Four to the fore
Aubameyang and three new signings combine to give Dortmund an opening win
(Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 17, 89 pen)
(Yoshinori Muto 90+2)
A regular and three new signings played their part in Borussia Dortmund's opening win yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Dortmund have started the season with a win in five of the last six seasons and they have not lost at home in the Bundesliga under coach Thomas Tuchel for 22 games in a row.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang resumed his duel with Robert Lewandowski to be the Bundesliga's top scorer by netting twice in the win over Mainz.
The Gabon star scored 25 Bundesliga goals last season, finishing second to Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski who had 30, and the duo look set to lead the way again this term.
Dortmund must be glad Aubameyang stayed while teammates Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Ilkay Guendogan and Mats Hummels all departed.
In the 17th minute, Aubameyang, unmarked at the far post, headed in the opener from a cross from the left by Germany winger Andre Schuerrle.
He doubled his tally on 89 minutes, when he converted a penalty after Schuerrle was brought down in the area. Mainz striker Yoshinori Muto then set up a nervous ending with an injury-time header.
Tuchel was without Marco Reus, who was watching from the stands as he recovers from a groin injury, but he started with three new signings.
He gave Bundesliga debuts to Spanish centre back Marc Bartra, signed from Barcelona, and 19-year-old French winger Ousmane Dembele, brought in from Rennes, while ex-Bayern midfielder Sebastian Rode also started.
The most outstanding of the three was Dembele, who was a real handful for Mainz. Every time he picked up the ball, he ran at the fullbacks, turning them inside and out.
With frightening pace, his ability while running with the ball was mesmerising. No wonder he was the Man of the Match.
But Tuchel wasn't satisfied with the win. He said: "They wanted to show everything they can do, which made things a bit nervous and not too tidy in our structure. Things were a bit tough, so it was a very laborious victory."
But a win is a win, and their main rivals Bayern would have taken note.
- Wire Services.
- Borussia M’gladbach 2 Bayer Leverkusen 1
- Hertha Berlin 2 Freiburg 1
- Cologne 2 Darmstadt 0
- Augsburg 0 Wolfsburg 2
- E Frankfurt 1 Schalke 0
- Hamburg 1 Ingolstadt 1
Wolfsburg open with win
VfL Wolfsburg got off to a winning start with a 2-0 victory at Augsburg yesterday morning (Singapore time).
Star off-season signing, Germany striker Mario Gomez - the Bundesliga's top scorer over the last decade - was not in the starting line-up as he regains his fitness after injury at Euro 2016.
But his new teammates picked up three points without him.
Wolves took the lead when Dutch striker Bas Dost fired across the face of goal and new signing Daniel Didavi lashed home a shot from the edge of the area on 35 minutes.
Swiss international left back Ricardo Rodriguez then drove in a low free-kick on 89 minutes.
Cologne enjoyed a 2-0 win at Darmstadt as Marcel Risse and Anthony Modeste both netted for the hosts.
Hamburg were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Ingolstadt as US international Bobby Wood's fine opening goal for the hosts was cancelled out by a late finish from Austria international Lukas Hinterseer.
Schalke 04 opened their season with a 1-0 defeat by 10-man Eintracht Frankfurt, as captain Alex Meier scored the first-half winner.
There was plenty of second-half drama as Meier had a penalty saved before the hosts were reduced to 10 men when their Jamaica international centre back Michael Hector was sent off for hauling down Schalke's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, who was through on goal.
Borussia Moenchengladbach beat Bayer Leverkusen 2-1 at home in a battle of two of Germany's Champions League representatives.
Andre Hahn scored for Gladbach just before the half-time whistle, only for Finland's Joel Pohjanpalo to equalise on his debut on 79 minutes, before Lars Stindl hit the winner five minutes from time. - AFP.
Win no consolation
Bayern Munich's 6-0 rout of Werder Bremen on Saturday morning (Singapore time) has caused concern in Germany.
German Football League president Reinhard Rauball admitted the opening fixture of the season will have done little to sell the Bundesliga overseas.
"Bayern played some very good football, but I was shocked by how little resistance Werder Bremen offered," Rauball told German radio.
"No one can argue that the match was on a knife-edge, but I hope the millions of viewers were pleased with the goals and can take that as some compensation." - AFP.