Bundesliga Bulletin: Wolfsburg and Hertha flying, Schalke and Leverkusen rock bottom | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 02.09.2018
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Bundesliga Bulletin: Wolfsburg and Hertha flying, Schalke and Leverkusen rock bottom

Wolfsburg and Hertha Berlin have enjoyed perfect starts and find themselves joint top of the league with Bayern Munich. The bottom of the table is equally surprising, with Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke still pointless.

Good week for: Wolfsburg, Werder Bremen, Leon Goretzka, Fortuna Düsseldorf, Hertha Berlin

Bad week for: Bayer Leverkusen, VfB Stuttgart, Eintracht Frankfurt, RB Leipzig, Schalke 

The table:

The lowdown:

Hertha Berlin are joint top of the Bundesliga this week after two wins from their opening two games. The Berliners followed up their 1-0 home win over newly-promoted Nürnberg on matchday 1 with a 2-0 victory away at last season's runners-up, Schalke. Ondrej Duda gave Hertha a first-half lead just moments after Daniel Caligiuri had missed from the spot, and the Slovakian struck again in injury time from a free-kick, for which Yevhen Konoplyanka also saw red. The result sees Schalke remain winless and joint-bottom as boos rang out around the Veltins Arena. 

RB Leipzig's stuttering start to the season continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw at home to newly-promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf. The visitors from the Rhineland took a surprise lead just after halftime before Jean-Kevin Augustin equalized.

Fußball Bundesliga RB Leipzig - Fortuna Düsseldorf (Getty Images/Bongarts/M. Kern)

Matthias Zimmermann celebrates opening the scoring for Fortuna Düsseldorf against RB Leipzig

After last week's defeat away at Borussia Mönchengladbach, Bayer Leverkusen's start to the season went from bad to worse with a 3-1 defeat at home to VfL Wolfsburg. Just like in Mönchengladbach, Leverkusen started the better team and this time they even took the lead thanks to fantastic Leon Bailey strike. But once again, they failed to maintain their momentum and allowed their opponents back into the match, the Wolves turning the game around thanks to goals from Yannick Gerhardt, Wout Weghorst and Renato Steffen.

For Wolfsburg, following their 2-1 win over Schalke on the opening day, it's been a dream start to the season. Travelling Wolves fans in Leverkusen expressed their surprise that coach Bruno Labbadia, who they referred to as a "Bundesliga fireman" due to his reputation for saving clubs from relegation, has continued in his role but, working with new sporting director Jörg Schmadtke, could a semblance of stability finally be returning to the team from the Autostadt?

Fußball Bundesliga VfL Wolfsburg - Bayer Leverkusen (Getty Images/Bongarts/C. Koepsel)

Top of the league! Wout Weghorst celebrates with his new Wolfsburg teammates

Leon Goretzka scored his first goal for Bayern Munich when he put his new club 1-0 up against VfB Stuttgart on Saturday evening. In the second half, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller continued their impressive early-season form with goals to make it 2-0 and 3-0 respectively, and send the champions joint top of the league.

Werder Bremen eventually emerged victorious from an eventful game away at Eintracht Frankfurt thanks to a 96th-minute free-kick from Milot Rashica – but there was plenty of action before that. First, the VAR had to intervene to confirm that Yuya Osako was onside when giving Werder the lead, before Frankfurt's Dutch international Jetro Willems was sent off for a moment of madness when he struck Gebre Selassie in the face. Sebastian Haller equalized for the hosts from the penalty spot after Jiri Pavlenka had brought down Mijat Gacinovic in the area, injuring himself in the process.

After a 3-1 defeat away at Bayern on the opening day, Hoffenheim came from behind to beat Freiburg 3-1 and secure their first win of the season. Hungarian striker Adam Szalai scored in Munich last week and found the net twice on Saturday as well, giving him an early lead in the race for the Bundesliga's "goal-scorer cannon."

Borussia Dortmund were brought back down to earth after last weekend's rampant win over RB Leipzig as they were held to a frustrating 0-0 draw in Hannover on Friday night. The game came too early for new signing Paco Alacer who wasn't in the matchday squad – and the black-and-yellows could have done with the striker as a host of chances went begging.

Fußball 1. Bundesliga | Hannover 96 v Borussia Dortmund (Getty Images/Bongarts/M. Rose)

No way through: new signing Axel Witsel couldn't help Borussia Dortmund in Hannover

The stats:

Friday night's game between Hannover and Borussia Dortmund was the 53rd meeting between the two teams – and the first that ended goalless.

After spending last season on loan at Hoffenheim, Serge Gnabry made his Bayern Munich league debut when he came on for Franck Ribery. The French veteran on the other hand played his 250th Bundesliga game.

Bayern Munich's 3-0 win over Stuttgart was the 400th away win in the club's history.

After eight straight defeats, Werder Bremen finally won away at Eintracht Frankfurt at the ninth attempt.

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Wolfsburg was the first ever Bundesliga match featuring two Austrian goalkeepers (Ramazan Özcan and Pavao Pervan).

With four points from their opening two games, including a 1-1 draw with Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday, Augsburg have made their best ever start to a Bundesliga season.

Fußball Bundesliga FC Bayern - VfB Stuttgart (Getty Images/AFP/T. Kienzle)

400 - the number of away wins for Bayern Munich in the history of the Bundesliga

The quotes:

"C'est comme ça." (That's how it is)
– Borussia Dortmund coach Lucien Favre switched to his native French when asked why Mario Götze isn't getting in the team.

"Yes, it did give me a bit of a boost. But I can't have a kid every week. So I'll have to try and compensate for that"
– Wolfsburg goal-scorer Renato Steffen when asked if his performance was influenced by the birth of his son.

"You can blame me for the goal. You can blame me for losing the game. Everyone can hide behind me if they want; I've not got a problem with it"
– Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Ramazan Öczan.

"He's a good guy. Just like all Dutchmen" – Wolfsburg's Yannick Gerhardt on new teammate and goal-scorer Wout Weghorst

"I'm neither a doctor nor a nurse nor a psychic" – Freiburg president Fritz Keller when asked when coach Christian Streich will be back on the bench.

"It's great for him to score in his first game. Leon works hard and also drops deep; he's a very good player who will help us develop"
Arjen Robben with praise for new teammate Leon Goretzka.

"It's perfectly legitimate for opponents to try and close us down and make the pitch narrow. I spent five years playing against Bayern myself and of course you try and engage them in tackles, win the ball and break quickly"
Leon Goretzka has no problem with opponents taking a more physical approach against Bayern Munich.

"I don't have to comment on everything that happens in football or anywhere else on this planet. I've learnt over the years that you don't always have to have your say on everything"
– Stuttgart coach Tayfun Korkut when asked about Joachim Löw's World Cup analysis.

"At present, you just cannot beat Bayern Munich; the quality is simply incredibly high. Maybe we should consider a play-off system for the Bundesliga. At the moment, it's just a question of whether Bayern win the league on the 28th, 29th or 30th matchday"
– Stuttgart sporting director Michael Reschke with a potential solution to Bayern's dominance.

"The video assistant should only intervene in clear situations where the wrong decision has been made on the field – and then the decision should be taken in Cologne, where they can take into account all the things that the referee on the field couldn't see, not when he's seen the situation himself anyway"
– Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann on VAR.

"Our aim is to qualify for the Champions League. We want to finish between first and fourth in the league and progress as far as we can in the cups"
– Bayer Leverkusen CEO Fernando Carro de Prada on the Werkself's aims this season.

"Alcacer will fit perfectly into Dortmund's playing style. But BVB will still have to adapt to him a little bit too and play fewer long balls"
ex-Borussia Dortmund and Schalke defender and current Sky television expert Christoph Metzelder on Paco Alcacer.

The fans:

VfB Stuttgart supporters organized their 13th "Karawane Cannstatt," a huge fan march through the streets of Stuttgart ahead of their club's first home match of the season. This season's Karawane carried the motto "50+1 is non-negotiable" as Stuttgart fans protested in favor of German football's unique club ownership rule.

The atmosphere in the Mercedes-Benz Arena was one-sided however after the visiting Bayern Munich ultras spontaneously boycotted the match. Despite the DFB launching a pilot scheme to streamline the regulations governing fan equipment (flags, banners, drums, etc) inside Bundesliga stadiums, the Bayern ultras were prevented from taking their flags into the away end.

Only 800 Fortuna Düsseldorf supporters saw their team's 1-1 draw against RB Leipzig after the club's active fan scene, including the ultras, called for a boycott of the match in protest at the very presence of the Red Bull-backed side in the Bundesliga. Fortuna Düsseldorf themselves also got in on the act, refusing to mention the name of the energy drink manufacturer on their official website or social media channels.