Bundesliga- Week 1
So the question, which seemingly appears on everyone's lip before another Bundesliga commences, is whether the proverbial giants of Munich will once again retain the German Title, with this squad aiming to emulate previous Bayern sides- albeit the current collection having an uncanny likeness to last - on the 9th occasion in 13 efforts.
Well, if the first round of Bundesliga action is to go by- perhaps not.
Although, judging by Sebastian Schweinsteiger's unnoticed darting run and finish in stoppage time against Steve McLaren's Wolfsburg on Friday night- it would be fair to suggest that Louis Van Gaal's men can once again expect unrelenting levels of bitterness emitting from rival fans- all on account of them being so peskily unyielding.
Friday's curtain raiser failed to disappoint, happily. Bayern coming out on top 2-1 at the Allianz Arena against McLaren's endearing Wolfs.
World Cup golden boot winner Thomas Muller; carrying on from where he left off in South Africa, looked the part, in the first 45 especially and scored a marvellous goal to give his, now well accustomed team mates, a deserved lead with a clinically taken half volley teed up by himself of course.
Whilst McLaren's decision to keep Zvezdjan Misimović on the bench, was proved to be a strange one when the half time substitute set up Edin Džeko (naturally) to level early in the second half before Schweinsteiger's late winner denied the 2009 Bundesliga champions a deserved share of the spoils.
A draw would have been a fair result, Munich did not look as fluid as you would come to expect from a side who have spent a year playing with year other, but winning without playing well against one of your main competitors, can only be a good thing.
Credit to Wolfsburg, their swift counter attacking style was troubling the sometimes worrisome Munich centre half duo of Daniel Van Buyten and 19-year old Holger Badstuber. The youngster's inclusion seemingly paving the way for 29-year old Argentinian defender Martin Demichelis to part ways with the club after seven years of service with the Bavarians.
But what of the would be pretenders-
Bayer Leverkusen looked rather dapper, their 0-2 victory away at Borussia Dortmund was comfortable in the end and the now fully fit Renato Augusto, in midfield showed what a difference he can make to the side with a fabulously self crafted second goal for Leverkusen in the game marking a distinctly rusty Michael Ballack's return to his former side.
Things may have been different however, had Sebastian Kehl's goal not been wrongly disallowed for offside for BVB.
None the less, Leverkusen looked sharp and edgy on the attack and defended resolutely with stalwart Sami Hyypia at the back particularly impressing with the rest of the side showing they could be more than serious contenders for Munich's crown this campaign.
Fresh from their Champions League exploits midweek, Werder Bremer were on the receiving end of a hammering from Hoffenheim on Saturday.
Mersut Ozil-less, Bremen, must have thought their impressive form from Tuesday night's Champions League qualifier home to Sampdoria was set to continue, when veteran Torsten Frings gave the visitors the lead from the spot.
But four goals in 23-minutes was too much for Bremen who will not be looking forward to Wednesday's tie in Italy if Saturdays performance is anything to go by.
While Hamburg, Ruud Van Nistelrooy and former Wolfsburg manager Armin Veh proved many of their pre-season critics wrong- beating last season's runners-up Schalke 2-1 in Gelsenkirchen. The Dutchmen bagging a brace to get one over his former Galacticos team mate Raul, who lined up in opposition for his new club Schalke.
Seconds after the restart, Eljero Elia supplied a cross into the middle for Van Nistelrooy to give Hamburg the lead and despite his sides domination thereafter, the Royal Blues almost made them rue their missed openings.
Jefferson Farfan levelling even after Benedikt Höwedes's second bookable offence reduced the visitors to 10 men. But Van Nistelrooy made sure his side made a bold gesture towards their title aspirations scoring from close range with 2-minutes remaining.
Finally, VfB Stuttgart were expected to at least compete this year, however they were outclassed by Thomas Tuchel's Mainz side who showed no sign of second season syndrome with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Christian Gross' men.
Week one, goes to Leverkusen on points I would suggest.
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