German Bundesliga, Week 1: Borussia Monchengladbach Upset Bayern Munich 1-0

Schalke 04 are off to a poor start just like last season, falling 3-0 to Stuttgart. Elsewhere, Felix Magath's Wolfsburg picked up a win, along with Hannover 96, where Steve Cherundolo sat out with an injury.

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Bayern Munich Vs. Borussia Monchengladbach: Manuel Neuer Mistake Costs Bayern

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 Vs. Borussia Monchengladbach: Halftime 0-0: Bend But Don't Break Defense

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 Defeats Bayer Leverkusen 2-0, Sami Allagui Is Fantastic

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.


Hertha Berlin Vs. FC Nürnberg: Full Time, Visitors Spoil Hertha's Bundesliga Debut With 1-0 Win

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.


Stuttgart Defeat Schalke, Wolfsburg Win In Early Saturday Bundesliga Matches

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. 


Borussia Dortmund Vs. Hamburg SV: Full Time, Der BVB Impress In 3-1 Victory

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.

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