Schalke have come from behind to draw 3-3 at home with fellow European hopefuls Hamburg. Both sides showed serious signs of rust in defense, especially from set pieces. Mainz beat Stuttgart 3-2 in the earlier goalfest.
Schalke scored with their first shot of the game, when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar hit a long shot past Rene Adler just two minutes into Sunday evening's match.
The goal prompted the hosts to fall to pieces. Hamburg took control of the game, soon winning a chance to equalize from the penalty spot. Dutch playmaker Rafael van der Vaart sent Timo Hildebrand the wrong way to restore parity after 12 minutes.
Mid-way through the half, Julian Draxler limped off with a knock to his Achilles tendon. Teen summer signing Leon Goretzka replaced him, but the absence helped Hamburg cement their grip on the game.
Seconds after the Schalke sub, Maximilian Beister rose to head home a cross from stand-out right-back Dennis Diekmeier. The ball bounced off the crossbar, ricocheted off Hildebrand as he crashed to the ground following an attempted save, and then nestled in the net.
Shortly before half time, Hamburg had taken eight shots and Schalke just the one.
But then the hosts scored their second goal with their second shot; Huntelaar this time heading past Adler off a Christian Fuchs cross. Despite Hamburg's superiority, the sides went in level at the break.
Two debutantes on the money
Hamburg slipped back in front less than five minutes after the restart. Lasse Sobiech outjumped Joel Matip at the back post, nodding home a van der Vaart corner. The debutante and defender, purchased from relegated Greuther Fürth this summer, was a Borussia Dortmund youth product - meaning that for him, scoring in Gelsenkirchen against Schalke must have been particularly sweet.
Only on taking a second-half lead did Hamburg finally start looking second best. Schalke began to push for an equalizer, ultimately introducing summer signing Adam Szalai as a second striker alongside Huntelaar.
Szalai also managed to find the net on his Bundesliga debut with his new club. With around 20 minutes remaining, Adler spilled Christian Clemens' tame long-range shot and the Hungarian striker pounced on the rebound to tie the score.
Schalke could not find the winning goal despite heavy pressure late in the game, meaning both European aspirants dropped points but salvaged their pride on opening day.
Two Müllers, three Mainz points
Sunday afternoon's game was also more of a pleasure for attackers and goalkeepers as both Mainz and Stuttgart looked lackluster in defense at times. The result was an entertaining end-to-end match, with both the heroes for Mainz named Müller - goalie Heinz and winger Nico.
Nicolai Müller, perhaps Mainz's best attacking player not to leave the club in the summer, got the ball rolling all by himself. The German beat two Stuttgart defenders, dribbling from half-way to the edge of the box before slotting the ball past Sven Ulreich.
Seconds later, with 16 minutes on the clock, Vedad Ibisevic equalized for Stuttgart from a low, near-post cross. The score stayed at 1-1 until half time, thanks in no small part to heroics from Stuttgart goalie Ulreich, denying Müller, Sebastian Polter and others.
Okazaki punishes old team
Japanese attacker Shinji Okazaki - formerly of Stuttgart - played his first Bundesliga match for Mainz on Sunday. After 65 minutes, he turned in traffic in the penalty area and fired a low shot past Ulreich with his left foot - putting Mainz back ahead against his former employers.
As in the first half, Stuttgart responded by piling forward. This time, however, goalie Heinz Müller fended off the barrage - making two particularly stunning saves to keep out Konstantin Rausch free kicks.
Against the run of play, Mainz stretched their lead. With virtually his first touch of the ball, sub Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting played Nico Müller through on goal. Müller knocked the ball home to secure the 3-1 lead.
Heinz Müller's only mistake of the afternoon, spilling a long shot from Cacau, allowed Martin Harnik to pull Stuttgart back into touching distance.
However, coach Thomas Tuchel's side held firm in the final minutes in front of their home fans, securing three points to start a season in which many supporters fear relegation is a possibility.