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The first weekend of the 2012-13 Bundesliga is completed. What have we learned?
Hannover and Schalke shared the points today at the AWD Arena in Hannover. The hosts needed a late goal from substitute Adrian Nikci to secure a 2-2 draw.
The visitors controlled most of the first half, but conceded a free kick inside their half of the field just before halftime. Christian Pander sent a great free kick into the penalty area, and Hannover's new signee Felipe headed the ball past Timo Hildebrand in the 43rd minute. Replays showed criminal defending by Schalke as Felipe was left completely unmarked at the back post. Roman Neustädter in particular was wondering around aimlessly.
Schalke were determined to find their opening goal and found it just after halftime. Neustädter redeemed himself by breaking up a Schalke attack in his own penalty area. He quickly fed Lewis Holtby who turned immediately to attack. Holtby played a great ball down down the right flank to Klaas Jan Huntelaar who cut inside on his left foot and beat Ron-Robert Zieler to the far post to level the score.
Holtby would give Schalke the lead in the 64th minute when Jermaine Jones sent a short chip into the penalty area where the midfielder surprisingly beat Hannover defender Mario Eggimann in the air with a header that went into the net. Schalke were rolling at this point, and it seemed likely that more goals were coming.
Hannover weren't allowing Schalke to find another goal and kept pressing for their own equalizer. In the 8th minute, Jan Schlaudraff made an excellent run into the Schalke penalty area. He played a low cross to Nikci who slid and deflected the ball past Hildebrand for the goal. Nikci had only been on the pitch for a few minutes before scoring.
With the draw, Hannover extend their unbeaten run at home in the league to 19 matches. They'll host Slask Wroclaw in the second leg of their Europa League tie on Thursday. Schalke will be slightly disappointed to not pick up all three points, but they know that a picking up a point in Hannover is a victory in itself.
Bas Dost scored the winning goal in the 90th minute to give Wolfsburg the 1-0 victory at the Mercedes Benz Arena over Stuttgart.
The majority of the first half was controlled by the visitors. They dominated the shot category, but they were never able to truly challenge Sven Ulreich in the Stuttgart goal. However, the best chance of the first half would go to Stuttgart.
William Kvist played a great through ball to Maza, and the centerback scored. The referee called it back due to the assistant referee holding his flag for offside. Replays would show that Serdar Tasci was offside, but Maza was onside.
The second half continued in much of the same. Wolfsburg controlled a lot of the match as they pushed for a goal. However, the best chance would again fall to Stuttgart. Cacau unleashed a right footed shot on the Wolfsburg goal but Diego Benaglio was there with a diving save.
Diego would come close to scoring a great goal for Wolfsburg, but Ulreich stretched out to his left for an outstanding save.
The referee would award a controversial penalty to Stuttgart after he judged Vedad Ibisevic to be fouled by Emanuel Pogatetz. Ibisevic stepped up to the spot, but Benaglio made the save on the shot. Ibisevic was quick to the rebound, but he put that shot into the stands.
Just minutes after the penalty miss, Dost rose above everyone to head home the winning goal from a Vieirinha cross. The celebrations began for Felix Magath's side as they picked up a huge win away from home to begin their campaign.
Eintracht Frankfurt marked their return to the Bundesliga with an impressive victory at home against Bayer Leverkusen. Stefan Aigner and Martin Lanig scored the goals for the hosts in the 2-1 victory.
Stefan Kießling nearly broke through for the visitors in the 26th minute when he was played in by Karim Bellarabi. Kevin Trapp made a brilliant foot save to keep the match scoreless. That wouldn't last for long. Four minutes later Kießling beat Trapp to a rebound from a Bellarabi shot. Leverkusen
Frankfurt couldn't stop getting in their own way as the first half continued, and they received no help from the referee. Leverkusen centerback Philipp Wollscheid went to head the ball back to Bernd Leno in the goal. The header was poor, and Alexander Meier picked it up and was one on one with Leno. The goalkeeper splayed out and caught Meier with his right foot. Meier went down for a sure penalty and red card to Leno, and the ball rolled out of play. The referee either didn't see the clear penalty, or he doesn't quite know what a penalty is. He pointed for a goal kick while the Frankfurt players protested.
Olivier Occean had two opportunities to equalize before the half, but he missed the target from close range both times.
The hosts finally found their deserved equalizer in the 57th minute thanks to Pirmin Schwegler. The captain made a great run with the ball up the left flank and played the ball into Takashi Inui. The Japanese midfielder saw his shot saved by Leno, but the ball went directly into the path of Aigner who quickly put it past sliding defenders into the net.
Frankfurt continued to push for a winner. In the 82nd minute substitute Stefano Celozzi played in a cross to Lanig who headed it past Leno for winner. The Leverkusen defense failed tremendously and left Lanig complete unmarked for an easy header.
Fortuna Düsseldorf made their return to the Bundesliga after a decade and a half a memorable one. It's hard to argue with a two goal victory and a clean sheet away from home.
The match was slow to build, and the first real chance for either side came after half an hour. Düsseldorf's Oliver Fink put a poor shot on target that was easily saved by Augsburg's Simon Jentzsch.
Dani Schahin picked up a second half brace to lead the Bundesliga's new arrivals to the road win. The first goal came in the 68th minute when he chipped the ball over Jentzsch in what is surely a contender for goal of the day. His second came ten minutes later when he beat Jentzsch to the near post.
This is definitely not the way that Augsburg wanted to start their second Bundesliga season. After their solid home record last season, an opening day loss to a newly promoted team was not in their plans. This was a match that they would've been counting on picking up all three points.
Hanno Balitsch was the hero on the day for Nürnberg as they picked up a big 1-0 victory on the road against Hamburg.
Nürnberg nearly struck first when Timothy Chandler forced a good save from new Hamburg goalkeeper Rene Adler. A few minutes later the action was at the other end when Raphael Schäfer saved a Heiko Westermann header.
Adler again came up huge at the end of the half saving Timm Klose's header and then the rebound attempt from Alexander Esswein.
The goal from Balitsch would come halfway through the second half. Per Nilsson powered a header off of the crossbar. Balitsch was in the right place at the right time and smashed the ball into the back of the net for the lead.
Hamburg had two great opportunities to score the equalizer but failed at both. Westermann saw another header saved onto the post, and Marcell Jansen's stoppage time header struck the crossbar.
Freiburg and Mainz played to a 1-1 draw in their opening match of the 2012-13 Bundesliga campaign.
Mainz played well in the first half, but they were unable to scored. Nicolai Müller missed the target completely, and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting saw his shot cleared off of the line.
Freiburg struck just after halftime thanks to Max Kruse. Karim Guede played a ball over the top to Kruse, and he beat Christian Wetklo to give the hosts the 1-0 lead.
Mainz leveled the score in the 65th minute from the penalty spot. Julian Schuster brought down Müller in the area. Andreas Ivanschitz converted for the visitors.
Kruse nearly put Freiburg ahead as the match wore down, but his header was off the mark. Wetklo was active in the last five minutes making saves on Jonathan Schmid and Schuster. The referee finally blew the whistle giving the visitors a good road point.
It was the Juan Arango show at Borussia Park as the Venezuelan midfielder led Borussia Mönchengladbach to a 2-1 victory over Hoffenheim.
After a rather dull first half hour, newcomer Granit Xhaka earned a free kick inside the Hoffenheim half. Arango played a pinpoint cross with his kick, and it found the head of Mike Hanke. The placement was perfect with the ball heading to the bottom corner of the net leaving Tim Wiese no chance.
Hoffenheim began to push forward out of the back looking for an equalizer. They found it in the 66th minute when Roberto Firmino headed the ball past Marc-André ter Stegen. Hoffenheim continued to attack and nearly took the lead on two different occasions thanks to Takashi Usami and Eren Derdiyok, but ter Stegen denied both players.
Just like in the first half, Xhaka drew another free kick deep inside Hoffenheim territory. Arango stepped up to take another free kick. The crowd erupted moments later when Arango's left footed blast found it's way into the top corner of the net.
The win is huge for Gladbach before their midweek visit to Dynamo Kyiv in the UEFA Champions League.
It may have taken Bayern Munich a while to get going, but they finally broke down a resolute Greuther Fürth side making their Bundesliga debut. Goals from Thomas Müller, Mario Mandzukic, and an own goal saw Bayern to their opening day 3-0 victory.
Bayern finally found their goal in the 43rd minute. Xherdan Shaqiri swing in a corner kick, and Dante rose to head it on target. The ball was cleared off of the line and ended up at the feet of Müller. The midfielder poked the ball past Max Grün to give the visitors their lead.
The visitors doubled their lead in the 59th minute thanks to Mandzukic. Shaqiri played Arjen Robben in past the back line. Grün saved his right footed shot, but Mandzukic was on hand to head home the rebound. The goal is the Croatian internationals fourth in three competitive games for the Bavarians.
Things went from bad to worse for Fürth in the 79th minute. Bayern pressed their attack, and Robben's shot deflected off of Bernd Nehrig. Grün was beaten by the deflection, and the score was 3-0.
Borussia Dortmund started their title defense with a 2-1 win Friday night. Thomas Schaaf brought his retooled Werder Bremen side to the Westfalenstadion in Dortmund and showed that they're going to be better than many thought this season, but they just weren't good enough to defeat the champions in their house on opening night.
BVB came out flying in the opening minutes of the match. Their passing was crisp and precise, and it seemed they were going to break down the Bremen defense at any moment. That moment came in the 11th minute when Jakub Blaszczykowski threaded a pass through the defense and Reus scored to make it 1-0. The shot from Reus was very impressive as he was running across the face of goal to the right and had the presence of mind to shoot the ball across his body in the direction that he came. Bremen goalkeeper Sebastian Mielitz stood no chance as the ball rolled past him and tucked into the far post.
Bremen's attack seemed to struggle to put together many passes aside from Aaron Hunt. The midfielder was consistently finding Eljero Elia on the left wing. The former Hamburg man was causing problems for BVB right back Oliver Kirch who was starting in place of an injured Lukasz Piszczek. In the 18th minute, Elia should have scored the equalizer when Hunt played him in and Elia was one on one with Roman Weidenfeller. Elia put his shot on target, but it was right at Weidenfeller for an easy save.
The visitors continued to press forward and Marko Arnautovic saw his shot slam off the post. They were, however, caught out by BVB's counter often for the remainder of the half. Bremen left back Aleksandar Ignjovski had a rough outing in the first half. He was caught horribly out of position on Reus' goal, and he drew a yellow card for a cynical foul just outside of his own penalty area after being beaten by Reus. The following free kick was right at Mielitz. The play balanced out as the half concluded, and Bremen considered themselves unlucky to not have found a goal in the half.
Both teams came out fairly cautious in the early second half in an attempt to not concede an early goal. Ilkay Gündogan seemed to be everywhere in the BVB midfield until he was subbed out after 70 minutes. His link up play between the back line and the front four was solid today, and he started many of the BVB attacks with a great pass opening up play.
Bremen began to press more and more for the equalizer as the second half moved forward. They earned a corner in the 75th minute and finally found the goal. Arnautovic played in a cross and right back Theodor Gebre Selassie lept over everyone and headed it past Weidenfeller to make it 1-1. The goal was deserved for Bremen as they really came to life as the half wore on, and it seemed like it would only be a matter of time before they grabbed the goal.
Jürgen Klopp wasted no time making a substitution bringing on Mario Götze for Kevin Großkreutz who was fairly non-existent in this match for BVB. Götze is still recovering to full fitness, but it didn't take him long to prove why he's a starter in this side. Götze received a pass from Robert Lewandowski and beat Mielitz to re-establish the BVB lead in the 81st minute. The hosts would spend the rest of the match peppering the Bremen goal with shots for the remaining few minutes.
Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen kick off the Bundesliga season on Friday.
Borussia Dortmund kick off the campaign for their third straight Bundesliga title.