Eleven wins, three draws and two defeats. RB Leipzig have surprised many spectators and pundits with their successful run in the Bundesliga so far. After explaining their football philosophy in a previous article, we now examine a few successful displays in recent months.
When a bull is furiously running through the prairie, the earth is shaking. The fauna is on the alert. Everyone knows that a bull is an unstoppable force of nature once he has picked up pace. It is not surprising that a team associated with the image of that animal tries to emulate the bull’s fierceness. It is not surprising that a team with the ambition to become the next big player in German football tries to establish a catchy identity.
Bayern produced their best performance of the season to thrash a weak RB Leipzig in the most eagerly-anticipated match of the now-passed Hinrunde. Ancelotti’s side skilfully handled the visitors’ pressing, which had an off-day lacking several features which define their excellent success so far. Sadly, the game was practically over by the 30th minute, after Forsberg was dismissed for a challenge on Lahm while an excellent Bayern were already two ahead. Therefore, the analysis focuses largely on the first half of football.
In what is considered the Bundesliga blockbuster Borussia Dortmund were able to secure a 1-0 win over Bayern Munich. Thomas Tuchel’s side scored an early goal and protected the lead to the end, despite Bayern’s continuous control after 25 minutes.
RB Leipzig continued their exceptional unbeaten start to the season with an away win at the Volkswagen Stadium. They felled a Wolfsburg team who join the list of teams who failed to cope with the intensity of Hasenhüttl’s side.
Roger Schmidt’s Leverkusen hosted Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund at the BayArena on Saturday evening. The clash pitted two of the more progressive tacticians in world football against each other with what many consider to be similarly talented squads. Leverkusen were searching for their first consecutive league wins of the season whilst Dortmund were looking for their 4th consecutive league win.
After Dortmund’s issues were clear to see in their opening win against Mainz, they were completely exposed by RB Leipzig. The pressing of the hosts gave them full control over the match for large periods in what was a disappointing performance for Tuchel’s side.
Gladbach hosted Leverkusen in their opening fixture of the new Bundesliga campaign on Saturday afternoon. The game was a repeat of the fixture last may where Gladbach all but secured their top 4 spot and Champions League qualification. Although no such prize was on offer for victory in this game, both sides will be fighting to secure similar positions again this season.
It is rare to see a team lose its three most crucial players all within the same transfer window. Yet over the course of 2016’s off-season, Borussia Dortmund have surrendered Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gündogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Bayern and Premier League. Despite such big losses, Tuchel and the management have replaced well and the squad is looking promising for the coming season. Reinforced by the signing of numerous young players alongside Schürrle and the return of Götze, Dortmund have a squad with great potential with the next few seasons in mind. However, their most important player may have already been at the club.
Dortmund started the new Bundesliga campaign in less spectacular manner than that of the season just gone. They showed particular struggles in possession as they adjust to life without Hummels, Gündogan and Mkhitaryan. Although Tuchel’s men were able to overcome Mainz, it wasn’t the most comfortable of performances against what was an effective defensive strategy from the away team.