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Borussia Mönchengladbach capitalized on their only opportunity of the second half and defeated Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena 1-0. The victory in Munich is only the second ever for Gladbach.
The goal was scored when Gladbach defender Roel Brouwers played a long ball over the top to Igor de Camargo. Bayern defender Jerome Boateng failed in his attempts to shield Camargo from the ball. The forward beat goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to the ball, and it trickled into the back of the net. Neuer's failed punch attempt is more glaring because he was at the very top of his penalty area and had no shot at reaching the ball.
Bayern completely dominated the match, but they could never find that moment of brilliance to get the ball past Marc-André ter Stegen. The performance of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery left a lot to be desired. Both were ineffective and struggled to get anything going.
Gladbach was content to bunker in front of their goal and launch counterattacks when they could. Dante and Brouwers were excellent in the center of defense not allowing the Bayern crosses to find their targets. Ter Stegen was up to every challenge presented making several great saves to keep his side on front.
The boos reigned down from the stands at the Bayern performance. If they want any shot at winning the championship this season, they have to start winning matches beginning next week.
Bayern Munich spent the entire first half banging on the locked door of the Borussia Mönchengladbach defense. They haven't been able to find the final pass to unlock the door to the goal.
Thomas Müller had an excellent first half constantly running at Filip Daems and Roel Brouwers. Nothing ever came of all his running as he was unable to find anyone open once he made his way into the penalty area. Arjen Robben's only real contribution of the half was a shot that flew out of the Allianz Arena and just landed in New York City. Mario Gomez has been silent, but the lack of any type of service to him has been the issue. Toni Kroos has been pretty good, but he (or more likely the ineffective Robben) might need to be sacrificed to get Franck Ribery on to the pitch.
For Gladbach, the defensive effort has been excellent. They haven't given up many dangerous free kicks and have turned Bayern away at every opportunity so far. Juan Arango created the best chance of the match in the first half forcing Manuel Neuer to make a spectacular save on a shot with the outside of his foot. Marco Reus has been one of the most dangerous players on the pitch all throughout the first half. Reus is an excellent player, and he could easily sneak one past Neuer into the Bayern net.
Speaking of Neuer, you see how excellent his distribution is when he catches a corner kick and then throws the ball to midfield to launch a counter attack.
Bayern is going to have to be far more clinical in the second half to break down this Gladbach defense.It's just a matter of one of them kicking the door in to do it.
Mainz carried their first half performance into the second half and never appeared in too much trouble as they defeated Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga debut of the Coface Arena.
Sami Allagui was excellent keeping the Leverkusen defense on their back foot all match long. He scored the opener in the first half and nearly doubled his lead in the second half, but his touch let him down and the ball went over the line for a goalkick. A few solid, if not spectacular, saves by Leverkusen goalkeeper Fabian Giefer kept Allagui from adding one of two additional goals to his tally.
Mainz were rewarded for their play in the 86th minute when Leverkusen defender Ömer Toprak slid to block a cross and ended up putting the ball into his own net.
Giefer really settled down in the second and made a few excellent saves to keep his side in the match. He will rightly be criticized for his gaffe in the first half, but his strong second half performance will give supporter's hope for the period of time until Rene Adler returns.
On the whole the Leverkusen performance, especially offensively, deserves to be looked at with criticism. In the second half they rarely ventured into the Mainz half of the field and threatened their goal. Mainz must be credited for a solid defensive performance by pressing Andre Schürrle and Renato Augusto not allowing them much room to operate. Augusto in particular was very quiet in this match. He really only came to attention when he received a yellow in the first a half and when he was substituted toward the end of the match for Stefan Kießling.
Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach are set to begin their Bundesliga campaigns today in the Allianz Arena.
Bayern enter the match with a clear goal from beginning: win. There's no question about it they are the better side and are one of the favorites to win the Bundesliga this season. A win at home against 'Gladbach is mandatory. For 'Gladbach, while a win would be excellent, it's more of a "Put in a good performance" kind of day. They'll likely be fighting the drop at the end of the season, so any victory (Actual victory or moral victory) against Bayern on opening day is worth taking.
Both Bayern wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery have been declared fit for the match after recovering from injuries. Robben will start the match while Ribery will be a substitute. Goalkeeper Manual Neuer was also suffering from some kind of stomach ailment, but he has been declared fit to start.
American fans will be interested in the fact that Michael Bradley is not in the 18. This coincides with reports this week that he wants to leave and manager Lucien Favre does not have him in his plans.
Bayern Munich: Neuer; Lahm, Badstuber, Boateng, Rafinha; Gustavo, Schweinsteiger; Robben, Kroos, Müller; Gomez
Subs: Butt, Ribery, van Buyten, Tymoshchuk, Petersen, Alaba, Usami
Borussia Mönchengladbach: ter Stegen; Daems, Dante, Brouwers, Jantschke; Neustädter, Nordtveit; Arango, Rues; Hanke, de Camargo
Subs: Heimeroth, Marx, Wendt, Bobadilla, Herrmann, Rupp, Leckie
When Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper went down with an injury and was scheduled to miss a few months, manager Robin Dutt named David Yelldell his starter. Yelldell was purchased this summer from Duisburg to be an experienced back up for Adler. The fans wanted 21 year old Fabian Giefer in goal. They demanded it. After the club's epic collapse against Bayer Leverkusen last week in the DFB Pokal, Dutt yielded to public pressure and went with Giefer. The move backfired today in "goal costing" fashion.
Giefer received a simple back pass in the 32nd minute and played the ball out wide. He miss-kicked however, and Mainz's Sami Allagui was quick to receive his error and put it in the back of the Leverkusen net to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Mainz seems destined to finish low mid-table and possibly even slipping into the relegation battle, so a victory on opening day against Leverkusen would be huge for their confidence moving forward. If Leverkusen do lose here, I think Robin Dutt's decision making will have to be questioned moving forward. How early do we start the "Leader of the Sack Race" list?
Nürnberg didn't play the prettiest brand of football against Hertha Berlin at the Olympic Stadium on Saturday afternoon, but they played a hard-working and physical enough style to deny Hertha and create one goal for themselves, as they won 1-0.
The hosts were looking for a great return to the Bundesliga in front of a massive crowd in Berlin, but based on their performance Saturday they will do well to simply stay in the league. They were respectable defensively and looked threatening on set pieces on a couple of occasions, but offered very little going forward with the run of play.
Tomas Pekhart was the man who scored the winner, netting a goal on his debut. The former Tottenham Hotspur, Baumit Jablonec and Sparta Prague man was a stunning youth prospect who has yet to live up to his promise at the senior level, but a debut goal is certainly a good sign for the towering Czech Republic international. Jens Hegeler was the man who created the chance, getting to the byline before cutting the ball back for Pekhart, who finished. The winner was not without controversy, though, as Hegeler was extremely close to taking the ball over the endline before hitting his pass.
Both teams have a lot of work left to do to achieve their goals in the Bundesliga this season, but Nürnberg will be happy with their three points. Oh, and a bit of a note for fans of the United States: Timmy Chandler, who was pulled out of the USMNT squad with an 'injury', ran about 10 kilometers today. Including an 80 meter sprint in stoppage time. Make of that what you will.
So much for a resurgence and a title challenge for Schalke 04. They're off to an absolutely nightmare start in the Bundesliga, falling 3-0 today to VFB Stuttgart. Ralf Rangnick opted to use Raul in a deeper position - basically in the midfield - and that move backfired spectacularly. Additionally, Ralf Fährmann, though he was not fully at fault for any of the goals, did not exactly look the part of a Manuel Neuer replacement.
'Maza' Fransisco Rodriguez had an absolutely brilliant debut for Stuttgart, and his partnership with Serdar Tasci could be an excellent one this season, finally aiding Stuttgart's defensive woes. Schalke don't look the part of a European contender at all, and the 3-0 scoreline is an accurate reflection of what happened on the pitch.
Elsewhere, Felix Magath got off to a good start with Wolfsburg, Augsburg got off to a good start in the Bundesliga, and Hannover won without their captain.
VFB Stuttgart 3-0 Schalke 04
Goals by Cacao (though it might get changed to Maza's goal), Martin Harnik and Shinji Okazaki. The final goal, Okazaki's, was an absolute cracker of a strike from 25 yards out that beat Fährmann easily.
FC Augsburg 2-2 SC Freiburg
With both teams likely involved in the relegation battle this season, this match was a key fixture despite the fact that it took place in Week 1. Papiss Djemba Cisse opened the scoring in the 48th minute and Sascha Mölders answered with a goal of his own in the 54th. Cedric Makiandi answered instantly in the 55th with what appeared to be the winner, but Mölders completed his brace in the 81st, leveling the match and scoring a credible draw for Augsburg in their Bundesliga debut.
FC Cologne 0-3 VFL Wolfsburg
How a team with both Lukas Podolski and Milivoje Novakovic can be so incredibly poor is one of the great mysteries of science. Patrick Helmes - one of the great bargain signings of last January's transfer window - scored the opener on the 17th minute. Novakovic got sent off int he 80th and the flood gates opened as a result. Marcel Schäfer scored in the 85th and Helmes added a second goal in stoppage time.
Hannover 96 2-1 Hoffenheim
Due to a nagging injury that he hasn't quite been able to shake off completely, Hannover captain and USA international Steve Cherundolo sat on the bench for this match. His team ultimately wouldn't need him as they won 2-0. Jan Schlaudraff scored the game's only goal from open play for Hannover, while Mohammed Abdellaoue and Sejad Salihovic netted penalties for their respective teams.
Werder Bremen 2-0 Kaiserslautern
After a disappointing first half, Werder came alive in the second with two goals from Markus Rosenburg. The first was a solo effort, while the second was an assist from substitute Wesley. How Wesley does not get into Werder's starting XI is beyond comprehension.
There is one match remaining on Saturday, Hertha Berlin vs. Nuremburg.
Nuri Sahin has been solid, Lucas Barrios is injured and Jakub Blaszczykowski has been dropped to the bench. Yet, surprisingly, Borussia Dortmund look like the exact same team as last season. Without three of the biggest stars in the Bundesliga, der BVB played the exact same exciting and dominant football, running over Hamburg SV en route to a 3-1 win in which the score doesn't tell the story.
Dortmund were truly dominant from the first whistle until around 10 minutes from the end of the game, when they let their guard down with a 3-0 lead and HSV mounting little challenge. It was a complete team performance, and they were just as dominant at the back as they were creative and ruthless up top.
Kevin Grosskreutz scored the opener, thanks to a fantastic setup by Robert Lewandowski and Mario Götze. In the 17th minute, HSV lost possession and were caught out, as the attacking players of BVB got them into a three-on-two break. The three players combined with Götze eventually setting up an unmarked Grosskreutz, who hit a powerful left-footed shot into the back of the net.
The second came in the 29th minute, and it was an absolute beauty. Receiving the ball at his feet with his back to goal, Lewendowski hit a backheel with his first touch for Götze to run onto and he finished easily, doubling his team's lead. They went into halftime with a 2-0 lead, and wouldn't relinquish it.
It took just two minutes after the start of the second half for Dortmund to put the game to bed, as Grosskreutz completed a brace in the 47th minute, set up by Götze. They let off the gas a bit from then on, letting Hamburg score a goal in the 79th as Robert Tesche finished off of a set piece, but it was merely a consolation goal. HSV were never in the match and should feel lucky that their hosts did not score six or seven times.
And now this match has gotten well and truly embarrassing. Borussia Dortmund are completely bulldozing Hamburg SV, as they're now leading by a score of 3-0. They haven't let off the gas at all after the halftime whistle, and HSV don't look like they know what's hit them. It's been a brilliant performance from every single player so far for BVB, and Kevin Grosskreutz has added another goal to put this game completely beyond doubt.
Though Grosskreutz provided the finish, the conduit for the goal was once again the brilliance of 18-year-old rising superstar Mario Götze, who has BVB supporters asking 'Nuri who?' after just over 45 minutes of the new season. In the 47th minute, he played a give-and-go with Grosskreutz, beating two defenders before laying the ball back to his teammate. Grosskreutz's first shot was saved, but he pounced on the rebound and put it into the back of the net, putting his team up 3-0 and netting himself a brace.
Though they could easily have six goals at this point, Borussia Dortmund will be happy to walk into halftime of the Bundesliga's opening fixture with a 2-0 lead over Hamburg SV. Der BVB have been absolutely dominant thus far, completely controlling the opening 45 minutes of the match. Mario Götze and Kevin Grosskreutz were the goal scorers, but the lead and the dominant performance has been a complete team effort.
Robert Lewandowski, starting for the injured Lucas Barrios, has been arguably the most important man on the pitch thus far for Dortmund. His off the ball movement and his ability to distribute to his teammates in the midfield has been fantastic, as evidenced by the fact that he helped set up the first goal, assisting the second. The first was a simple touch to Götze, who assisted Grosskreutz in the 17th minute, while the second was a brilliant, jaw-dropping backheel to Götze in the 29th minute.
Shinji Kagawa has also been fantastic, and it's stunning that his play is yet to be rewarded with a goal or an assist. He's had three great shooting opportunities go just wide, with one smacking off the post just shortly after Götze's opener. The entire front four for Dortmund appears to be in mid-season form, and Hamburg haven't made the progression from preseason to Bundesliga speed.
Borussia Dortmund are looking so beautiful and so dominant through half an hour against Hamburg SV, the announcers on the American feed of the match can't help but compare them to Barcelona. They're now up on HSV by a score of 2-0, and they could easily have five or six at this point. They've been absolutely stellar, both on the counter-attack and through build-up play, and thanks to a goal by Mario Götze their lead has been doubled.
Though Götze's run and finish were absolutely fantastic, striker Robert Lewandowski deserves much of the credit for the goal. Receiving a pass into his feet, with his back to goal, Lewandowski played an absolutely brilliant first touch backheel into the path of Götze, who placed the ball past Jaroslov Drobny into the back of the net with a composed finish.
The attack has been brilliant for Dortmund, but their defense and holding midfielder Sven Bender are simply dominant at the moment. Hamburg cannot build an attack to save their lives, and they are by no means a poor squad.
It looks as if Borussia Dortmund haven't missed a beat in the offseason. After just 17 minutes of play, Der BVB lead Hamburg SV by a score of 1-0, thanks to a fantastically engineered counter-attack. Nuri Sahin is gone and Lucas Barrios is injured, but Robert Lewandowski and Ilkay Gündogan have filled in nicely, helping to start the attack that set up Kevin Grosskreutz for a fantastic goal.
That goal had seemed like it was coming for quite some time, as Dortmund began to control the game. The opening eight or so minutes were sloppy, but once Dortmund settled down they started to look like the far superior side.
In the 17th minute, Dortmund got out on the break after Hamburg lost possession, and the visiting side were completely caught out. Mario Götze, Lewandowski and Grosskreutz broke out on a three-on-two, with the left winger and eventual goal-scorer left unmarked. Lewandowski centered the ball from the right towards Götze, and the youngster laid off the ball to Grosskreutz, who placed a fantastic left-footed finish into the back of the net at the far post. BVB are looking incredibly confident, and it would take a major change in this match for them to relinquish control. They appear to be the far superior side.
The German Bundesliga is the first of Europe's big four leagues to kick off their season, as defending champions Borussia Dortmund host Hamburg SV in the season opener. Dortmund lost Nuri Sahin over the summer, but they still have a roster that makes them title contenders. Both teams had major players unfortunately bow out with injury or illness just before the game. Dortmund central defender Neven Subotic picked up a muscle injury in warmups and will not be starting, while young Korean star Son Heung-Min will miss the game for Hamburg due to illness. Here are the lineups.
Borussia Dortmund lineup (4-2-3-1): Weidenfeller; Piszczek, Santana, Hummels, Löwe; Gündogan, Bender; Götze, Kagawa, Großkreutz; Lewandowski
Hamburg SV lineup (4-2-3-1): Drobny; Diekmeier, Mancienne, Westermann, Aogo; Rincón, Kaca; Töre, Guerrero, Elia; Petric
The only major surprise in either lineup is that Paolo Guerrero has been preferred to David Jarolim for HSV. Lucas Barrios is not completely fit after his Copa America campaign with Paraguay, which is why Robert Lewandowski starts for Dortmund. It's a slight surprise that Jürgen Klopp didn't have a place for 'Kuba' Jakub Blaszczykowski in his lineup, but that could be due to fitness and not a tactical or form preference.
Borussia Dortmund vs. Hamburg SV kicks off at 2:30 pm ET and can be seen on GolTV in the USA.
The 2011-2012 German Bundesliga season kicks off with Borussia Dortmund beginning their defense at the Westfalenstadion against Hamburg. Schalke travel to Stuttgart and Bayern München host Borussia Mönchengladbach to end the weekend.
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