AH, BAYERN MUNICH. Where would we be without you? The Bavarian outfit’s season has got off to a predictably dramatic start, involving problems with a new signing, Jekyll and Hyde form, and the usual boardroom troubles.
Big-money signing Manuel Neuer had a nightmare debut on opening day, as the Bavarians went down 1-0 to Borussia M’Gladbach, while the Godfather figure of Uli Hoeness looms over new manager Jupp Heynckes. The latter has even been forced to reject rumours that it was Hoeness who applied the “hairdryer” at half-time during the team’s Champion’s League qualification win over FC Zurich last Wednesday.
Bayern were in the zone on Saturday, though, putting together a 5-0 drubbing of Hamburg in which Arjen Robben was the star.
Bundesliga champs Broussia Dortmund had a comfortable 2-0 win over Nuremburg, Kevin Grosskreutz and Robert Lewandowski with the goals. They have managed to retain nearly all of last season’s title winning side– Nuri Sahin being the only high-profile exit– and Mario Goetze is playing so well he has been likened to Lionel Messi by Franz Beckenbauer, of all people. No pressure.
First stop: the capital, where big spenders Paris St. Germain had a somewhat fortunate 2-1 win over Valenciennes. A 64th-minute Nenê penalty settled the game for the Parisians, who started record signing Javier Pastore on the bench.
Montpellier thrashed Rennes 4-0 to move to the top of the table. Reported Arsenal target Yann M’vila started for Rennes, who struggled after their Europa League qualifier midweek.
Eden Hazard again proved the catalyst as Lille recovered from last week’s loss to Montpellier to beat Caen 2-1 away. Lyon were forced to settle for a 1-1 with Brest.
The moment of the weekend belonged to Adrien Regattin of Toulouse who equalised spectacularly in stoppage time during his team’s 1-1 draw with Nice.
It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for the pretenders to the Eredivisie. Defending champions Ajax managed to overcome a two-goal deficit and salvage a draw away to VVV-Venlo, a late Guyon Fernandez strike rescued a point for Feyenoord against H Almelo, and PSV recovered from their early-season jitters with a routine 3-0 win over Den Haag.
The result (and performance) of the weekend, however, belonged to table-toppers FC Twente, whose 5-1 thumping of Heerenveen preserved their 100% league record.
Amir Bajrami had the pick of the goals with this long-range scorcher.
The cycle will have to start again for Porto. After losing Andre Villas Boas to Chelsea, Europe’s ultimate feeder club also lost star striker Radamel Falcao to Athletico Madrid last week in a €35m deal. The champions still have Hulk, though, and he scored twice in the club’s 3-1 over Gil Vicente at the weekend.
He didn’t mess about with this free-kick.
The Primeira Liga’s other giants, Benfica, secured their first win of the season with a 3-1 home win over Feirense.
The mad, bad world of Serie A kicks off next week with a lot of unanswered questions.
Will Aquilani come home and stay fit? Will Wesley Sneijder be in the San Siro next Sunday night? How will Pirlo fit in at Juve? And which Robinho can we expect this season?
Only one thing seems certain: Ibrahimovic will win another scudetto; it’s what he does.
League tables from ESPN