The 2019-20 Bundesliga season got underway last weekend, bringing plenty of goals and plenty of narratives.
Bayern Munich’s failings from last season were once again evident as they failed to turn possession into points as they were held to a draw by Hertha Berlin, while Borussia Dortmund once again opened an early lead for the title thanks to a 5-1 drubbing of relegation-candidates Augsburg. RB Leipzig started life under new head coach Julian Nagelsmann perfectly to round out the weekend in Sunday’s late fixture, setting up another entertaining weekend of football in Germany’s top flight.
Bundesliga Match of the Weekend: Schalke vs Bayern Munich
Schalke are another team with a new man in the dugout and already have more points after one game this season than they had after five games last time out. David Wagner took charge of his first league game in last Saturday’s late kick-off, earning a scoreless draw with Borussia Monchengladbach, and find themselves on television again this weekend at the same time. However, this game should prove more difficult despite being the home team, with Bayern Munich coming to town in search of their first win of the new campaign.
Bayern’s bench looked bare against Hertha in their opening game but should be much more dangerous following the additions of Philippe Coutinho and Mickael Cuisance on Saturday, while Ivan Perisic is now available after missing out through suspension. Coutinho may not be up to full fitness to start, but Perisic could be in line to get the nod at left-wing with either Kingsley Coman or Serge Gnabry missing out on a place in the starting XI. Jonjoe Kenny impressed on his Schalke debut, having joined on loan from Everton, and will be the full-back tasked with stopping Perisic or Coman. Goalkeeper Alexander Nubel kept a clean sheet in his first game of the season but will be eagerly watched by both sets of fans this weekend with his contract set to expire next summer and Bayern Munich already being touted as a possible destination.
Rest of the Weekend
Koln and Borussia Dortmund kick off things on Friday with the newly-promoted hosts coming off the back of a defeat to Wolfsburg. BVB, on the other hand, are full of confidence and Paco Alcacer should be set to start again upfront following his two-goal tally on the opening weekend. Jadon Sancho bagged a goal and an assist in that clash, while Julian Brandt made a case for starting with a goal from the bench.
Hoffenheim and Werder Bremen both lost on the opening day of the season, with TSG in transition following the departure of their coach and many key players. Diadie Samassekou was signed from Red Bull Salzburg and has been touted as the next Naby Keita. Milot Rashica’s injury is a huge blow for Werder Bremen, who may be forced to start Johannes Eggestein once again.
Mainz vs Monchengladbach will probably not be a hugely entertaining game for the neutrals as Marco Rose gets to grips with his new team. Marcus Thuram went close to scoring on his debut and could be one to watch this weekend alongside Alassane Plea in attack.
Paderborn had a difficult first fixture, but despite playing at a higher level than last season, kept their attacking mindset and scored twice against Bayer Leverkusen. There could be goals again this weekend as they host Freiburg, whose forward Gian-Luca Waldschmidt has already opened his account for 19-20.
Augsburg against Union Berlin could be an early-season six-pointer as both teams are tipped to have poor seasons. Between them, they conceded nine goals on matchday one, so this could be a very tense affair.
USMNT goalkeeper Zack Steffen was Fortuna Dusseldorf’s hero as they beat Werder Bremen and the Man City loanee could get plenty of action again with the visit of Bayer Leverkusen. Peter Bosz’s side are all attack, all the time, and already have seen Leon Bailey, Kai Havertz, and Kevin Volland find the net.
Due to their involvement in the Europa League qualifying campaign, Eintracht Frankfurt are playing their games on Sundays and head to RB Leipzig in the early game on August 25. Ante Rebic started up front on week one, but Goncalo Paciencia is in contention to start this weekend after they needed a goal from centre-back Martin Hinteregger to beat Hoffenheim. Timo Werner’s future has not yet been decided at Leipzig, but he’s always a threat in front of goal, especially against an Eintracht side who played midweek in Europe.
Hertha Berlin and Wolfsburg finish up the weekend with both teams on the back of good results. Wolfsburg defeated Koln with last season’s top scorer Wout Weghorst on target, while Hertha were deserving of their draw with Bayern. Marko Grujic scored before giving away a penalty and will be a central figure once again.
Bundesliga Player to Watch: Dodi Lukebakio vs Wolfsburg (£0.94)
Dodi Lukebakio is Schalke’s record signing but has already shown why the Royal Blues paid €20 million to bring him in from Watford. The Belgian striker impressed on loan at Fortuna Dusseldorf last season with 10 Bundesliga goals, seeing his price rise to nearly a pound on Football Index. He is on target to exceed last season’s goal tally thanks to his opening day strike against Bayern Munich. He was taken off after 68 minutes, but improving fitness should see him play more against Wolfsburg, where his killer instinct can help him find the net once more.