As is tradition in the Bundesliga, the reigning champions Bayern Munich opened the season at home to a fairly new look Bayer Leverkusen.
The champions— who had a surprisingly underwhelming pre-season and really won the German Super Cup as a result of terrible finishing and defending from Dortmund— looked dominant and could’ve [and probably should’ve] run rampant over Leverkusen, coming away with only a 3-1 win. An incredible display considering the Bavarians had three new signings in their team, lost two amazing players in Xabi Alonso and Philipp Lahm to retirement, and were also missing other valuable starters through injury— Neuer, Boateng and Thiago. Also missing from the team through injury was superstar James, who is on loan from Real Madrid.
Leverkusen’s new coach chose a fairly offensive line-up, which didn’t pay off as expected and the Bavarians were dominant in midfield having been allowed far too much space to run amok.
New signings, Corentin Tolisso, Niklas Süle and Sebastian Rudy, were in the starting line-up for Bayern and both Tolisso and Süle were able to notch a debut goal, while Rudy bagged an assist— Süle scored in the 9th minute, getting on the end of a Rudy free-kick and Tolisso finished off a corner in the 18th minute after a poor clearance from the goalkeeper sent the ball into the path of Vidal, who then found Tolisso with a neat chip to the back post.
Süle partnered Hummels in the centre of defence in wake of Boateng’s absence and looked impregnable alongside his countryman, while Rudy, Tolisso and Vidal made up the three-man midfield. Tolisso was lively throughout the game and linked up well with his new team-mates, managing to create a number of chances including one moments after scoring, which hit the inside of the post.
Sven Bender made his debut for Leverkusen alongside Jonathan Tah in defense but was utterly out-played by Bayern, and his new team was unable to get anything going in the first half, with the exception of a couple of chances from Mehmedi and Volland. After finally making it to the starting 11, Leon Bailey was a ghost for die Werkself and was swiftly substituted at the start of the second half for Julian Brandt, who brought some life to their attack. Leverkusen’s livelier second half efforts were rewarded in the 65th minute through Mehmedi’s belter after a lay off in the box from Brandt.
Also making it’s debut in the Bundesliga was the video assistant referee (VAR), which was called upon by the referee Tobias Stieler in the 51st minute to identify a foul on Lewandowski by Aránguiz in the penalty box.
Bayern looked thrilling and played scintillating football, all without key players. They look set to once again dominate the Bundesliga and make it six titles in a row. Their squad also has depth, which will come in handy in the Champions League.