1. Hamburg remain the field of screams.
The new season barely has begun and already Hamburg find themselves knee-deep in negative headlines, beaten by the amateurs of Jena in the first round of the German Cup, rendered a laughing stock when director of football Peter Knäbel lost a rucksack containing sensitive club paperwork – including a list of player salaries – and thumped 5-0 at Bayern Munich on the opening weekend of the Bundesliga season.
On the wrong end of a 8-0 Allianz-Arena depluming in the corresponding fixture last season, Hamburg at least put up a fight in the first-half on Friday, solid enough defensively to restrict the Bayern All-Stars to just one-goal lead at the break. But as soon as the hosts moved up a gear or two after the restart, Bruno Labbadia’s side simply had no answers, left, at full-time, in a crumpled heap.
Bayern certainly like a visit from the northerners, racking up a 31:3 goal-ratio in their last six home games against HSV.
2. Costa scales the heights, Götze falls back.
If Bayern were able to start the 2015-16 campaign with a flourish – recording the most emphatic win in the 13 years of stand-alone season curtain-raisers – much of the credit must go to 30 million euro Brazilian recruit, Douglas Costa.
Besides crossing for Thomas Muller to convert and rounding off proceedings with a fine individual goal, the ex-Shakhtar Donetsk winger’s energy, changes of tempo and dribbling prowess were a constant headache for the opposition and on this evidence, the German champions need have no worries contemplating a future without Franck Ribery, who continues to be sidelined with an ankle problem.
While Costa spectacularly hogged the spotlight, prompting Bayern boss Pep Guardiola to claim he could develop into one of the globe’s best wide men, the future looks considerably gloomier for teammate, Mario Götze. The World Cup final 2014 matchwinner, only came on for the last 25 minutes and after having to make do with a bit-part role in the second-half of last term, must be wondering whether he should try his luck elsewhere.
3. Tuchel makes a compelling statement of intent
Dortmund’s 4-0 victory at home to Mönchengladbach on Saturday, the former’s largest winning margin in the Bundesliga for 15 months, could not possibly have gone any better for debutant ‘Schwarz-Gelben’ coach, Thomas Tuchel.
In a chef d’oeuvre of speed, clever movement and slick combination play, the Dortmunder completely dominated from start to finish and when a team as well-structured and tactically-aware as Lucien Favre’s Gladbach is sunk without trace, you can only applaud the architect of the mismatch.
The Tuchel big idea of grafting greater midfield precision and control to the rocket-booster attacks espoused by predecessor Jurgen Klopp, are especially benefitting Armenian playmaker, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who twice was on the score-sheet in the opening day romp.
Rarely convincing last season, his first in yellow-and-black, the ex-Shakhtar star was widely-expected to move on this summer, but now is flourishing as Tuchel’s number one creator.
4. Newly-promoted and loving it.
What with Ingolstadt winning 1-0 at Mainz and Darmstadt somewhat unfortunate to ‘only’ draw 2-2 at home to Hannover, both top-flight new boys made a good job of transferring from economy to business class.
Competing in the Bundesliga for the first time, Ingolstadt performed the classic smash-and-grab raid – the only goal of the game scored by Austrian front-man Lukas Hinterseer – while Darmstadt, back in the top-flight after a 12,131-day absence, gave their guests quite a fright, midfielder Marcel Heller netting two fine goals and teammates twice hitting the woodwork.
The Darmstadt-Hannover encounter also was a technological groundbreaker, the first instance in the Bundesliga of a video referee adjudicating on whether the ball had crossed the line. Unfortunately for Hannover’s Kenan Karaman, ‘Hawk Eye’ deemed his headed effort invalid.
5. Bremen again take aim and shoot themselves in the foot.
No other team in Bundesliga history has conceded more own-goals than Werder Bremen and on Saturday they were up to their old tricks, racking up their 53rd ‘Eigentor’, when Czech international full-back, Theo Gebre Selassie put Schalke en route to a comfortable 3-0 victory.
This was Schalke’s first away win since December 2014 and to his immense credit, new Gelsenkirchen boss, Andre Breitenreiter seems to have them clique-free, uninhibited and most important of all, happy.
One sour note for the Royal Blues: centre-back Matija Nastasic being ruled out for six months after rupturing an Achilles tendon.