Match day takeaways – Week 1

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It’s good to have the Bundesliga back in action. Finally something else to talk about then transfers and transfer rumours. On match day 1 we saw Bayern, Dortmund and Hoffenheim all take three points against semi decent opposition, where as RB Leipzig stumbled at the first hurdle during their tough away trip to Gelsenkirchen. Elsewhere Hannover and Hamburg are off to a good start and Hertha Berlin keep producing good results at the start of the season(as is tradition under Pal Dardai).

Player of the week – Matthew Leckie

Many fans of the Old Lady weren’t too stoked about the signing of the 26-year-old striker, because the last time the Aussie had scored was on match day 34 of the 2015/16 season. However, it took Leckie only one match to get his first brace for Hertha and his first ever brace in the Bundesliga. Given that the club from the capital had depended a lot upon Ibisevic and Kalou, it might not be a bad thing if Pal Dardai can count on one more player who produces the goods for Hertha.

Terry’s take on the MD… Bayern let off the hook by Leverkusen?

New Bayer Leverkusen coach, Heiko Herrlich made a bold choice in leaving Julian Baumgartlinger and Julian Brandt on the bench  and FC Bayern Munchen and paid the price. B04 created plenty of chances to score more than one goal and might have made more headway had they started the match with the same tempo as they started the second half. This is easier said than done because Bayern will always seek to impose themselves on the opposition but I feel that an opportunity was missed by Herrlich’s conservatism.

Bayern on the other hand should be concerned by the number of shots they conceded. Their prospects for the season would be greatly enhanced if they can get a settled centre back pairing and Thiago fit and playing. The Spanish international’s influence on the team can’t be overstated as he makes life so much easier for his team mates. To make matters worse, Arjen Robben has a thigh injury. That’s eight first team players on the treatment table.

All that being said, debutants Sebastian Rudy, Niklas Süle and Corentin Tolisso the latter two scoring two of Bayern’s three goals. Arturo Vidal was his usual ebullient self and Lewandowski is off the mark for the season. However, Carlo Ancelotti will feel a lot better about things once Neuer, Boateng, James, Robben and Thiago are available for selection. It’s going to be a long season for the Bundesliga Champions and they will play a lot more ambitious teams that Leverkusen.

Niklas Wildhagen’s thoughts: Tough season ahead for Wolfsburg

It might be early days to suggest that VfL Wolfsburg are struggling, but their display against Borussia Dortmund left a lot to be desired. The club has a first class budget and pays first class wages to its players, yet all they seem to be able to produce is second class football. Over the last couple of years this club has had Kevin de Bruyne, Andre Schürrle and Julian Draxler on their payroll. It’s incredible to see how little this club has managed to get out of its resources ever since Dieter Hecking left the ship.

New coach Andries Jonker barely managed to keep the Wolves in the division after taking over from the lackluster Valerien Ismael on match day 22 of last season. When he took charge of the team the club was placed in 14th spot, at the end of the season the Volkswagen hierarchy had to suffer through the ordeal of seeing their club go up against Eintracht Braunschweig in the relegation play off match.

Objectively speaking things have gotten from bad to worse after the club’s DFB Pokal winning campaign in 2015. Mistakes were made by the sporting leadership and by both Hecking and Ismael. The Wolves are taking on Frankfurt, Hannover and Stuttgart in their next three matches. If the team manages to produce some results during those matches Jonker might have a chance at turning the ongoing trend of a downwards spiral around.

Main talking points

1. Having a good start to the season by narrowly beating Augsburg 1-0 wasn’t the main talking point at the Volksparkstadion on Saturday. Nicolai Müller managed to get an ACL tear whilst celebrating his goal close to the corner flag. As injuries go, this is one is probably going to be the strangest injury we will see all season long.

2.It’s now or never for Christian Heidel at Schalke. If his moves don’t work out this season he might very well be on thin ice. Good thing that some of the past failures have started to produce good performances straight away under new coach Domenico Tedesco. One of these players is Konoplyanka, who got his second ever Bundesliga goal and his first one since December in the season opener against RB Leipzig.

3. Sometimes one chance is enough. Hannover 96’s Martin Harnik had one chance all match and got the winning goal for the newly promoted side from Lower Saxony. His counterpart Yoshinori Muto had several chances in the first half and could have put the game out of reach by the time the Austrian striker got his goal in the 73rd minute.

4. TSG Hoffenheim probably deserved their lucky gaol in their 1-0 win against Werder Bremen but coach Julian Nagelsmann may be concerned by the number of chances they are spurning. Their profligacy against Liverpool probably cost them a chance of Champions League football. Maybe TSG should sign Martin Harnik before the transfer window closes.

5. The opening weekend finished with the Rheinderby and it was a closely fought encounter. Borussia Mönchengladbach earned a 1-0 win against FC Köln thanks to Nico Elvedi who met Ibrahima Traoré’s superb cross. It was the right back’s first goal for his club and capped off a memorable performance. ‘Gladbach were positively liquid at times and if this is any indication then Dieter Hecking has put together a very good side. Effzeh did enough to feel they could have got something but need Jhon Córdoba to find the back of the net sooner rather than later. The Columbian is a decent striker but appears to lack the strength of his predecessor, Anthony Modeste.