Terry Duffelen
Tue 18 August 2009

Bundesbag Week 2 - Hecking moves closer to the edge

OK so we're only two games in but could we be seeing the early signs of how the new Bundesliga season is going to shape up? At the end of last season, most pundits believed that Wolfsburg might dip somewhat following their magnificent success last season and the inevitable departure of their best forwards, not to mention that of Svengali coach Felix Magath. However, with Dzeko, Grafite and Misimovic safely in harness, the Wolves have picked up where they left off last season with two straight wins.

Their most recent triumph was at Koln. The home side played well and took the lead through Fabrice Ehret. The champions piled on the pressure in the second half and eventually Grafite scored the equaliser. Unwilling to leave it at that, Armin Veh's team pushed on and forced a ricket out of Koln midfielder Pierre Wome who's glancing header ended up in the back of his own net. New signing Obafemi Martins finished the job and flattened the partisan home support.

That's the sort of start that would have you sat proudly atop the fledgling league. However, Wolfsburg were to be denied that honour by their former coach, the aforementioned Felix Magath whose Schalke team beat local rivals Bochum 3-0. Magath has promoted a number of young players into the first team, presumably in the hope that it will change the dynamic in the dressing room. One of them is Christophe Moritz who scored a lovely goal to get things going. The other goals were scored by Heiko Westermann and Jefferson Farfan, both of whom seem much improved from the moribund days under Fred Rutten last season.

Missing from the top of the table are Bayern Munich. This time they were thwarted by a resilient Werder Bremen side still smarting from their home defeat to Frankfurt last week. Mesut Ozil seems to be slipping comfortably into Diego's shorts and put his team 1-0 up with a technically difficult shot in the penalty area. Franck Ribery started on the bench for Bayern and it took his guile to finally break down Werder's resolve. Mario Gomez scored his first league goal for his new club, from a Phillip Lahm cross, to level the game up. 1-1 was the final score.

Gomez' old side Stuttgart look like they'll do just fine without him. His replacement is Pavel Pogrebnyak and like Gomez, he scored his first goal on his home debut in his new club's 4-2 win over Freiburg. That's four goals conceded in two games though which suggests that Markus Babbel may need to swat up on defensive tactics while he is doing his coaching badges.

Elsewhere, Bayer Leverkusen returned to the new and improved Bayarena after a pretty disastrous half-season at Dusseldorf. They immediately made themselves comfortable with a handy 1-0 win over Hoffenheim. Stefan Kiessling had the honour of scoring the first league goal at the revamped stadium. Frankfurt's first home game wasn't quite as impressive as their win at Bremen but a 1-1 draw against a decent Nurnberg side keeps their unbeaten run going at least. Marcus Berg started paying back his record transfer fee by contributing to Hamburg's 4-1 demolition of BVB. 'Gladbach will win many friends with the attacking verve of Juan Arango and Karim Matmour. However, if the latter continues to go on the attack deep into injury time when his team are 2-1 up and he is handily placed near the corner flag they will certainly drop points over the course of the season. On this occasion no harm was done and 'Gladbach promise to be good value this season and not among the worst teams in the Bundesliga.

Unlike Hannover 96 who are pretty awful. Coach Dieter Hecking was under pressure before the 1-1 draw with Mainz. His position as coach is now under direct threat after the game. The club's board have publicly backed him, however if he comes through the next two fixtures at Nurnberg and at home to the Hoff without a decent points haul, he could be gone assuming he lasts that long.*

The official Bundesbag 2 Bundesliga Game Of The Week was the clash between the two new boys and top two teams in the division, Union Berlin and Fortuna Dusseldorf. There was a cracking atmosphere at An der alten Försterei which has been completely refurbished during the close season using labour and materials supplied entirely by the supporters. Their hard work and dedication was rewarded by a home win. Kenan Sahin was the scorer in Union's 1-0 victory. Hat's off to the Iron Union.

That's it. Results and tables here. Follow the Bundesbag on Twitter and on Goalpostr.

*Hannover 96 parted company with Dieter Hecking on Wednesday 19th August

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