Kevin-Prince Boateng made his Schalke debut against Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday as the Royal Blues looked to enter the international break with a victory following a difficult start to their Bundesliga campaign.
Hamburg, whose manager’s job depended on a win at home to Braunschweig, were also in action on Saturday, and there were additional matches in Hannover, Wolfsburg, Nurnberg and Monchengladbach.
Following is a tour of the weekend’s matches in the German top flight, beginning at Borussia-Park, where hosts Monchengladbach entertained Werder Bremen.
(All statistics courtesy WhoScored.com.)
Borussia Monchengladbach bounced back from a 4-2 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen with a 4-1 win against Werder Bremen on Saturday.
Juan Arango opened the scoring with nine minutes remaining in the opening period when his left-footed shot from in close beat Bremen goalkeeper Sebastian Mielitz, and while the two sides went back down the tunnel with little between them, it was the hosts who came out on fire after the restart.
The first half also saw Eljero Elia replaced by former Wigan attacker Franco Di Santo due to injury.
It took only eight minutes for Monchengladbach to double their lead in the second period—Raffael beating Mielitz from about the same spot as Arango.
An own-goal by Monchengladbach’s Havard Nordtveit seemed to throw Bremen a lifeline in the 69th minute, but just five minutes later Max Kruse had restored Monchengladbach’s two-goal lead and Patrick Herrmann rounded out the scoring with five minutes remaining after linking up with Kruse on the counter-attack.
Shots: Borussia Monchengladbach 20-10 Werder Bremen
Passing: Borussia Monchengladbach 88%-86% Werder Bremen
Possession: Borussia Monchengladbach 59%-41% Werder Bremen
Nurnberg will remain winless heading into the international break while Augsburg’s 1-0 win at Grundig-Stadion was their second victory on the bounce.
Although they left it very late.
The guests began the match well, getting early chances from Halil Altintop and Raphael Holzhauser, and in the 18th minute Andre Hahn’s header was saved well by Nurnberg goalkeeper Raphael Schafer.
Nurnberg settled in to finish the second half strongly, but after the restart it was Augsburg who once again looked the more likely side to score—Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker’s header floating just to Schafer’s right in the 48th minute.
Nurnberg’s Per Nilsson came close to opening the scoring midway through the second period after connecting with Hiroshi Kiyotake’s ball, but his effort went just wide from in close.
Finally, in the 84th minute, Augsburg’s Kevin Vogt broke the deadlock with a rising shot from Schafer’s left that flew into the roof of the goal.
Shots: Nurnberg 7-24 Augsburg
Passing: Nurnberg 76%-76% Augsburg
Possession: Nurnberg 52%-48% Augsburg
Some of Saturday’s best action was to be found at HDI-Arena, where hosts Hannover overcame an early deficit to beat high-flying Mainz 4-1.
Coming off a 2-1 win over Schalke, Hannover quickly found themselves trailing by a goal when Nicolai Muller beat goalkeeper Ron-Robert Zieler from near the penalty spot after accepting Zdenek Pospech’s pass.
Mainz nearly doubled their lead in the 19th minute when Johannes Geis’ shot went just wide of goal, but 11 minutes later Hannover had restored level terms thanks to Mame Biram Diouf, whose header from in close left ‘keeper Heinz Muller with no chance.
Six minutes later the hosts were in front, Artur Sobiech's header finding the top left corner following Lars Stindl’s cross.
Hannover would add two more goals in quick succession late in the second half.
Didier Ya Konan got the first in the 80th minute after connecting with Leonardo Bittencourt on the counter-attack and Edgar Prib rounded out the scoring two minutes later with a hard, left-footed shot into top of the net.
Shots: Hannover 16-13 Mainz
Passing: Hannover 77%-86% Mainz
Possession: Hannover 45%-55% Mainz
After opening the season with back-to-back losses, Wolfsburg won their second match on the bounce, Saturday, when they beat Hertha Berlin 2-0 at Volkswagen Arena.
Hertha’s Sami Allagui came close to finding the back of the net after only two minutes when he turned Anis Ben-Hatira’s cross over the bar, but from there Wolfsburg seem to settle comfortably and had a pair of early chances of their own through Ricardo Rodriguez and Ivan Perisic.
Midway through the first half, Fabian Lustenberger tested Wolfsburg goalkeeper Diego Benaglio, and on the stroke of the half-hour mark Hertha’s Adrian Ramos missed the target with a header from in close.
They later rued their wastefulness in front of goal.
With three minutes to play in the first half, Ivica Olic opened the scoring when he beat Thomas Kraft from near the penalty marker, and in the second minute of first-half stoppage time Diego converted a penalty after being brought down by John Anthony Brooks inside the area.
Ronny and Ramos each had late chances for Hertha Berlin in the second half, but by then Wolfsburg had done enough to head into the international break with six points from four rounds.
Shots: Wolfsburg 18-8 Hertha Berlin
Passing: Wolfsburg 86%-74% Hertha Berlin
Possession: Wolfsburg 65%-35% Hertha Berlin
Had Hamburg lost to promoted, winless Braunschweig and remained, themselves, winless heading into the international break, manager Thorsten Fink would almost certainly have lost his job.
As it turned out, the boss and his beleaguered players took their frustrations out on their guests, scoring twice on either side of the break to secure a 4-0 victory.
Rafael van der Vaart got things going after just seven minutes when he beat Braunschweig goalkeeper Daniel Davari with a left-footed shot from the centre of the 18-yard-box, and only 10 minutes later the hosts had doubled their lead thanks to Jacques Daogari, who blasted the ball into the roof of the net after accepting a pass from Maximilian Beister.
At this point Hamburg looked comfortable, but they would still have to wait until the 80th minute for their third goal and an additional element of insurance.
Once again it was Daogari involved, although this time he turned provider and fed the ball to Hakan Calhanoglu, who finished just inside the far post.
Calhanoglu completed his brace in the first minute of second-half stoppage time with an impressive free kick that found the top, left-hand corner of the goal.
Shots: Hamburg 26-17 Braunschweig
Passing: Hamburg 78%-67% Braunschweig
Possession: Hamburg 54%-46% Braunschweig
Schalke picked up their first win of the 2013-14 Bundesliga season, Saturday, beating Bayer Leverkusen in impressive fashion at Veltins-Arena.
The match also saw the debut of Kevin-Prince Boateng in the Royal Blue shirt—the Ghana international having been purchased for €15 million from AC Milan late in the week.
From the opening whistle it appeared as though the hosts were on a mission, and given their woeful start to the season and the growing pressure on manager Jens Keller, they had every reason to be motivated for the visit of unbeaten Leverkusen.
On the half-hour, Marco Hoger linked up with Jefferson Farfan to open the scoring, beating Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno to the bottom, right-hand corner of the goal from in close.
Farfan himself got on the scoresheet, the Peru forward converting from the penalty spot after being fouled inside the area by Emir Spahic.
Shots: Schalke 12-11 Bayer Leverkusen
Passing: Schalke 80%-80% Bayer Leverkusen
Possession: Schalke 49%-51% Bayer Leverkusen
Under new management, VfB Stuttgart blasted Hoffenheim 6-2 on Sunday behind Vedad Ibisevic's hat-trick.
Ibisevic scored in the 19th, 47th and 63rd minutes as Stuttgart tore apart Hoffenheim in new manager Thomas Schneider's first match in charge. Stuttgart appointed Schneider on Monday after three consecutive losses to start the season.
Alexandu Maxim scored twice for Stuttgart, converting in the 28th and 55th minutes. Antonio Rüdiger opened the scoring for the hosts in the 12th minute.
Kevin Volland pulled one back for Hoffenheim in the 26th minute, briefly making the score 2-1. Roberto Firminio added a consolation in second-half stoppage time.
On target: 7-3
Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored both goals as Borussia Dortmund maintained their 100 percent start to the season with a 2-1 victory at Eintracht Frankfurt on Sunday.
Mkhitaryan, signed from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer, scored the game's opening goal in the 10th minute, collecting a pass from Jakub Blaszczykowski in the box before finishing coolly at the far post.
Frankfurt equalized through Vaclav Kadlec in the 46th minute, before Mkhitaryan scored the stylish winner 10 minutes after the break. After collecting a pass from Kevin Großkreutz on the right, Mkhitaryan dribbled to the middle along the edge of the box and beat goalkeeper Kevin Trapp with a powerful left-footed shot.
On target: 4-8