Bayern and Dortmund in rhythm as Bundesliga giants set tone

By Derek Wilson, dpa

Both Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund had early slips in the Bundesliga campaign but have since become stronger and stronger.

Title-holders Bayern Munich swatted away last season’s Bundesliga runners-up RB Leipzig before dismissing Barcelona in the Champions League while Borussia Dortmund won a thriller at Bayer Leverkusen before triumphing in Turkey.

While neither currently top the table – that honour belongs to perfect Wolfsburg – both will expect their title bids to keep gathering pace in matchday five this weekend.

Bayern, second and two points off the pace setters, host promoted Bochum on Saturday and Dortmund, a place and point behind them, welcome Union Berlin on Sunday before Wolfsburg complete the weekend at home to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Dortmund won 2-1 at Besiktas on Wednesday in a high-paced encounter which saw English teenager Jude Bellingham open the scoring before – inevitably – Erling Haaland struck the winner.

“We’re very satisfied with our first games,” the 18-year-old Bellingham said. “It’s a lot of fun to win football matches with Borussia Dortmund. We need to continue in the same fashion.”

The astonishing 21-year-old Norwegian Haaland meanwhile continued average of more than a goal per competitive game for Dortmund and took his all-competition tally to nine for the season already.

“I’m a goalscorer, that’s my job,” he said simply. “So I have to score goals.”

Union will arrive in Dortmund having played away to Slavia Prague in the new Europa Conference League on Thursday but Bochum have no such distractions ahead of their trip to Munich.

However, the newcomers have just one win and three losses so far on their return to the top-flight and with Bayern “getting better from game to game,” according to Joshua Kimmich, could be up against it again.

Coach Thomas Reis expects his team to come under pressure but told the Bild paper: “We are in pure anticipation. Bayern are doing super but yet they are not unbeatable.”

An unlikely combination of results, starting with Greuther Fuerth not winning at Hertha Berlin on Friday, could even send Bochum into the bottom two should they lose.

Part of that combination however would also need Wolfsburg’s run of four wins to come to an end at home to Frankfurt, who are yet to taste victory.

Wolfsburg drew in Lille with 10-men to start their Champions League group on Tuesday while Frankfurt keeper Kevin Trapp insisted they had an “interesting team that’s capable of achieving great things,” despite their slow start ahead of Thursday’s Europa League opener with Fenerbahce.

RB Leipzig, the Bundesliga’s other representative in the Champions League, return to domestic duty at Cologne in Saturday’s late game after losing 6-3 at Manchester City on Wednesday.

They have only three points so far and are in danger of losing touch at the top just a few games into the reign of new coach Jesse Marsch.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us and it’s a shame that we haven’t found the rhythm that we were hoping for,” Marsch admitted.

Saturday’s other games are Mainz v Freiburg, Augsburg v Borussia Moenchengladbach and Arminia Bielefeld v Hoffenheim while Sunday starts with VfB Stuttgart v Bayer Leverkusen.

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