The Champions League and Europa League threw two completely different experiences for Bundesliga clubs involved. While Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke all reacquaint themselves with Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea respectively, Wolfsburg and Borussia Monchengladbach start exciting, largely unknown journeys. The Champions League draw is starting to disappoint, with Bayern also meeting CSKA Moscow again, and travelling to far-flung corners is a thing of the past. It is the Europa League that will provide great action. Wolfsburg are seemingly in the Group of Death with Lille, FC Krosnodar and the Premier League’s dark horses, Everton. Gladbach don’t have it any easier, travelling to one-time Champions League semi-finalists Villareal, with trips to FC Zurich and Apollon Limassol. They might be the games to watch, not the other boring, we’ve seen them before.
When you’re cruising at 3-0 up, you tend to see the game out, taking the pride in the clean sheet for your keeper. Not if your name is Borussia Dortmund. If your name was Borussia Dortmund, you may want a change in name legally. I digress. The real BVB were out in force at Augsburg on Friday night, with Marco Reus back to his very best, opening the scoring and turning provider for Sokratis really long name to score. But with Mats Hummels still sidelined, Dortmund look shaky at the back, conceding twice in the last ten minutes. Jurgen Klopp will be very worried about the ease in which those goals went in. But, as an attacking unit, currently only Leverkusen offer more for swamping a defence. If Dortmund have genuine title and European ambitions, both ends of the pitch have to be working together.
Well done for spotting this bit wasn’t written at the same time as the other two. Deadline Day is over and squads are settled, but the actual event in Germany is 10 per cent of the Jim White-a-thon. It’s interesting the British version has become so feral but that’s for another time. The stand-out signings would be a surprise move for ex-Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, who slotted in as one of Pep Guardiola’s back three. The hashtag #FreeShinji has been around for a while and it finally happened. Shinji Kagawa is back in Dortmund and the happiest person was Klopp himself, who seems to be treating the Japanese forward as a returning pet. Lewis Holtby and Julian Green have joined Hamburg from Spurs and Bayern Munich respectively. But other than that, the window was fairly quiet in Germany.
Results: FC Ausgsburg 2-3 Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen 4-2 Hertha Berlin, Wolfsburg 2-2 Eintracht Frankfurt, Hamburg 0-3 SC Paderborn, Werder Bremen 1-1 Hoffenheim, Stuttgart 0-2 Cologne, Schalke 1-1 Bayern Munich, Mainz 0-0 Hannover 96, Freiburg 0-0 Borussia Monchengladbach
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