The 49th instalment of Germany’s top professional league began much the way it finished last term – with a 3-1 home win for Deutscher Meister Borussia Dortmund.
The side they beat last May were of course Eintracht Frankfurt, who had to bare the ignominy of being relegated on the day their opponents lifted the Salad Bowl. This weekend, it was Hamburg who were blown out of the water by the incisive and thrusting style Jürgen Klopp has impressed upon his young side.
Dortmund were simply too good on the night for a young and very much ‘work-in-progress’ Hamburg. Nuri Sahin may be gone, Lucas Barrios and Marcel Schmelzer might be injured, but die Schwatzgelben nonchalantly disposed of Michael Oenning’s men within 48 minutes.
Dortmund were vibrant from the start. Quick, purposeful passing was backed up with pressing that bordered on harassment at times. Their midfield, on paper largely the same as last year but with Ilkay Gündogan in for the departed Sahin, popped the ball around swiftly like they’d never been away. Ex-Nürnberger Gündogan lined up alongside Sven Bender, but it was Shinji Kagawa who often dropped deep in order to create room high up the pitch.
And 2011/2s first goalscorer is....
This Dortmund side is beginning to draw tentative comparisons with a certain Catalan outfit. There are similarities with the way they conduct themselves off the ball, but Borussia’s first goal showed they are not afraid to go direct. A long punt upfield was controlled by Lewandowski, who turned and gave the ball to Götze. One pass, a hopelessly out of position Dennis Diekmeier, and two Kevin Groβkreutz touches later, the ball was in the back of the net.
By this stage, Dortmund were rampant. Kagawa hit the post after seemingly doing all the hard work. Minutes later Groβkreutz was again away down the left and his clever pull back found the Japanese in acres once again. This time Shinji pushed his shot wide of Drobny’s goal.
Average attendance: 79,150 (1st)
Number of sell outs: 13 (3rd)
Top scorer: Lucas Barrios (16)
Most assists: Mario Götze (11)
Red cards: 1 (Subotic)
Most minutes: Marcel Schmelzer – 3060
An opening day home defeat to Leverkusen, group stage elimination from the Europa League and dumped out of the Pokal at third division Kickers Offenbach… Three things you probably wouldn’t associate with runaway champions.
Yet that’s what Borussia Dortmund were in 2010/11. Deserved Deutscher Meisters for the 7th time.
So the summer is here, and club football is over. At least it is until the fixture list comes out (June 21st), the 2.Bundesliga returns (15th July), the Supercup raises the curtain (23rd July) and Borussia Dortmund officially kicks off the 49th chapter of Germany’s top professional league (5th August). ‘Till then, with Manuel Neuer’s transfer saga already wrapped up, all we’ve got to keep us busy are relics from the season just gone. With that in mind, here’s a list of my top stats from the 2010/11 season. The list is by no means exhaustive and any additional suggestions are welcome…
13,054,974 people passed the gates of Bundesliga grounds this season. A new record with an average of 42,663 per game.
169 Bundesliga games sold out this season. That’s 55.2%, and up from 135 the season before.
Wolfsburg were the least attractive game for fans this season with an average of only 40,957 people going to see their away games. St. Pauli were the biggest home draw with 44,945.
Bayern Munich extended their home league sell-out streak to 75 games. The last time they failed to sell out was against VfL Bochum in January 2007.
Borussia Dortmund’s 23 wins is the best since Bayern Munich notched up 24 in the 2004/05 season.
Bayer Leverkusen picked up 36 away points – the best since Hamburg in 2005/06 (36 points with a slightly better goal difference).
Mainz 05 put seven wins together from the start of the season. Only two sides have done this previously – Bayern (2001/02) and Kaiserslautern (1995/96) – and on all three occasions, Borussia Dortmund have gone onto win the league.