1. Bayer Leverkusen face a race against time
Leverkusen director of sport, Rudi Völler has a full-blown emergency on his hands after recently-acquired Chilean international midfielder, Charles Aranguiz, ruptured an Achilles tendon in a training session.
Bought from Brazilian side, Internacional for a reported 13 million euros, the 26-year-old had been due to make his debut for the Rhinelanders in this weekend’s trip to Hannover – where the guests prevailed 1-0 – but now has to go under the knife in a Basel clinic and probably will be out of action until next spring.
After taking weeks to piece together the deal to bring the South American box-to-box warrior to the BayArena, Völler suddenly finds himself back at square one and with the transfer window soon to close, must swiftly work the contacts book for a replacement.
Rumour has it that Rudi will be concentrating on the delights of the Bayern Munich fringes, possibly going for the Dane, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, now back at the Allianz-Arena following an impressive season on loan at Augsburg or the industrious ex-Frankfurter, Sebastian Rode.
2. The two Borussias play bookends
While maximum-point Borussia Dortmund entrenched themselves at the top of the Bundesliga with a 4-0 romp at newly-promoted Ingolstadt on Sunday, their namesakes at Borussia Mönchengladbach are having to come to terms with the depressing fact that they are one of only three top-flight clubs to be zero-rated (the others being Hoffenheim and Stuttgart).
The common denominator in Gladbach’s two defeats this term – the 4-0 opening day loss in Dortmund and unexpected 2-1 reverse at home to Mainz on Saturday – is the complete lack of co-ordination and solidity at the back and in the usually well-ordered world of Foals coach, Lucien Favre, that is a cardinal sin. Gladbach technical director, Max Eberl, also thinks that certain players have taken their eye off the ball, distracted by the prospect of the club’s first-ever Champions League expedition. “We’ve a lot of work ahead of us, ” declared Favre. ” The players will have to be ready to suffer. ”
3. Bayern are only human
Despite their 2-1 win at Hoffenheim, sealed by Robert Lewandowski’s last-minute tap-in following a brilliant Douglas Costa run and cutback, the reigning German champions would not have been proud of this slipshod performance.
Almost a third of their attempted passes were inaccurate; centre-back Jerome Boateng was sent off for the ninth time in his career and the goal they conceded was gift-wrapped, David Alaba’s wayward pass inadvertently rolling out the red carpet for Kevin Volland to fire home after just nine seconds.
If Hoffenheim midfielder Eugen Polanski had not hit the post with a 74th minute penalty, Bayern might well have been on the wrong end of a shock and improve they must. ”
We still have to work on those last two percentage points, ” opined the Bavarian outfit’s director of sport, Matthias Sammer. ” We have to show absolute togetherness. No one on the outside is going to help us. ” Volland now shares the record for the quickest-ever Bundesliga goal with Leverkusen’s Karim Bellarabi, who struck equally quickly against Dortmund last season.
4. Köln cultivate their backyard competitiveness
Unbeaten at home since December of last year, Köln’s 1-1 draw with Wolfsburg on Saturday was their 11th straight Bundesliga game at the Rhein-Energie Stadion without defeat and while European qualification is still some way off, coach Peter Stöger must be satisfied with the way his young and hungry ensemble are developing.
Disciplined, compact, physically uncompromising and full of energy, the Kölner gave as good as jthey got against the supposedly superior Wolves and in new French striker, Anthony Modeste have the most exciting of talismans.
5. Stuttgart need to hold their nerve
As a result of their pointless start to the season, many Stuttgart supporters are openly fearful of yet another struggle against relegation. But the Swabian faithful need not panic just yet. In the weekend’s 3-2 loss at Hamburg, the visitors were the better team for long periods and twice in front, probably would have gone to win if Austrian right-back, Florian Klein not foolishly picked up two yellow cards in the space of 81 seconds early in the second-half.
The scorer of both Stuttgart goals, striker Daniel Ginczek was a constant threat and should he continue in this vein, Alex Zorniger’s side will bounce back