Europa League participants Eintracht Frankfurt finally got their season on track with a 2-0 victory over Eintracht Braunschweig. And Augsburg battled their way to a big win over fellow southern Germans Stuttgart.
Frankfurt coach Armin Veh can breath a sigh of relief. Last year's pleasant surprises opened their account after losses to Hertha Berlin and Bayern Munich in the first two rounds of 2013-14.
Visitors Frankfurt were the better side right from the start and were unlucky not to get on the board in the first half against newly promoted Braunschweig. It took a bit of luck to break the ice in the 52nd minute. Alex Meier's shot deflected off the chest of defender Ermin Bicakcic and into the net.
And ten minutes later, Stefan Aigner picked off a disastrous pass by Ornar Elabdellaoui and doubled the Eagles' advantage. Braunschweig's toothless Lions were unable to mount a fight-back and remain at the bottom of the table with zero points.
"I sensed that we were afraid in the first half, and it didn't get noticeably better in the second," Braunschweig coach Torsten Lieberknecht told reporters. "Frankfurt completely deserved to win."
The Eagles now have some welcome momentum ahead of their Europa League match on Thursday.
Augsburg shock Stuttgart
Sunday’s late match also featured two teams, Augsburg and Stuttgart, looking for their first points of 2013-14. And hosts Augsburg came out swinging and took a deserved lead after only six minutes. Stuttgart failed to deal with a long free kick, and Halil Altintop poked home.
A half-hour later Augsburg got a second – also on a free kick. Raphael Holzhauser, on loan to Augsburg from Stuttgart, put the ball in front of goal and Jan-Ingwer Callsen-Bracker headed in.
Augsburg were in control, but just before the break captain Paul Verhaegh foolishly brought down Alexandru Maxim in the box. Vedad Ibisevic converted the penalty.
Coach Bruno Labbadia substituted in additional attackers, Martin Harnik and Ibrahima Traoré, after the break, and Stuttgart looked livelier. But they were down to ten men after Traoré was shown an incredibly harsh red card in the 70th minute. It was the eighth sending off of the weekend – a new Bundesliga record for one round.
Augsburg should have easily put the game away, but they squandered a number of counter-attacking chances. Still, Stuttgart couldn’t engineer an equalizer, and the match ended 2-1.
"Today everything worked out," said a clearly relieved Augsburg coach Markus Weinzierl. "We scored some goals and earned some points."
By contrast, Stuttgart are stuck on zero and are second-to-last in the table. Labbadia’s job is now in serious jeopardy.