Bundesliga wrap: Shinji Kagawa reminds Man United what they’re missing
After the international break, the Bundesliga made a welcome return as did one well-loved Japanese star. More on him later….
Start the revolving door
To be honest, if you were Mirko Slomka, you wouldn’t be making long-term plans. The Hamburg boss is a figurative ‘dead-man walking’. Not a real one, though, as that would make him a zombie, and that would be an awful thing. Hamburg are yet to register a win or even a goal, with their only point coming in their opening day goalless draw. The ‘Dino’ recruited well in the last days of the window, but the problem is the manager. He inspires as much confidence as a trip to the dentist on their first day brandishing a pneumatic drill. This season is the ultimate transition one for HSV – many of their highest paid are in the last year of their deals – but ultimately, when they completely replace their squad for 2015/16, it can’t be in Bundesliga 2. Continuing with Slomka may see that happen. Meanwhile, Schalke face a similar problem. They have Champions League aspirations, and another European adventure coming up this week, but have lost twice and salvaged a creditable point against Bayern. Saturday’s defeat by Gladbach was shocking, and Jens Keller – whose future was constantly debated last year – is facing a fight for his job again. In the shadows of Hamburg and Gelsenkirchen, Thomas Tuchel waits. Maybe. Actually, he’s probably at home.
Nothing like a love affair
One cannot fail to be touched by the love affair rekindled in Dortmund. Jurgen Klopp has made no secret of the fact that he is delighted by Shinji Kagawa’s return to BVB. The Japanese playmaker – lovely word that…’playmaker’ – made a scoring second debut as Dortmund dismantled Freiburg, and with a hectic period of games coming up, he couldn’t have been more needed. Klopp has at his disposal some of the best attacking options in the Bundesliga, despite the injuries. Kagawa, who was so badly used at Manchester United, was at the heart of everything. He linked up well with the outstanding Henrikh Mkhitaryan, while summer signing Adrian Ramos harried and chased, leading the line brilliantly. Kagawa won’t be at full pelt for a while yet, but the goodwill generated by his debut, plus pushing the performance level of others up, it’s the shot in the arm Dortmund needed.
Goals, goals, goals – we’re looking for a good time
Leverkusen – who in 2013/14 were the *most* boring team ever – kicked the weekend off with Werder Bremen and decided together they’d have a big ‘ol ding dong. The 3-3 scoreline, and we mean this, doesn’t reflect the chances missed in the game. Leverkusen hit the woodwork three times in the first 30 minutes. That won’t be the last thriller at the BayArena – their defensive frailties added to to the attacking talent means there will be many more goals. A boost for Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich came in the form of Franck Ribery’s goal-scoring return as Stuttgart were eventually dispatched. We believe the term ‘laboured’ needs to be used here. Wolfsburg set up for their trip to Everton in the Europa League with a late draw in Hoffenheim while Augsburg grabbed their first win of the season at Frankfurt.
Results: Bayer Leverkusen 3-3 Werder Bremen, Borussia Dortmund 3-1 SC Freiburg, Bayern Munich 2-0 Stuttgart, Hoffenheim 1-1 Wolfsburg, Paderborn 0-0 Cologne, Hertha Berlin 1-3 Mainz, Borussia Monchengladbach 4-1 Schalke, Eintracht Frankfurt 0-1 FC Augsburg, Hannover 2-0 Hamburg