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Winners and Losers from Bundesliga Week 2

Mark LovellFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2014

Winners and Losers from Bundesliga Week 2

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    Pep with plenty to ponder
    Pep with plenty to ponderFrank Augstein/Associated Press

    The Bundesliga just got even hipper with Xabi Alonso arriving at Bayern Munich from Champions League winners Real Madrid.

    The top of the table has an unfamiliar look to it at this early juncture. Leverkusen lead the way, followed by promoted Paderborn.

    Find out more as we reveal the winners and losers from the second round of fixtures in Germany, including an appraisal of Alonso's debut for the Bavarian giants.

Winner: Xabi Alonso

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    Alonso arrives in the Bundesliga
    Alonso arrives in the BundesligaFrank Augstein/Associated Press

    Xabi Alonso made a sound debut for Bayern Munich, when you bear in mind that he only signed on Friday from Real Madrid. Pep Guardiola threw his compatriot straight into the starting lineup for the trip to Schalke.

    Alonso looked immediately at home on his Bayern bow, racking up more touches of the ball than anyone else while on the pitch. Alonso was also entrusted with taking free-kicks, giving a clear indication of his standing in the side.

    Alonso was replaced with just over 20 minutes to play, and he could not be blamed for Schalke's equaliser.

    The Spanish World Cup winner is set to become "Pep's Pivot," especially while another Spaniard, Thiago, remains on the injury list.

Winner: Ralf Fahrmann

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    Fahrmann a fine display
    Fahrmann a fine displayKerstin Joensson/Associated Press

    Schalke would have been dead and buried in the first quarter without sterling work from goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann, who prevented his side from falling well behind against Bayern.

    The 25-year-old Schalke stopper denied Thomas Muller and Robert Lewandowski with breathtaking reaction saves in the opening passages of play.

    Of course, Ralf Fahrmann is following in the talented goalkeeping footsteps of Manuel Neuer at Schalke. It is surely a matter of time before Fahrmann receives a call-up to the national squad.

Loser: Nelson Valdez

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    Valdez in happier times
    Valdez in happier timesAlberto Saiz/Associated Press

    Eintracht Frankfurt's new signing Nelson Valdez tore a cruciate ligament in the 2-2 draw at Wolfsburg.

    The 30-year-old Paraguayan international had to be subbed in the 56th minute and is likely to be out for at least six months.

    It's not great news for Frankfurt's new coach, Thomas Schaaf, who knows all about Valdez from their successful spell together in Bremen.

Winner: Marco Reus

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    Rolls Reus
    Rolls ReusKerstin Joensson/Associated Press

    Marco Reus is putting behind him the disappointment of missing out on Germany's World Cup success in Brazil.

    A goal and an assist in the opening quarter of an hour in the 3-2 victory at Augsburg indicates that the Borussia Dortmund star is approaching full fitness.

    Match-winning performances like this from Reus will do nothing to dampen the speculation concerning Reus' future.

Winner: Robert Lewandowski

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    Leaping Lewandowski
    Leaping LewandowskiFrank Augstein/Associated Press

    Robert Lewandowski opened his Bundesliga account for Bayern Munich, scoring after just 10 minutes at Schalke.

    The ex-Dortmund striker silenced the home fans by slotting home after a lovely one-two with Sebastian Rode.

    Goal No. 1 chalked off24 or so more to follow for the Bundesliga's best striker.

Winner: Benedikt Howedes

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    Howedes happy
    Howedes happyFrank Augstein/Associated Press

    The Schalke captain bundled home a precious equaliser against Bayern, a goal which could turn around the Royal Blues season.

    It may have actually come off his arm, but Schalke won't care. It sealed a vital point against the record German Champions.

    There were plenty of World Champions in action during #S04FCB yesterday, and one grabbed a goal: @BeneHoewedes. pic.twitter.com/wczWcxzVNm

    — Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) August 31, 2014

     

Winners: Roger Schmidt and Bayer Leverkusen

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    About Schmidt
    About SchmidtMartin Meissner/Associated Press

    Leverkusen are flying high at the top of the Bundesliga under new coach Roger Schmidt and are the only team in the league with a 100 percent record after two games.

    Saturday's 4-2 come-from-behind victory against Hertha Berlin was their fifth straight win in all competitions.

    Hopes are rising that Schmidt's charges can be serious challengers for trophies this season and finally get rid of the unwanted nickname "Neverkusen."

Winner: Jens Keller

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    Keller eases the pressure
    Keller eases the pressureMartin Meissner/Associated Press

    Let's buck the trend and give some credit to Schalke's under-pressure coach, Jens Keller.

    Bundled out of the cup at third-division Dresden and a sloppy opening defeat at Hannover increased the heat on Keller despite a third-place finish in the Bundesliga last season.

    After falling behind to Lewandowski's early goal, it would have been easy for Schalke to cave in, as they have done so often against Bayern recently. The Bavarian giants had won the previous seven meetings with a whopping 23-2 goal difference.

    Keller did well to galvanize his troops and roared on by a vociferous crowd in Gelsenkirchen, Schalke fully deserved a share of the spoils.

Losers: Former Champions

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    Wolfsburg champions in 2009 under Magath with Edin Dzeko
    Wolfsburg champions in 2009 under Magath with Edin DzekoJOERG SARBACH/Associated Press

    Former Bundesliga champions Werder Bremen, VfB Stuttgart, Hamburg, Borussia Monchengladbach and Wolfsburg are all without a win to their names after two league games.

    Hamburg (HSV), in particular, suffered a miserable 3-0 home defeat against minnows Paderborn.

Loser: Augsburg

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    A worried Weinzierl
    A worried WeinzierlKerstin Joensson/Associated Press

    It's been a dismal start to the season for the Bundesliga's youngest coach, Markus Weinzierl.

    The 39-year-old did a sterling job last time out, leading FCA to a fantastic eighth-place finish in the league.

    Success has proved harder to find this season, and Friday's narrow 3-2 defeat against Dortmund left Weinzierl's side rooted to the bottom of the table.

    Augsburg were also humbled in the cup by fourth-division Magdeburg in the first round.

Winners: Promoted Paderborn and Cologne

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    Breitenreiter in action as a player
    Breitenreiter in action as a playerFRANK AUGSTEIN/Associated Press

    Promoted Paderborn and Cologne are sitting pretty near the top of the Bundesliga. Both sides are unbeaten on four points, level with Bayern Munich.

    Cologne comfortably saw off Stuttgart with the opener from Yuya Osako, while Paderborn humbled Hamburg 3-0 on their own turf, with Moritz Stoppelkamp sealing the deal.

    Minnows Paderborn would be sitting pretty atop the Bundesliga if not for conceding a needless last-minute penalty against Mainz which deprived them of victory.

    Paderborn's trainer Andre Breitenreiter (pictured) is clearly going places.

Winner: Julian Schieber

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    Two former Dortmund strikers Schieber and Lewandowski
    Two former Dortmund strikers Schieber and LewandowskiAlex Grimm/Getty Images

    Julian Schieber is top scorer in the Bundesliga with three goals in two games. The in-form 25-year-old striker fired another against high-flying Leverkusen, after a debut double against Bremen.

    After a dry spell at Dortmund, Schieber has started the season with a bang for Berlin.

Loser: Mario Gotze

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    Gotze got more to give
    Gotze got more to givePool/Getty Images

    A largely anonymous performance from World Cup hero Mario Gotze.

    Gotze was replaced just before the hour mark after a tepid performance for the record German champions against Schalke.

    Germany and Bayern fans will forgive him, surely?

    Follow Mark Lovell @LovellLowdown

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