Bayern Munich thrashed VfB Stuttgart 6-1 on a goal-filled Sunday of Bundesliga football. Earlier in the day, Hanover dominated from start to finish in a 4-0 victory over Lower Saxony state rivals Wolfsburg.
Record Bundesliga signing Javi Martinez made his debut for Bayern Munich Sunday, but they hardly needed his help. The Bavarians scored six goals in less than 20 minutes of play on the way to their second win of the season.
As expected, Bayern set the tempo early in the first half. They controlled a majority of possession, but their passing failed them in the final third. Instead, it was Stuttgart who took an early lead off an amazing Martin Harnik effort.
Arthur Boka sent in a free kick from the left wing, and Harnik volleyed the ball across goal from the far post. Bayern keeper Manuel Neuer was left helpless, and suddenly the visitors were leading 1-0.
Unfortunately for Stuttgart, the goal awakened a previously subdued Bayern. Seven minutes later, Thomas Müller poked home the rebound off a Mario Mandzukic shot to equalize. Sixty seconds afterwards, midfielder Toni Kroos fired a long-range ball into the top right corner of the net for a 2-1 lead.
But Bayern were not finished. Shortly before halftime, Brazilian Luis Gustavo hit another long-range shot with his left foot. The ball curled too far to keeper Sven Ulreich's right, and the hosts had a 3-1 lead going into halftime.
Flood gates open
When play resumed, Bayern went on an amazing run, scoring three goals in just four minutes to make it 6-1, crushing any hopes of a Stuttgart comeback. Mandzukic, Müller, and Bastian Schweinsteiger all found the back of the net in what was an incredible lack of defensive cohesion from the visiting Swabians.
Things somehow got worse for Stuttgart in the 74th minute when their Bosnian international striker, Vedad Ibisevic, was shown a straight red for lashing out at Bayern defender Jerome Boateng. After clashing with Boateng in a battle for the ball, Ibisevic jumped up and appeared to hit the defender with his chest. The referee had seen enough, and Ibisevic was gone.
The ejection seemed to calm down the game. The 77th-minute introduction of Martinez, signed from Athletic Bilbao for 40 million Euros ($50 million) on Wednesday, excited the crowd somewhat. His presence was hardly needed, though, as the game had long been decided by that point.
Bayern now sit atop the Bundesliga table with six points and a plus-eight goal differential. Stuttgart, meanwhile, sit in last place with zero points after two games. It has been a tough start for the club, which has not won in Munich for two and a half years.
Hanover dominate northern rivals Wolfsburg
Hungarian midfielder Szabolcs Huszti was the star of the afternoon in Wolfsburg, not finding the back of the net himself, but setting up every goal.
Hanover's Leon Andreasen scored for the visitors after missing much of the past two years with injury
Hanover started the first half with plenty of confidence, creating plenty of chances. Captain Steve Cherundolo came close to scoring when his shot from outside the box fell just wide of the post in the fifth minute.
Soon after, defender Karim Haggui gave the visitors the lead when he headed home a Huszti corner.
Hanover continued to control the game, and Wolfsburg were unlucky to capitalize on what was their best chance up to that point. Former Bayern Munich striker Ivica Olic broke free with the ball and headed down the left into a one-on-one chance with keeper Ron-Robert Zieler in the 23rd minute. The Croatian took one touch too many, though, and a Hanover defender caught up to him, forcing his shot high and over the bar.
Wolfsburg's short-lived spell of control proved to be an aberration when just three minutes later striker Artur Sobiech put the visitors 2-0 up. A giveaway from Brazilian midfielder Josue started a Hanover counter attack. Huszti sent in a ball from the left flank that Sobiech finished confidently, giving the Hungarian his second assist of the afternoon.
The visitors kept the pressure on in the second half. Just seven minutes after play resumed, Danish midfielder Leon Andreasen connected with a Huszti free kick, heading home his team's third goal of the evening.
Not five minutes later, Huszti again played the role of provider, sending a cross into the center of the box. Sobiech was there to meet the ball, sending his shot into the top right corner of the net and completing his brace.
Things got worse for Wolfsburg in the 65th minute when Robin Knoche - who had replaced an underperforming Josue at halftime - pulled down Konstantin Rausch on the left wing. Knoche was given his second yellow just 20 minutes after he stepped onto the pitch, leaving his side with 10 men.
Hanover eased up after Knoche's ejection, and easily finished out the game without conceding a goal. It was a difficult loss for coach Felix Magath's Wolfsburg, who had managed a 1-0 away win at Stuttgart last weekend.
It has been a good week for Hanover, who defeated Slask Wroclow 5-0 Thursday to advance to the group stage in the Europa League, where they will face Dutch side FC Twente, Spaniards Levante and the Swedish club Helsingborg.