The Bundesliga returned to action on Friday night, making it the last of Europe’s top five leagues to resume for the 2018/19.
The opening game of a new German first division season traditionally begins with the champions, and Bayern Munich, for the sixth season in a row, were the holders. Die Roten, under the stewardship of new manager Niko Kovac, began the season at home to Hoffenheim. They had a few players in the German national side who fired blanks in the World Cup, but there was no such slackness early on here, Thomas Muller putting them in front after 23 minutes, heading home a Joshua Kimmich corner, meaning he has scored on the opening night of the season for the third time in five campaigns.
Hoffenheim, fourth last season, were never going to be an easy ride, and responded less than 15 minutes into the second period, Adam Szalai firing a shot past Manuel Neuer to bring Die Krachgauer level.
However, Bayern would regain their lead late on, Robert Lewandowski putting them in front with a penalty with eight minutes to go. Leon Goretzka thought he had bagged a debut goal for the hosts, but his effort would be ruled. The game would be made safe though, with Arjen Robben grabbing Bayern’s third in stoppage time, to give the champions the perfect start.
Borussia Dortmund also began with a winning start, getting up and running with victory over Leipzig. Dortmund had a less than satisfactory campaign last term, and things didn’t look better early on in Lucien Favre’s managerial bow, with Jean-Kevin Augustin giving Leipzig the lead after less than a minute.
But Die Schwarzgelben would be 3-1 by halftime, first Mohammed Dahoud headed them level in the 21st minute, then two quick goals, an own goal by Marcel Sabitzer and an overhead kick from debutant Axel Witsel, put them well in the clear.
The icing on the Dortmund cake came in stoppage time, as a quick break ended with Jadon Sancho playing Marco Reus, who slotted home the hosts’ fourth, and his 100th Bundesliga goal.
Elsewhere, Borussia Monchengladbach began on a winning note, running out 2-0 victors at home to Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg needed a late Daniel Ginczek winner to see off ten-man Schalke, while Nuremberg’s return to the BuLi began with a defeat at Hertha Berlin.
Anthony Ujah grabbed the only goal for Mainz in their win over Stuttgart, Werder Bremen left it late to snatch a point at home to Hannover, and Frankfurt began the Adi Hutter era with a win at Freiburg.
Bayern Munich 3-1 Hoffenheim
Dortmund 4-1 RB Leipzig
Werder Bremen 1-1 Hannover
Freiburg 0-2 Frankfurt
Wolfsburg 2-1 Schalke
Monchengladbach 2-0 Leverkusen
Dusseldorf 1-2 Augsburg
Mainz 1-0 Stuttgart
Hertha BSC 1-0 Nuremberg
Image Credit: Guardian UK