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Borussia Dortmund

Thoughts and observations from first Bundesliga gameweek; By Susie Schaaf


If the first Bundesliga matchday is anything to go by, Borussia Dortmund is definitely back. Taking over from Jurgen Klopp, as he did at Mainz, coach Thomas Tuchel has reinvigorated BVB. “We weren’t expecting that,” he said post­ match; having just beaten the other Borussia­­ Monchengladbach­­ 4:0. Perhaps more surprising than the scoreline, though, is the manner in which the victory came about.

A caveat, perhaps, is necessary when discussing ‘Gladbach’s heavy defeat: Captain and center back Martin Stranzl is out injured; forcing Lucien Favre to use a very young defensive pairing of Marvin Schultz (20) and Andreas Christensen (19). Though Josip Drmic was brought in from Leverkusen, you could sense that Favre was missing former forward Max Meyer, and the experience of Christoph Kramer in the middle of the park.

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Marco Reus and Pierre­ Emerick Aubameyang shone most obviously, but looking a bit deeper there were some surprises. Left­ back Marcel Schmelzer looked an altogether different player­­ quick in defending against Drmic, but even better going forward, while Henrikh Mkhitaryan is now allowed to be more thoughtful. The Armenian’s brace was the topping on the cake for a banner Dortmund day, and all the more telling as he was rumored to be unhappy, and leaving the club. “I am pleased that I managed to convince him that he was ready to play again and throw himself in to the game,” said Tuchel about “Miki.” “He is now reaping the rewards from this.”

Both promoted sides get points

Both Bundesliga debutantes, Ingolstadt and Darmstadt, managed to walk away with points in the first week: Darmstadt drew 2:2 with Hannover at home thanks to a brace by left­wing Marcel Heller, while Ingolstadt took all three points at Mainz through Austrian forward Lukas Hinterseer.

Ingolstadt’s trainer Ralf Hasenhuettl is called the “Alpine Klopp,” and indeed is nearly as charming as his “namesake,” occasionally traveling to see first­ division team practices incognito­­ on his bike, with sunglasses and a helmet on. When asked about whether Ingolstadt could stay up, he told D​ie Welt, ​“It may be that we play a great year, get 35 points, but still not have three clubs behind us. Then we can say we played a great year, but it wasn’t enough.”

Bayern jumps to early pole position

Though all the press focused on Dortmund’s shellacking of ‘Gladbach (and rightly so), Bayern Munich continued their domination over Hamburger SV in Friday night’s league opener. Munich, scoring five to BVB’s four, would end up on the top of the table in week one­­ a position they may not relinquish for the remainder of the season due to their smart signings of Arturo Vidal and Douglas Costa.

Vidal, from Juventus, led the team in passing and tackles, but Brazilian Costa, from Donetsk, stole the show with his blazing speed and whipped, accurate crosses; garnering a goal and an assist along the way.

SEE MORE: Read our Bundesliga 2015/16 season preview.

The denouement of last season, as Bayern slipped in form to weakly cross the finish line, might have given the other big German teams hope that maybe they would have a shot. But, watching them destroy Hamburg,­­ and not yet wholly organized,­­ should give pause. Yes, great moves were made by Bundesliga clubs­­ in hopes of preventing Bayern from collecting their fourth consecutive title, but you could probably get good odds on d​ie Roten l​eading the fray from week one through week 34.

Bayern and Wolfsburg square off in Pokal

While Bayern may have taken an early lead in the league, the chances of a domestic double have been lessened as they drew Wolfsburg for Round Two of the cup competition. The Wolves recently beat FCB in the pre­-season’s semi­-serious DFL Supercup (the previous season’s league and cup winners), and look to be charging on with a full head of steam by knocking out their stiffest competition.

SEE MORE: FOX Sports kicks off Bundesliga coverage with promising first weekend.

Kevin de Bruyne, heavily rumored with a move to Manchester City before the transfer window snaps shut, will be there. According to him. Receiving an award at S​portbild’s​ annual show, the Belgian told the assembled audience that he would be there when the two teams matched up next month. Case closed? Or not, perhaps, as his agent today said that de Bruyne was duped into saying it.

Programming note: Even if you don’t have a TV subscription to FOX Sports 2 or FOX Soccer Plus, you can watch every single Bundesliga game live on FOX Soccer 2GO with a free 7-day trial. The service streams every Bundesliga game to your computer, tablet or smartphone. And set-up just takes minutes.

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  1. Ivan

    August 18, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    I only saw the majority of the Dortmund-Gladbach game from this past weekend in the BL.

    I was surprised to see the fluid and creative form of Dortmund reminiscent of the (g)olden days of Klop past. And while Gladbach had nothing to offer in response, and it may be too early to declare Dortmund title challengers, they can surely finish in the Champions League spots. There are way too many game changers and play-makers on their team.

    • Borussia DortMan

      August 18, 2015 at 11:38 pm

      I would agree that Bayern will likely end up as title winners but I think that Dortmund and Wolfsburg will keep the title up for grabs into April. I think Shürrle will settle in and find his form again to make Wolfsburg even more dangerous. As for Dortmund, while the health of Reus, Gündogan, and Aubameyang is critical, a resurgent Mhikitaryan may lighten their burden and become the Götze replacement many thought he would become when he arrived at the club.

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