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Looking Around the League: Fresh Faces & Optimism Abound

The Bundesliga kicked off this weekend with one eight-goal thriller and three five-goal thrillers. Embrace the chaos!

VfL Wolfsburg - 1. FC Heidenheim Photo by Swen Pförtner/picture alliance via Getty Images

The Bundesliga is back, and with it, we return to our regular roundups of all the action from the weekend’s games, all neatly packaged up with my charming, intellectual brand of fence-sitting punditry. Here you are enjoying my latest funny little quip about not overreacting to low-event outcomes that have a high degree of random chance:

So the season opened with a (somewhat unsurprising) statement by the permanent champions, Bayern Munich. Harry Kane made his full debut against Werder Bremen, and while the score does flatter Bayern’s performance a little, it was a demonstration of everything that makes Kane such a menace. He set Sané up for the opener, before scoring Bayern’s second when he capitalised on some poor defending with a really nice finish. It’s not fun. We are not having fun.

Elsewhere, Heidenheim and Darmstadt were welcomed to the league with tough matches away to Wolfsburg and Frankfurt, respectively. Despite being matched up against two of the stronger teams in the league, both of the newly-promoted sides gave solid accounts of themselves. They were beaten, but not embarrassed. Hopefully they will be competitive this season.

Here’s how the opening weekend of the Bundesliga season played out:


Werder Bremen 0-4 Bayern Munich

Augsburg 4-4 Borussia Monchengladbach

Bayer Leverkusen 3-2 RB Leipzig

Hoffenheim 1-2 Freiburg

VfB Stuttgart 5-0 VfL Bochum

Wolfsburg 2-0 Heidenheim

Borussia Dortmund 1-0 FC Köln

Union Berlin 4-1 Mainz

Frankfurt 1-0 Darmstadt


Bayer Leverkusen Take First Big Win of the Season

The first game of the season is an opportunity for everyone to use only 90 minutes of football to weave an incredibly elaborate nonsense story about the fortunes or failures of whoever they like. Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig are perfect candidates, coming into the new Bundesliga season having done some tremendous business in the summer, before facing off against each other to start their league campaigns.

In the first big clash between two of the league’s best teams, Bayer Leverkusen came out with the edge, winning 3-2 in a back and forth affair against the East Germans.

Interestingly, despite the game spiraling into a five-goal thriller that Leverkusen won, the xG for the game suggests that Leipzig were the slightly better team with 1.6 expected goals versus Leverkusen’s 1.4 (though a difference of .2 xG is probably more or less meaningless).

Bayer Leverkusen and RB Leipzig have been tipped for success this season, with both being predicted to make the top four by several of the FTW writers in our recent Bundesliga predictions roundtable. Opta have even gone as far as to back Leipzig to finish above BVB this season (with Leverkusen in fourth). It certainly seems like there are plenty of goals in both teams!

Your Thoughts?

Who most impressed you in the opening weekend of the Bundesliga season?