The 2021/22 Bundesliga season got underway this weekend and matchday one did not disappoint.
We were treated to several upsets, a shed load of goals and as always, some suspect defending. The highlight was Borussia Dortmund’s dominant victory over Eintracht Frankfurt, but Bayern Munich slipping to a draw on the opening day against Borussia Monchengladbach was also interesting.
With the dust now settling following the opening round of games, here are five things we learned from the Bundesliga’s opening weekend.
Bundesliga’s reputation as the ‘no defending, just vibes’ league is firmly intact after this weekend’s fixtures.
Across the games we saw high lines galore, a string of sloppy errors and positioning that was as abstract as some of Picasso’s finest work.
During matchday one, Hoffenheim put four past Augsburg, Stuttgart helped themselves to five against Greuther Furth, as did Dortmund against Frankfurt.
One fixture did noticeably break rank, though, with Arminia Bielefeld playing out a goalless draw with Freiburg. Sort it out guys.
Stuttgart fans have endured a rollercoaster ride since 2015, witnessing two relegations, two promotions and more managers than they can count.
However, after a solid first season back in the top flight last time out, Stuttgart proved they have enough in the tank to surprise a few people this term.
Despite losing Nicolas Gonzalez and Gregor Kobel in the summer, they put Bundesliga newbies Greuther Furth to the sword 5-1. Some of the football they played in the first half was magic. They also looked terrifying from set pieces with defender Marc-Oliver Kempf scoring two headers.
Stuttgart will be among a host of clubs targeting a top seven finish this season. If Union Berlin can do it, so can they.
Erling Haaland put on an exhibition in front of 25,000 fans at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday.
With just over half an hour gone he had already set up Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard to give Dortmund a 2-1 lead. Minutes later he forced a mistake from Stefan Illsanker before racing through on goal and finishing in typically relaxed fashion.
After the break, Haaland then laid one on a plate for Giovanni Reyna to get in on the act. He was not done there either, adding his second and Dortmund’s fifth with 20 minutes to play.
This is Haaland’s farewell season in Dortmund and every time he puts in a performance like this, the whole of Europe is reminded why there is going to be such a frenzied tug of war for his signature next summer.
This season’s Bundesliga curtain raiser featured champions Bayern Munich squaring off against Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday night.
It was Julian Nagelsmann’s first league match in charge of Die Roten and things did not go to plan. Patrick Herrmann had two great chances to open the scoring inside five minutes and Alassane Plea eventually punished Bayern’s horrific defending with a fine finish.
As they often do, Nagelsmann’s charges would eventually rally and grab a 1-1 draw but their performance was far from convincing.
Scratch beneath a scarilly strong starting XI in Bavaria and Bayern’s squad is weak in several areas. This, combined with Nagelsmann’s inexperience in the pressure cooker of elite-level football, could see a genuine title race develop in Germany this season.
Hertha Berlin must be the biggest underachievers in European football. Despite spending big over the past few years, they have hovered around the relegation zone for the most part.
The spending has continued this summer with Suat Serdar, Marco Richter, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Stevan Jovetic all arriving in the capital. Add to that Krzysztof Piatek, Matheus Cunha and Javairo Dilrosun and Hertha have one of the better squads in the league on paper.
However, football is not played on paper and once again Die Alte Dame underwhelmed on the opening day, losing 3-1 to Koln – who finished in the relegation playoff place last season.
Maybe things will improve as the season progresses…