Cologne - The 53rd Bundesliga campaign got off to an electric start in more ways than one this past weekend.
While there were emphatic wins for the likes of FC Bayern München, Borussia Dortmund and FC Schalke 04, it was the Bundesliga’s resident petrol heads that really got fans talking.
The chequered flag came down in Munich, where Douglas Costa put in yet another exemplary display on his Bundesliga debut. The Brazilian wide man scored one and chipped in with an assist as the champions started the campaign as they clearly mean to go on with a resounding 5-0 success over Hamburger SV.
To the disbelief of the HSV defence, the 24-year-old registered an eye-watering speed of 32.5 kilometres per hours (kmph) as he raced towards the byline to keep an overcooked pass from Mario Götze in play, before directing a mind-blowing pass onto the head of Thomas Müller with the outside of his left boot for Bayern's third. Even at full tilt, he still managed to hit his mark.
SV Darmstadt 98’s Marcel Heller must have taken some kind of inspiration from Costa’s display, judging by his performance in Saturday's barnstorming 2-2 draw with Hannover 96 at the inimitable Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor. In the 31st minute of the contest - the Lilies' first in the German top flight in over 33 years - the 29-year-old led a rapier-like break, hoodwinked the entire visiting defence and smashed into the far corner.
It was a veritable blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment. 19 of the 22 players on the pitch at the time were left eating dust as Heller hit speeds of 34.2 kmph, nutmegged Miiko Albornoz and rifled beyond Germany international Ron-Robert Zieler in the Hannover goal. The only other player on either side to get anywhere near him in the acceleration department was Hannover’s Edgar Prib, who clocked an impressive 33.5 kmph.
Borussia Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went faster still, reaching a top speed of 34.3 kmph as he selflessly teed up Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s first of the evening in a sparkling 4-0 win at home to Borussia Mönchengladbach. The supersonic Gabon international's pace is no secret, but it looks as though he might have gone up a gear during pre-season.
A tough lesson, then, for Lucien Favre's young Foals, who certainly could have used Karim Bellarabi at the Signal Iduna Park, the Bayer 04 Leverkusen winger taking pole on Matchday 1 after recording a turbo-charged 34.6 kmph in die Werkself's 2-1 victory over TSG 1899 Hoffenheim. Nico Rosberg, eat your heart out.
Thomas Ziemann / Adaptation: Christopher Mayer-Lodge