ball inside the box and Rafael van der Vaart equalized from the spot. More bad news followed for Schalke, as Julian Draxler limped off the pitch after just 23 minutes, to be replaced by Leon Goretzka. HSV then took the lead when Maxi Beister’s header ricocheted from the bar to Hildebrand’s arm and into the back of the net. But the first-half drama wasn’t done yet, as Huntelaar scored his second of the night two minutes into added time.
HSV pulled ahead once more four minutes after the restart. Newcomer Lass Sobiech rose to the occasion (literally) to head Huntelaar’s corner past a faltering Hildebrand. Jen Keller responded by bringing on Adam Szalai, whose impact was immediate. Rene Adler denied one Szalai shot at point-blank range, but spilled another save right at the striker’s feet, and it was Schalke 3, HSV 3.
The high-octane draw marked a thrilling finish to a goal-filled opening weekend. Schalke will be cursing their bad luck, while HSV will be happy to have come away from the Veltins with a point. But it’s also true that you make your own luck, and Hildebrand, for one, left something to be desired. The goalkeeper had a bad day all around, from his positioning to his poor command of corners. To err is human, but this is not the first time we have seen an inexplicable performance from Hildebrand and it’s unlikely to be the last. Whether it’s motivation, match fitness, or something else that Hildebrand lacks, Keller needs to figure it out fast; the race for a Champions League spot has no room for error.
Matchday One Results:
Bayern Munich 3-1 Borussia Mönchengladbach, Leverkusen 3-1 Freiburg, Hannover 2-0 Wolfsburg, Hoffenheim 2-2 Nuremberg, Eintracht Braunschweig 0-1 Werder Bremen, Mainz 3-2 Stuttgart
- 37 goals were scored on Matchday 1, the third-highest goal tally of any opening weekend in the Bundesliga and the most since 1993.
- Werder Bremen snapped a 13-match winless streak with their 1-0 at Braunschweig.
- Aubameyang is the 6th player in Bundesliga history to score a hat-trick on his debut.
- Against Gladbach, Bayern passed with 92% accuracy — redefining the possession game.
- Gladbach’s Alvaro Dominguez gave away two handballs in the space of 90 seconds.
Goal of the Week:
Arjen Robben opened the 51st Bundesliga season with this spectacular goal for Bayern Munich.