European champions Bayern Munich labored to a 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, while both Hamburg SV and UEFA Champions League side Schalke 04 suffered heavy defeats in the Bundesliga.
Croatia international striker Mario Mandzukic gave Bayern the three points at Eintracht, who were humbled 6-1 at Hertha BSC the previous weekend, when he volleyed home a cross from Germany international Thomas Mueller on 13 minutes.
However, it was a rare highlight in a below-par performance as the reigning champions failed to dominate, despite enjoying 70 percent possession, while Frankfurt captain Alex Maier had a penalty appeal turned down in the dying stages.
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, taking charge of only his second Bundesliga match, started with Dutch winger Arjen Robben, Germany star striker Mario Goetze and new signing Thiago Alcantara all on the bench, while Spain’s Javi Martinez failed to even make the squad.
Guardiola put the below-par performance down to last week’s international fixtures when Bayern had 15 players away.
“There are always difficult games when players have been away for international matches and we can only train for two or three days together,” said Guardiola, whose side beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-1 on the opening weekend. “I’m happy with the way we controlled the game, it was much better than the week before against ’Gladbach when we allowed too many counterattacks. We still created plenty of chances, so I’m happy and 100 percent satisfied.”
Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo, who signed for VfL Wolfsburg last week from Bayern after rejecting offers from Arsenal and Barcelona, made his debut in the 4-0 win at home to Schalke 04.
The Royal Blues lost Netherlands striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar at the break with a knee injury and Wolfsburg took full advantage with three goals in 12 second-half minutes by defender Knoche, Portuguese midfielder Vieirinha and Brazilian defender Naldo.
Striker Stefan Kutschke then hit the fourth just five minutes after coming off the bench.
Having drawn 3-3 at Hamburg the previous weekend, Schalke need to find some form ahead of their UEFA Champions League playoff first leg at home to Greece’s PAOK on Wednesday and coach Jens Keller has called extra training.
“I’ll work on a few things with the team on Sunday, I can’t ignore a result like that,” Keller said.
Hamburg SV were humiliated 5-1 at home to TSG 1899 Hoffenheim as Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino ran riot, scoring twice and setting up the other three.
Firmino’s partner, French striker Anthony Modeste, a new signing from Ligue 1 outfit SC Bastia, had plenty to boast about with two well-taken second-half goals.
“I didn’t like the fact we fell apart,” Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink said. “We were very, very, very bad defensively, it was an example of how not to defend. We don’t have to sugarcoat anything, we just have to work hard and win back the fans’ trust.”
FSV Mainz 05 enjoyed a 2-1 win at SC Freiburg, while Champions League side Bayer 04 Leverkusen topped the table ahead of Bayern after picking up their second win of the season with a 1-0 victory at VfB Stuttgart thanks to an own-goal by the hosts’ defender Daniel Schwaab.
Werder Bremen also enjoyed another win, 1-0 at home to Augsburg, while Borussia Moenchengladbach bounced back from their opening day defeat at Bayern with a 3-0 win at home over Hannover 96.