New season, same old story. A simple phrase that sums up the first week of the Bundesliga, at least regarding the title race. Bayern comfortably beat Hoffenheim, who finished third last season and are one of the sides in the best position to challenge the Bavarian giants. Nico Kovac´s team controlled the game throughout the entire 90 minutes bar a short spell in the second half and ended up winning 3:1. However, in contrast to last season, Bayern may face a strong title rival this time around: BVB. Or at least that is the impression one could have following Borussia Dortmund’s impressive performance on Sunday against RB Leipzig, one of the sides tipped to be challenging for the Champions League places this campaign. Even though the game could have ended a different way were it not for Roman Bürki’s impressive saves, it was a very encouraging start for die Schwarzgelben.
The race for the European spots may include some new contenders, with teams such as Hertha BSC and Borussia Mönchengladbach making an early claim for those privileged positions. Even VfL Wolfsburg, after a couple of disappointing seasons, could surprise, depending on whether they are capable of repeating convincing showings on a regular basis. Domenico Tedesco’s Schalke made a disappointing start due to some unusual defensive errors, something that we did not see much of last year.
The battle for survival is not for the weak. Already we have seen how difficult certain teams could find the back of the net. That was especially the case with teams such as Freiburg or Nürnberg, who had many clear-cut chances but weren’t able to capitalize. However, the performance from the latter as well as that of Fortuna Düsseldorf – both promoted from the 2. Bundesliga last year – show that no game will be easy this season.
And of course, VAR reared its sometimes ugly head throughout the weekend’s matches. There were many debatable decisions, especially during the game between Wolfsburg and Schalke at the stadium in Wolfsburg. It seems that even after the World Cup, where VAR repaired most of the damage done to its reputation, the technological innovation will continue to provide regular controversy during the Bundesliga season.