Aug 11, 2013, 3:41 PM EST
Three years ago, Borussia Dortmund weren’t even in Europe. Two years before that, Wolfsburg won Germany’s title. Still, over the last two years, there’s been an increased willingness to paint the German Bundesliga with the same brush we do most European leagues, trying to reduce everything to a couple of haves and a litany of have-nots. While the success of Bayern Munich and Dortmund led to some minor La Liga-fication of the circuit, we need more evidence before saying the Bundesliga’s set to join the likes of Spain, Portugal, Ukraine, the Netherlands, and potentially France (thanks, Monaco) in their big two dynamics.
That said, the first match day of the Bundesliga season won’t do anything to quiet that speculation. Both of last year’s Champions League finalists strolled to easy opening weekend wins, and while they weren’t the only ones in Germany to post convincing results on the season’s first match day, there’s nicely confirm any bias that this German campaign will be decided by the league’s current big two.
Friday’s opening by Bayern Munich doesn’t look like a big win on paper, the defending champions “only” posting a two-goal win over visiting Broussia Moenchengladbach, but the manner in which they did it was almost scary. Against a team that had given them problems on their two previous visits to the Allianz Arena, Bayern struck twice in the first 16 minutes. Although they gave one back before halftime, Dante’s own goal pulling Moenchengladbach within one, David Alaba’s mid-second half penalty kick sealed Bayern’s opening win. They more than doubled their opponents shots on goal (13-6) while holding 59 percent of possession, living up to the expectations of Pep Guardiola’s FCB debut.
A day later, Borussia Dortmund gave us reason to think they may be ready to put up a bigger challenge. Last year, Dortmund finished 25 points behind Bayern (notably, only one point ahead of third place Bayer Leverkusen). On Saturday, however, three goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the Gabonese attacker’s Bundesliga debut paved the way to a 4-0 victory at Ausburg, with Robert Lewandowski’s conversion from the spot sealing the game late.
Aubameyang’s stellar opener will temporarily quell doubts Mario Götze’s departure could derail Dortmund. If anything, people may be talking about the new dynamic he brings to the team. Whereas last year’s addition of Marco Reus from Moenchengladbach gave Jurgen Klopp a complement to play with Götze, Aubameyang provides the team a more out-and-out goalscorer, somebody who was thought to be the eventual successor to Lewandowski. That may still happen next summer, when the Polish international moves to Bayern, but in the interim, Aubameyang gives BVB a different look – somebody who may end up scoring more goals than either Reus or Götze provided last year.
After one week, Hertha Berlin sit top of the table, their 6-1 win over Eintracht Frankfurt proving a rousing return to the top flight. And like Bayern, Bayer Leverkusen also put up a 3-1 win at home, hinting they could again threaten the top two.
Yet three days into the Bundesliga season, the might of Bayern and Dortmund is evident. While that doesn’t necessarily confirm the idea Germany’s developed a Big Two scenario, it certainly doesn’t dispel the notion.
Dec 11, 2013, 4:47 PM EST
Brazilian star’s hat trick helps Barcelona rout Celtic, claim first in Group H.
Dec 11, 2013, 4:43 PM EST
One good club from Group F, a real heavyweight of a foursome, was bound to be odd team out on Wednesday as Champions League group play finished with a high-wire tension.
Dec 11, 2013, 3:32 PM EST
There’s more to “coaching discussions” right now in domestic soccer than those four MLS openings:
Dec 11, 2013, 2:31 PM EST
He keeps performing for “club” … but when it will translate to performance for “country?”
Dec 11, 2013, 2:15 PM EST
Hull chairman Assem Allam is ready to risk backlash with choice comments and a formal application for name change.
Dec 11, 2013, 1:45 PM EST
From East Coast goalkeeper to West Coast coach in under five hours.
Dec 11, 2013, 1:28 PM EST
Which venues will the USA be playing in next summer? We take an in-depth look at them, right here:
Dec 11, 2013, 1:12 PM EST
Next stop: politicians. David Beckham’s bid for a stadium in Miami is moving ahead.
Dec 11, 2013, 12:34 PM EST
New York City FC is on the verge of getting a palace in the Bronx.
Dec 11, 2013, 12:09 PM EST
What? Roy Keane back down from a fight? Sir Alex and Keano still bitter after all these years.
Dec 11, 2013, 11:33 AM EST
Dwyer suggested a transfer abroad was imminent, but has backtracked.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:54 AM EST
Longtime Revs keeper and Boston Marathon bombing hero retires with 75 clean sheets and 110 wins.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:15 AM EST
Former Inter star sends Juve down to the Europa League with help from Didier Drogba.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:00 AM EST
Who’s hot and who’s not? Check out how the sides stack up after a double dose of action last week:
Dec 11, 2013, 9:50 AM EST
Any takers on these three countries as potential upset-springers in Brazil?
Dec 11, 2013, 8:52 AM EST
Could Newcastle set a standard in offering exclusive access to paying media members?
Dec 11, 2013, 8:31 AM EST
Has Wayne Rooney rejected contract talks with Manchester United? Can a suitor pry Vincent Kompany from City? All this and more in Wednesday’s transfer rumor roundup.
Dec 11, 2013, 7:41 AM EST
Man City boss Manuel Pellegrini and goal scorer James Milner apparently in dark over UEFA Champions League tiebreaking rules.
Dec 10, 2013, 11:20 PM EST
Relax – the LA Galaxy and U.S. national team’s all-time leading scorer isn’t going anywhere:
Dec 10, 2013, 10:31 PM EST
So the New York Red Bulls’ top organizational man says wants Henry to consider another year after 2014, eh?
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