The Bundesliga returned with a bang last weekend — and the season’s second round of fixtures look just as tantalising.
Last year’s runners-up RB Leipzig will be aiming to recover from their stuttering start when they face Stuttgart tonight, before goal machines Borussia Dortmund bid to make it two wins from two at Freiburg.
Sunday’s action sees Bayern Munich take on Koln at the Allianz Arena, as the 2020-21 champions go in search of first league win under new boss Julian Nagelsmann.
RB Leipzig vs Stuttgart (Friday, 7.30pm)
Stuttgart will approach their visit to the Red Bull Arena with a sense of trepidation — VfB have never won a match against Leipzig, losing five of their six meetings.
But Die Schwaben will be buoyed by their blistering start to the campaign, having blown away new boys Greuther Furth 5-1 last weekend.
Borna Sosa assisted three of Stuttgart’s goals in that game — making him only the third Bundesliga player to achieve that feat in a match since the 2008-09 season.
There is sure to be interest in this match from across the pond, as it will be the first time that two American managers — Jesse Marsch and Pellegrino Matarazzo — will face off in the German top flight.
Hertha Berlin vs Wolfsburg (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Wolfsburg ran out 1-0 winners against a Bochum side that had to play 86 minutes with 10 men on Matchday 1 and the omens are good for them once again.
Berlin has been a happy hunting ground for Die Wolfe in recent years — picking up two wins and two draws from their last four visits to the Olympiastadion.
That is reflective of a team who are excellent away from home, having collected the joint-most points on the road (20) in the Bundesliga this calendar year.
Hertha will be desperate to get off the mark after succumbing to a 3-1 defeat at Koln on Sunday and optimistic supporters will point out the club’s record at the end of last season — they were undefeated in their final six home games of 2020-21, keeping four clean sheets in the process.
Freiburg vs Borussia Dortmund (Saturday, 2.30pm)
Opening day results do not come much better than Dortmund’s 5-2 demolition of Frankfurt as Marco Rose’s time in the BVB dugout began in explosive fashion.
Talisman Erling Haaland registered two goals and two assists in that match — becoming the first Bundesliga player to do so since data collection began.
Dortmund have now scored in a club-record 33 consecutive league games, though they may not have it so easy against a Freiburg side that shut out Arminia Bielefeld in a goalless draw last weekend.
Their manager Christian Streich will be thinking that his luck against Die Borussen will have to change soon — he has lost 13 times against BVB, more than any other top-flight opponent.
Bayer Leverkusen vs Borussia Monchengladbach (Saturday, 5.30pm)
Two of the division’s biggest sides go head-to-head on Saturday evening, with both teams searching for their first victory of the season.
Monchengladbach’s opening day draw with Bayern Munich was undoubtedly more impressive than Leverkusen’s dropped points against Union Berlin — and Die Fohlen will fancy their chances of going one better this weekend with Lars Stindl leading the line.
The Germany international has a remarkable record against Leverkusen, scoring more goals against them for his current club (5) than against any other team.
But his impressive form is not limited to tomorrow’s opponents, having contributed three goals and three assists in Monchengladbach’s last seven games across all competitions.
Saturday’s other games
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Augsburg (2.30pm)
Greuther Furth vs Arminia Bielefeld (2.30pm)
Bochum vs Mainz (2.30pm)
Bayern Munich vs Koln (Sunday, 4.30pm)
Bayern Munich’s 1-1 draw with Monchengladbach was the first time they have started a season without victory in a decade, so Nagelsmann will be keen to get back to winning ways sooner rather than later.
You have to go back to 2009 to find the last time FCB did not win one of their opening two fixtures and they are heavy favourites to avoid that ignominy on Sunday.
Die Roten have won their last seven games in a row against Koln, but Steffen Baumgart’s men have also been the champions’ bogey team in years gone by — no current Bundesliga side has picked up more victories on the road against Bayern than their nine.
One man who will be desperate to get on the scoresheet is Munich frontman Robert Lewandowski, who can equal his personal record of scoring in 12 consecutive league games if he finds the net this weekend.
Sunday’s other game
Hoffenheim vs Union Berlin (2.30pm)