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Bundesliga Roundup 2020/21: Matchday 1

Bundesliga Roundup 2020/21: Matchday 1

There were fireworks in the first matchday of Bundesliga 2020/21. 36 goals were fired in the opening weekend of the new season of which saw title holders, sit where they have been sitting for the past eight years.

FootTheBall takes you through the big games from the first matchday of the Bundesliga 2020/21 season.

 

Bayern Munich 8 – 0 Schalke

Is there any team that can stop Bayern? Well, Schalke would definitely not bet on it. The new season of the Bundesliga kicked-off at the Allianz Arena. Bayern Munich welcomed Schalke for the first game. The champions look like an unstoppable force. Their performance against the Royal Blues heralds a ninth consecutive Meisterschale already. While some might see this as too early for making a prediction, the eight-nil mauling of Schalke removes the grey area.

New signing, Leroy Sane made his return to the Bundesliga to face his former club where it all started for the German winger. Hansi Flick picked his notional 4-2-3-1 formation. David Alaba missed the game with a thigh injury. Kingsley Coman was quarantined. Joshua Kimmich wore the new number six after Thiago sealed his move to Liverpool. Alphonso Davies was left on the bench for the opener.

David Wagner had to do without his key defenders. Omar Mascarell, Salif Sane, and Matija Nastasic were missing. Ralf Fahrmann was the man between the sticks for Schalke. Goncalo Paciencia, the new recruit, made it to the starting eleven along with Mark Uth starting upfront.

It took Bayern only four minutes to score their first goal. A pin-point long pass from Joshua Kimmich found Serge Gnabry making a run in behind Schalke’s defense. Gnabry curled a flyer in the top left corner of the goal.

Within a gap of 15 minutes each, Bayern added two more goals to their tally. Leon Goretzka grabbed his first goal of the season in the 19th minute. Robert Lewandowski converted from the spot in the 31st minute after Ozan Kabak brought him down, denying Lewandowski a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

The hosts made it four within two minutes of the second half kick-off. Gnabry scored from a Leroy Sane effort. On the break, Sane outpaced Benjamin Stambouli and Sebastian Rudy to lay it off for Gnabry’s second goal. Gnabry completed a hattrick at the hour mark. The provider, once again, was Leroy Sane. Schalke succumbed to Bayern’s pressing which led Kimmich to launch a long pass for Sane. His speed was no match for Schalke’s defenders. The former winger calmly turned inside the box to gift the match-ball to Gnabry.

Ten minutes later, Bayern scored two goals in succession. Thomas Muller and Leroy Sane found their names on the scoresheet. Jamal Musiala added another with ten minutes left on the clock. The substitute became Bayern’s all-time youngest goalscorer.

 

Dortmund 3 – 0 Monchengladbach

In a late-night fixture at the Signal Iduna Park, Borussia Dortmund hosted Borussia Monchengladbach in front of 10,000 supporters for their opening Bundesliga game. Lucien Favre named a young starting lineup. Jude Bellingham got his first Bundesliga start in the Dortmund shirt. So did Thomas Meunier who started as the right wing-back in Favre’s preferred 3-4-1-2.

Marco Rose’s two key players, Alassane Plea and Marcus Thuram warmed the bench for the majority of the match. He surprisingly used a 3-4-3 formation to counter Dortmund’s threat. Rose’s approach backfired as Der BVB claimed three points.

The visitors dominated the game when speaking in terms of possession and pressing intensity. However, Jadon Sancho and co. oozed class when playing through Gladbach’s suffocating defensive tactics. The quartet formed by Bellingham, Sancho, Giovanni Reyna, and Axel Witsel in the middle of the park was all that Dortmund needed to gain the upper hand. The hosts had started to knock on Gladbach’s door within the first 20 minutes of the game. Creating space on the flanks by absorbing pressure in the centre was the tactic that Favre had mastered to counteract Rose’s pressing scheme. Consequently, Can delivered a diagonal cross which was later laid off to Reyna by Bellingham after a mix-up in Gladbach’s box. The USMNT attacker opened the scoring from a tight angle at the 35th-minute mark.

Bundesliga Roundup 2020/21: Matchday 1

Giovanni Reyna opened the account for Dortmund against the Foals (Image courtesy: Twitter/@BlackYellow)

The majority of the second half recited a similar story. Dortmund absorbed pressure and exploited their speed on the break. Consequently, Reyna was brought down by Bensebaini in the 18-yard box after Dortmund raided Gladbach’s half on the counter. Erling Haaland scored his first goal from the spot. The 20-year old Norwegian made it three for Dortmund after 23 minutes. It was yet another counterattack where Sancho earned the assist.

While Rose saw some improvement after making a few tactical changes later in the game, Dortmund had already done the damage. The defeat must have left a sour taste in Rose’s mouth but the takeaways from this game should set the tone for the Foals’ upcoming games.

 

3 – 1 Mainz

Having battered Mainz last season, RB Leipzig opened their new season with a slightly tepid scoreline. The Red Bulls continued with their midfield diamond completed by Yussuf Poulsen at the tip of the attack. Julian Nagelsmann placed Adam Tyler in the heart of his three-man defense. Angelino, on loan from Manchester City, and Lukas Klostermann operated from the wide areas. New signing, Hwan Hee-chan was named on the bench.

Achim Beierlorzer deployed a 4-2-3-1 formation. Robin Zentner is now their firm choice for the number one spot. The in-form striker, Jean-Philippe Mateta started as the lone forward aiming to emulate his post lockdown form.

Contrary to their lineup on paper and, as expected, Adams operated in the midfield for Leipzig. Dayot Upamecano held the centre of defense with Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberg on either side of the three-man backline. Leipzig operated with a nose-bleed high line and dominated the game. Mainz were playing for attacking on the break as they held a medium/low block, forming a 4-4-2 structure.

After repeatedly attacking the 05ers’ goal from the onset, Leipzig opened their account in the 17th minute. Kevin Kampl tussled his way through the right-hand side to enter Mainz’s box. He delivered a cut-back pass to Dani Olmo who earned a penalty following Leandro Barreiro’s mistimed tackle. Emil Forsberg comfortably sent Zenter the wrong way to score from 12 yards.

Four minutes later, Leipzig doubled their lead. Angelino earned a free-kick on the left side of the 18-yard box. Forsberg’s set-piece delivery was headed away by a Mainz’s defender. Olmo received the ball on the far side who lofted it back as Poulsen’s towering header looped over the goalkeeper.

Bundesliga Roundup 2020/21: Matchday 1

Amadou Haidara was on the scoresheet for RB Leipzig in matchday one (Image courtesy: Twitter/@DieRotenBullen)

Mainz took control of the game in the ensuing moments. It was no more than a 10-minute cameo for their attacking prowess. However, Mainz did revert after the break. The attack began out from the back. Moussa Niakhate rolled the ball towards Daniel Brosinski who pushed it further to Robin Quaison. Quaison somehow managed to beat two Leipzig defenders with the touchline behind him. He drifted diagonally from the left flank and punched a through-ball for Mateta. The French forward slyly made a run in behind Halstenberg and fired the ball past Peter Gulacsi.

Leipzig restored their lead in a jiffy. Forsberg wrestled his way through to enter the box. With defenders closing him down, he set up Amadou Haidara in open space for Leipzig’s third.

 

Wolfsburg 0 – 0 Bayer Leverkusen

Oliver Glasner made three changes from Thursday’s Europa League victory. Joshua Guilavogui served his ban which saw John Brooks getting his first minutes of the season. Maxence Lacroix debuted for Die Wolfe. Glasner used a 4-3-3 formation with Wout Weghorst, Joao Victor, and Josip Brekalo leading the attack. Renato Steffen made his fourth appearance in a right-back role for Wolfsburg.

Die Werkself made one change from their seven-nil DFP Pokal victory over Eintracht Norderstedt. Moussa Diaby replaced Nadiem Amiri. There were questions everywhere on how Peter Bosz will make Leverkusen play after the departure of Kai Havertz and Kevin Volland. Bosz chose a 4-1-4-1 formation. Lucas Alario led the attack upfront. Kerem Demirbay and teenager, Florian Wirtz paired up in the centre of the midfield. Charles Aranguiz shielded the back four featuring the Bender brothers, Edmond Tapsoba, and Daley Sinkgraven.

Leverkusen’s strategy was crystal clear from the first whistle of the match. Bosz aimed to leverage the speed from his wingers. Diaby, more often than Bellarabi, was the target of long-balls from the back. As a result, a chance arrived in the opening three minutes of the game for the visitors. Following a long pass to Diaby, Leverkusen won a corner which was well connected by Alario but Koen Casteels made a solid save. Wolfsburg’s high pressing tactics were rendered ineffective as Leverkusen continuously launched long-balls from the back.

The match featured a constant change of possession as the ball “ping-ponged” between the two halves. The visitors, nonetheless, performed fabulously in the defensive phase. They worked in a compact unit to close down space on the man in possession of the ball. Bosz made it sure that a successful regain of possession was followed by a quick direct attack.

This saw Florian Wirtz almost getting a goal for his side in the 24th minute. Sinkgraven collected the ball from the left flank as he carried it a few yards forward. He fended off pressure from Steffen to play a pass to Wirtz. The 17-year old played a one-two with Diaby in the central space outside the box. However, Lacroix made a timely challenge to deny Wirtz from pulling the trigger.

The hosts attempted a few shots in the aftermath as Leverkusen aimed for hitting from a long-ball to Diaby. The second half was no different. Neither team could break the deadlock as they settled for a point each in their first Bundesliga game of the season.

 

How does the Bundesliga table look after Matchday one?

 

(Featured Image: Twitter/@FCBayernEN)

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