The first few Bundesliga roundup articles often highlight those teams that have maintained a perfect or undefeated record, as we get a bit of an idea of what to expect from the season. You tend to get one or two unexpected early contenders that, through a combination of favourable schedules and some good performances to kick off their campaign, find themselves mixing it with the heavy hitters at the top of the table. Sure, those teams usually drop off as the season goes on, but it makes for an interesting few weeks as we get things going, wondering whether this will be the year that someone unexpected is able to get among the leading pack.
Well it took all of two weeks for Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund to push their way to the front of the queue, as the last remaining teams with perfect records, and already sitting top of the table in terms of goal difference too. BVB haven’t exactly looked convincing yet, but they’ve come away with six points from two games, against two teams that are, on paper at least, some of the toughest games on the Bundesliga schedule.
Meanwhile, for anyone hoping that Bayern might start the season struggling for goals or looking a little less ruthless in Robert Lewandowski’s absence, the opening fixtures of the Bundesliga have not been promising.
Bayern’s 2-0 win over Wolfsburg wasn’t the violent shellacking they gave Eintracht Frankfurt, to kick off the Bundesliga season, but it still looked very assured. With the likes of Sadio Mané, Thomas Müller, and Jamal Musiala all starting the season well, it’s already feeling inevitable that the Meisterschale will remain in Bavaria for another year
Freiburg 1-3 Borussia Dortmund
Leverkusen 1-2 Augsburg
Hertha Berlin 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
RB Leipzig 2-2 FC Köln
Hoffenheim 3-2 VfL Bochum
Werder Bremen 2-2 VfB Stuttgart
Schalke 2-2 Borussia Monchengladbach
Mainz 0-0 Union Berlin
Bayern Munich 2-0 Wolfsburg
RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen Off to Horrible Starts
Alongside Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, two teams that are generally expected to be fighting it out at the top of the table are RB Leipzig and Bayer Leverkusen. Since their promotion to the Bundesliga in 2015/16, RB Leipzig have finished outside the top four just once (finishing 6th in 2017/18), while in that same period, Bayer Leverkusen have only failed to make the top six once (finishing 12th in 2016/17), and have finished in the top four twice.
So it comes as some surprise that RB Leipzig have started the season with two draws, against Stuttgart and Köln, and sit in 11th place, while Bayer Leverkusen are currently bottom of the table! Even more shocking, neither side has managed to win a game yet this season. Leipzig have so far lost to Bayern Munich in the DFL-Supercup, before putting up two draws in the league, and Bayer Leverkusen have lost every single game they’ve played so far, against 3. Liga side Elversberg, BVB, and Augsburg.
For anyone that has read basically any of my opinions on anything at all, it probably comes as no surprise that I don’t think this really tells us anything. We shouldn’t draw conclusions from small sample sizes, and a sample size of just two games (three if we include the cup games both have played) is miniscule. That said, I do think there are some early warnings signs that all is not perfect, especially for RB Leipzig.
Leverkusen can probably consider themselves a little unlucky to be rooted to the bottom of the table after two games. Having given Dortmund a real run for their money in their opening fixture, Die Werkself were definitely the better team against Augsburg. Some great goalkeeping by Rafał Gikiewicz, a slightly questionable call on Augsburg’s winning goal, and a failure to convert more than one of their ten shots on target, saw Leverkusen take nothing away from a game they should have won. They will need to find a way to turn these games into wins if they are to compete for the top four again this season.
Meanwhile, Leipzig have had little trouble scoring goals so far this season, averaging two goals a game in their opening three fixtures. The problem for Die Rotten Clubben is that they’ve also conceded an average of 2.7 goals. RB Leipzig have built their reputation on high intensity, high pressure football that produces a lot of good offensive looks, while ensuring a really impressive defensive stability. While it is far too early to be calling their season a bust or anything, they have looked much more defensively vulnerable than usual.
Are either RB Leipzig or Bayer Leverkusen going to struggle this season, or is this just an early blip before another strong campaign? And which team has impressed you most in the opening fixtures of the Bundesliga campaign?