All eyes were on the Bundesliga over the weekend as it became the first major European league to resume the current season after a two-month break caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Each match was staged behind closed doors with just under 300 people in attendance, including players, coaches, referees, medical and emergency staff. In accordance with the government’s social distancing and health protocols, these individuals were required to go through necessary safety checks, including temperature tests, upon their entry into the stadium.
The much-anticipated Bundesliga fixtures saw Bayern Munich, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Borussia Dortmund reassert their places in Europe’s tightest battle for a league title, with RB Leipzig left behind as they were held to a draw at home.
Meanwhile, the likes of Fortuna Dusseldorf and SC Paderborn struggled to get themselves out of relegation trouble as they shared the spoils at the Merkur Spiel-Arena.
Without further ado, let us take a look at our game-by-game review of all the matches that took place in the Bundesliga this weekend.
Borussia Dortmund vs Schalke (0-4)
Borussia Dortmund kicked off the return of the Bundesliga season with a thumping 4-0 win over local rivals Schalke at the Signal Iduna Park on Saturday afternoon.
Erling Haaland put the hosts in the lead with a 29th-minute finish, taking his already-impressive tally for his new club to 13 goals. Raphael Guerreiro then doubled the score by taking advantage of an error by Schalke goalkeeper, Markus Schubert, just before the break.
Thorgan Hazard, who provided the assist for the opener, also managed to get his name on the scoresheet in the second half before Guerreiro completed a brace to secure the crucial three points.
The victory took BVB a point behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich but the reigning champions re-established their four-point lead at the top of the table on Sunday evening. Meanwhile, Schalke now sit at eighth place on the table, level on points with seventh-placed Freiburg.
Union Berlin vs Bayern Munich (0-2)
Bayern Munich promulgated their dominance in the Bundesliga as they restored their initial lead over second-placed Borussia Dortmund with a comfortable 2-0 win over Union Berlin in the capital city.
The Bavarians benefitted from the timely return of the talismanic Robert Lewandowski, who gave them the lead at the Stadion An der Alten Forsterei by scoring his 26th league goal of the season. Hansi Flick’s men were largely untroubled throughout the game and took home all three points after Benjamin Pavard netted a late second-half header from Joshua Kimmich’s corner.
The Munich giants are currently four points clear at the summit of the Bundesliga while Eisern Union remain in 12th place, seven points clear of the relegation play-off spot.
RB Leipzig vs Freiburg (1-1)
RB Leipzig suffered yet another setback in the title race as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Freiburg on their return to Bundesliga action on Saturday afternoon.
The visitors took the lead at the Red Bulls Arena courtesy of Manuel Gulde, who diverted Vincenzo Grifo’s corner into the back of the net in the 34th minute. Die Roten Bullen were largely dominant during the game but failed to make the most of their chances, with the equaliser coming as late as the 77th minute courtesy of Yussuf Poulsen’s header.
Freiburg appeared to have scored the winner in the closing stages of the game when Robin Koch converted Lucas Holer’s header but it was ultimately ruled out for offside by VAR, leaving the two teams to share the spoils at the end of the game.
The draw means RB Leipzig lose their place in the top three to Borussia Monchengladbach as they fall to the final Champions League spot. Meanwhile, Freiburg are closing in on the Europa League spots as they move up to seventh place on the table.
Hoffenheim vs Hertha Berlin (0-3)
Hoffenheim suffered a humiliating 3-0 defeat to Hertha Berlin at their PreZero Arena as Bruno Labbadia won his first game in charge of the visiting team on Saturday.
The Berlin outfit broke the deadlock with a fortunate deflection as Kevin Akpoguma diverted Peter Pekarik’s long-range shot into his own net early in the second half. Vedad Ibisevic then doubled the visitors’ lead with a header before Matheus Cunha netted an incredible solo goal to wrap up their victory.
The win means Hertha Berlin move up to 11th place on the Bundesliga standings with 31 points while Hoffenheim remain at ninth place with 35 points.
Fortuna Dusseldorf vs Paderborn (0-0)
Dusseldorf and Paderborn played out a goalless draw at the Merkur Spiel-Arena on Saturday, with both sides squandering a great opportunity to secure points that could potentially help them get out of the relegation zone.
The result leaves Paderborn at the bottom of the Bundesliga table with 17 points, nine points away from safety, and Dusseldorf at 16th place with 23 points.
Augsburg vs Wolfsburg (1-2)
Wolfsburg boosted their hopes of playing European football next season by establishing a dramatic 2-1 win over Augsburg at the WWK Arena on Saturday.
Renato Steffen opened the bank for the visitors with a 43rd-minute header from a Maximilian Arnold free-kick but the lead did not last long as the hosts promptly responded with an equaliser in the second half courtesy of Tin Jedvaj.
Augsburg appeared to have broken the deadlock with Felix Uduokhai’s header later in the game but it was unfortunately disallowed by VAR. They ended up suffering their fourth consecutive Bundesliga defeat after Daniel Ginczek struck a stoppage-time goal to snatch a victory for Wolfsburg.
The result leaves Wolfsburg at sixth position with 39 points and Augsburg at 14th place with 27 points.
Eintracht Frankfurt vs Borussia Monchengladbach (1-3)
Borussia Monchengladbach renewed their hopes of winning their first Bundesliga title since 1977 after securing a 3-1 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday.
The visitors took the lead in the first minute of the game courtesy of Alassane Plea before Marcus Thuram doubled their tally six minutes later. Ramy Bensebaini, who registered an assist for the second goal, then netted his side’s third goal from the penalty spot. The hosts secured a consolation goal eight minutes later courtesy of Andre Silva but it was ultimately too late for them to stimulate a comeback.
The victory takes Gladbach to the third spot on the standings, six points adrift of league leaders Bayern Munich. Meanwhile, Frankfurt now find themselves at 13th place with 28 points.
FC Köln vs Mainz (2-2)
FC Koln squandered a two-goal lead against Mainz at their Rhein Energie Stadium and ended up sharing the spoils in what was an exciting clash on Sunday.
Mark Uth gave the hosts an early lead as he converted from the penalty spot in the sixth minute before Florian Kainz doubled their tally with a goal after the break. Unfortunately for the Cologne-based outfit, their visitors commanded an inspiring comeback in the second half as Taiwo Awoniyi and Pierre Kunde helped bring the game level with two goals in ten minutes.
The result leaves Koln at 10th place on the table with 33 points, two points behind Hoffenheim. Meanwhile, Mainz find themselves at 15th place, four points ahead of Fortuna Dusseldorf, who are just five points adrift of the relegation zone.
Werder Bremen vs Bayer Leverkusen (1-4)
Bayer Leverkusen ended the weekend’s round of fixtures with a 4-1 win over Werder Bremen at the Weser Stadium on Monday.
Kai Havertz, who had scored five goals in eight games before the Bundesliga’s suspension, gave the visitors the lead in the 28th minute before Theodor Gebre Selassie netted the equaliser for the hosts on the half-hour mark. However, it did not take long for Havertz to restore his side’s lead as he converted another header just three minutes later.
Leverkusen wrapped up their victory with second-half goals from Mitchell Weiser and Demirbay and consolidated the fifth position on the standings. Meanwhile, Bremen now occupy the relegation play-off spot, five points away from 16th-placed Dusseldorf.