Bayern coast, Düsseldorf make storming return | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 25.08.2012
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Bayern coast, Düsseldorf make storming return

Bayern Munich won their first Bundesliga game comfortably, beating debutantes Fürth 3-0, while Düsseldorf made a winning return to the top flight with a wonder goal.

The first Saturday of the 50th Bundesliga began sleepily - only two goals fell in the first halves of the five afternoon games - or two in 225 minutes of football. In comparison, the second halves exploded into a veritable goal fest.

The day included the first of several Bavarian derbies this season - between Bayern Munich and the promoted debutantes Greuther Fürth. As the state's premier Horst Seehofer gleefully pointed out on his Facebook page earlier in the day, this is the most Bavarian Bundesliga ever, with four clubs competing - Bayern, Fürth, Nuremberg, and Augsburg.

But while many would have expected the club that has won the competition more than any other to walk it, Bayern looked sluggish throughout the first half. Then again, the Champions League finalists were playing against the meanest defense of last season's second division, and Fürth kept the favorites from even a sniff of the goal for more than half an hour.

Bayern prevail

Inevitably it took a set-piece to break the deadlock. Thomas Müller scored just before the end of the first half. Carrying on his scoring streak from the end of the last season, the lanky attacker was the quickest to react when a Bayern corner ricocheted loose in the box - Dante's powerful header having been cleared off the line.

Greuther Fürth - Bayern Munich

Bayern made their experience count in the end

The lapse caused Fürth's coach Michael Büskens to explode in rage on the touchline - after his team had played so aggressively to neutralize a dominant but less than creative Bayern side, it was a meek way to concede.

And it served to unlock the door in the second half. Fürth were left with no choice but to give Munich more space, and they duly extended the lead in the 59th minute, when Arjen Robben, marauding into the right of the box, chipped the ball via a deflection to Mario Mandzukic. The Croatia forward, who shone at the European Championships, merely had to nod the ball into an empty net.

Robben himself rounded off the scoreline - courtesy of a little luck - in the 78th minute, when his cross from the left deflected off a defender and looped over the stranded keeper Max Grün into the far post.

Juan Arango of Borussia Mönchengladbach

Arango scored the winner with a beautiful free-kick

Fine Foals

The only other goal in the first 45 minutes on Saturday fell to Mönchengladbach's Mike Hanke, in the Foals' 2-1 win over Hoffenheim - and it also came from a set-piece. Hanke was first to Juan Arango's free-kick in the 33rd minute, leaping above Hoffenheim's Andreas Beck to head the ball past goalkeeper Tim Wiese.

Hoffenheim deservedly drew level in the 65th minute through Brazilian Roberto Firmino, who popped up when Erin Derdiyok's shot came off the goalkeeper and looped invitingly to the far post.

After that, Hoffenheim looked the more dangerous side, while Gladbach were reduced to counterattacks. But then some brilliance in the 79th minute from the Venezuelan decided the game for the Foals - Arango spotted Wiese stepping away from the left side of his goal, and he curled a magic one in.

Hapless Hamburgers

More Bavarians, this time Nuremberg, came out on top in their away match in Hamburg, benefitting from a woeful HSV performance to win 1-0 .

The match barely featured a chance in the first half. Though Hamburg's Heiko Westermann threatened the Nuremberg goal with a thumping header midway through the first half, Nuremberg should have taken the lead at the start of the second period when Japanese midfielder Hiroshi Kiyotake - a new signing - slipped a beautifully delayed pass into the path of Mike Frantz, who could only shoot tamely into the legs of goalkeeper Rene Adler.

Dani Schahin of Fortuna Düsseldorf celebrates with team-mates after scoring his team's first goal in the Bundesliga match between FC Augsburg and Fortuna Düsseldorf

Fortuna Düsseldorf celebrated a brilliant win on their return

Nuremberg finally took the lead through Hanno Balitsch in the 68th minute, when defender Michael Mancienne misjudged a corner, Per Nilsson headed against the crossbar, and Balitsch pounced on the rebound. For HSV, the result completed a miserable start to the season, having been dumped out of the German Cup earlier in the week.

Happy Freiburg

Freiburg earned a 1-1 draw as they played hosts to Mainz. Freiburg took the lead four minutes into the second half, when Max Kruse slotted the ball beautifully into the far corner after a perfectly timed through ball from Karim Guede.

Mainz equalized from the penalty spot in the 65th minute, when Andreas Ivanschitz spanked the ball confidently into the top corner - his Bundesliga penalty record is now five from five.

But the goal of the day came for Fortuna Düsseldorf, who made a storming return to the top flight after 15 years' absence, winning 2-0 away to Augsburg. It came from the onrushing Dani Schahin in the 68th minute, volleying home a fantastic strike up and over a flailing keeper. Schahin went on to double the lead ten minutes later, bringing down a cross in one fluid movement and taking advantage of a gap at the goalkeeper's near post.

The result sparked delirious celebrations among the away fans and on the pitch - Düsseldorf had sent out a defiant "We're Back!" to the rest of the division.

Triumphant return

Newly promoted Eintracht Frankfurt also played out a rollicking end-to-end game against Bayer Leverkusen in the early evening, and recorded their first win in the Bundesliga since March 2011 - taking down Leverkusen 2-1 at home.

Eintracht Frankfurt - Bayer 04 Leverkusen

Eintracht Frankfurt also made a winning return to the Bundesliga

Leverkusen dominated much of the first half, finally putting their superiority on the scoreboard in the 30th minute. Stefan Kiessling took his first goal of the season at the end of a lovely counterattacking move driven by Andre Schürrle, who passed the ball out wide to Karim Bellarabi. The Leverkusen player opened himself a great shooting position, and though his hammered shot was blocked by goalkeeper Kevin Trapp, the ball spun into the path of star striker Kiessling.

Unbowed, Eintracht bounced back in the second half, and got the equalizer in the second half. In the 57th minute, Bastian Oczipka made a dynamic run into the box down the left, let fire a shot that Leno. New Japanese signing Takashi Inui drew a fantastic save from Bernd Leno, but Aigner struck the rebound sharply into the bottom corner.

The promoted side continued to dominate the second half, and comprehensively outplayed Bayer to get the winner in the 81st minute. Stefano Celozzi found himself with a clear run at the touchline wide to the left, and, with a cluster of tall Eintracht attackers waiting in the middle, delivered a perfect cross, which Martin Lanig headed back across the face of the goal and in.

Late, late drama

In Saturday's late game (Wolfsburg agreed to the latest-ever kickoff in Bundesliga history to accommodate Stuttgart's Europa League commitments) the Wolves took a late 1-0 win through Dutchman Bas Dost. But only after Stuttgart's hapless Vedad Ibisevic had missed a penalty seconds before.

Stuttgart striker Vedad Ibisevic

It was not Ibisevic's night

Both sides began brightly, as well they might, having played a five-goal thriller to round off last season. Either team might have taken the lead in the first half - Ashkan Dejagah wasted a free volley for Wolfsburg in the 15th minute, while Stuttgart's Mexican defender Francisco Maza was unlucky to be ruled offside in the 23rd, when he sent a brilliant long header into the far corner.

But the second half settled into a painful midfield battle. A well-drilled Wolfsburg side - the club's myriad new signings worked well together - stifled their hosts high up the pitch, but both sets of strikers became bystanders as countless passes went astray behind them.

Then, when it seemed that both sides were settling for the 0-0, Stuttgart's Ibisevic won a controversial penalty. Emanuel Pogatetz could legitimately argue that he had flicked the ball clear as he was bringing down the Bosnian, who stepped up to take the penalty himself. Diego Benaglio saved, and the rebound bounced neatly in front of Ibisevic, who made the disastrous decision to try and slot it in with his right boot. Barely a minute after it spun wide, Wolfsburg broke at the other end and Dost stole the game with a free header.

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