Bundesliga wrap: Mkhitaryan helps Dortmund keep 100% record
Bundesliga wrap: Borussia Dortmund's Henrikh Mkhitaryan helps his side maintain their 100 per cent start to the season
Perfect start for Schneider
Following the dismissal of Bruno Labbadia a week ago, Stuttgart took mere hours to appoint Thomas Schneider as their new manager. The former under-17s coach looks to be a shrewd appointment after mastermind their defeat of local rivals Hoffenheim 6-2, stopping a run of three consecutive defeats. The match was fast-paced from beginning to end, with four goals coming in each half. Vedad Ibisevic scored his first hat-trick of the season, and it was written in the stars to come against his former team. The Bosnian had no interest in nostalgia, playing a starring role in his side’s first win of the season which also saw Antonio Rudiger score his first senior goal. Hoffenheim were completely outplayed and the result saw them slip to 11th in the table. Schneider brought some youth to the job with him too, sending on Rani Khedira, little brother of Sami, for his Bundesliga debut. Having been knocked out of the Europa League last week, the early managerial change could allow Stuttgart a fresh Bundesliga start without being too far off the pace. All eyes lie on Schneider, hoping he can build on an impressive start to his reign.
Dortmund last ones standing, just
So it was Borussia Dortmund who preserved their 100 per cent win record on week four as Bayern were held to a draw thanks to a late Freiburg goal. Henrik Mkhitarayan scored either side of a Vaclav Kadlec strike to propel his side to the top of the league, but once again it was far from a convincing performance from BVB. Frankfurt really should have opened the scoring early on as the Dortmund defence was left in limbo, and the hosts could have come away with the win if only they’d been more clinical. They didn’t need to look far for inspiration as Mkhitarayan gave a master class in finishing at the other end. His first-touch finish from Jakub Blaszczykowski’s slipped ball through was of the coolest calibre, while his second was a touch of magic from nothing – pinging the ball past Kevin Trapp from edge of the area. However, Dortmund’s defensive performance was anything but magic. A long lofted ball caught Neven Subotic out,= and Stefan Aigner’s header came back off the post for Kadlec to hammer home. The normally reliant Mats Hummels was pulled off at half-time, replaced by Sokratis Papastathopoulos, and Jurgen Klopp will surely take the international break to implement some rigorous defensive drills.
Boateng influential on debut
“He was a good lad, until this morning” joked Klopp at his news conference on Friday when asked about Kevin-Prince Boateng’s surprise move to Schalke 04. Klopp previously coached Boateng during a loan spell at Dortmund from Tottenham, but the jesting had a tinge of sincerity to it. Boateng evidently took no notice of his former coach, putting in an excellent shift on his return to the Bundesliga. Having secured a move from Milan, Boateng went straight into the starting team at the Veltins Arena, with Schalke looking for their first win of the season. Leverkusen proved stern opposition, but the home side won the game through a fortunate set-piece and a late Jefferson Farfan penalty. Boateng was instrumental in the middle of the pitch, dominating Lars Bender and acquiring a respectable 71 per cent successful pass rate in the process. His darting runs from in his own half drew several fouls, and Leverkusen boss Sami Hyypia was getting visibly animated on the touchline at his side’s inability to keep the Ghanaian under wraps. Boateng nearly capped off his performance with a goal, forcing a flying save from Bernd Leno before he was withdrawn to great applause. Leverkusen, for their worth, knocked at the Schalke door, but new signing Heung Min-Son couldn’t take his chances. With Boateng dictating the middle of the pitch, Schalke look like a steadier ship. Their first win of the season on Boateng’s debut is more than just coincidence.
Best of the rest
Like Bayern and Leverkusen, Mainz also lost their perfect start after suffering a 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Hannover. Nicolai Muller, the Bundesliga’s top scorer, gave his side the lead before they capitulated limply, allowing Hannover to leapfrog them into fourth place. Hamburg turned on the heat, picking up their first win of the campaign versus Eintracht Braunschweig and relieving some of the pressure on boss Thorsten Fink. Early goals from Rafael van der Vaart and Jacques Zoa gave Die Rothosen the initiative before Hakan Calhanoglu stepped off the bench to add two further late goals. For Braunschweig, things look worrying. Yet to win, and with only one goal to their name, it could be a long hard season ahead. Elsewhere Borussia Monchengladbach overtook Werder Bremen in the league with a 4-1 win, while Dieter Hecking’s Wolfsburg inflicted Hertha Berlin’s first defeat of the season – Ivica Olic and Diego striking a double blow just before half-time at the Volkswagen Arena.