Robin Gosens (c) scored his first goals for Union over the weekend. - © IMAGO/Jan Huebner
Robin Gosens (c) scored his first goals for Union over the weekend. - © IMAGO/Jan Huebner

The five takeaways from Matchday 2


As many as five teams continued their perfect starts to the 2023/24 season, with Bayern Munich, Union Berlin, Bayer Leverkusen, Wolfsburg and Freiburg all enjoying maximum returns from the season to date. looks back at five stand-out moments from a weekend that brought drama, goals, last-gasp celebrations and come-from-behind wins aplenty. 

1) Watch out for Leipzig

It's still early days, of course, but this 2023/24 RB Leipzig cohort look like they mean business. Serious business. The 3-0 Supercup triumph over Bayern in early August was a clear statement of their intent, but the Matchday 1 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen (more on them below) showed they are still are work in progress following a summer of personnel upheaval.

That feeling was underlined in the first half of their Matchday 2 curtain-raiser at home to VfB Stuttgart on Friday, when they went in 1-0 down against an impressive away side. Unfazed, Marco Rose’s side blasted Stuttgart away in the second half, scoring five goals without reply to serve up a reminder, in case any was needed, that Die Roten Bullen remain a formidable force. Dani Olmo and Xavi Simons snap, crackle and popped in the final third, while Lois Openda netted his second Bundesliga goal in as many games.

Watch: RB Leipzig 5-1 VfB Stuttgart - highlights

“I think we did a lot of things well in the first half,” Rose said afterwards. “At the end of the day we scored a lot of goals. Despite the goal we conceded, we were really good from around the 20-minute mark. We had good chances, were patient and dangerous. In the second half we just kept getting more incisive and in the end deserved to win 5-1.”

An awkward trip to high-flying Union Berlin will offer the next indication of where this Leipzig side stand, before a reunion with Bayern at the end of September. Having scored 10 goals in their three competitive games so far this term, entertainment is guaranteed.

2) Leverkusen look the real deal 

Werkself fans have endured a few frustrating years watching a talented, attack-minded side fall short of their own lofty expectations, but that all looks set to change now. After lifting Leverkusen from 17th to a sixth-place finish after taking charge last season, Xabi Alonso is continuing to work his magic in 2023/24.

His charges were not handed a kind fixture list at the start of the campaign, with matches against Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach, but they have won them both and impressed in doing so.

Watch: Victor Boniface "really happy" about first Bundesliga goals

Victor Boniface already appears to be an inspired signing, the Nigerian having 11 shots at goal and scoring twice in the 3-0 win over Gladbach, while Florian Wirtz and Jonas Hofmann were unplayable in attacking midfield.

“We played well and controlled the game well,” said Alonso afterwards. “We had a good first half and I’m satisfied with the performance but we need to stay focused and take things one game at a time.” Darmstadt, who have lost both of their Bundesliga games this season, will be quaking at the prospect of stifling Alonso’s side next week, before a mouth-watering showdown in Munich on Matchday 4.

3) Union Berlin 2.0

If Union have earned a reputation over the last couple of years for being plucky underdogs, punching above their weight thanks to a well-drilled collective, devoid of stars but boasting supreme tactical discipline, defensive coordination and snatching wins on the break, a new narrative is now needed.

This season’s results read: two Bundesliga games, two wins, two 4-1 scorelines. Those eight goals mean they are the league’s top scorers; striker Kevin Behrens leads the individual chart with four; while Josip Juranovic and Aissa Laidouni each have a league-leading two assists.

Not only that, but head coach Urs Fischer has sprinkled a dusting of star power on his squad ahead of their UEFA Champions League debut this term, with Robin Gosens, Kevin Volland and Brenden Aaronson among the new arrivals.

So good are Union, in fact, that they even scored three goals after being reduced to 10 men when Aaronson was sent off in Darmstadt on Saturday. “We started well and could have added to our early lead but were too unprecise,” Fischer analysed. “Suddenly we were a man down and conceded the equaliser but the team showed tremendous character. Set-pieces can decide games and we were very dangerous from those.”

4) Super Saturday spectacle

Nobody does drama quite like the Bundesliga – and Saturday afternoon was no exception. Heidenheim appeared to be on course for a historic first top-flight win in their debut campaign, having taken a 2-0 lead at home to Hoffenheim. However, that all changed with 13 minutes left on the clock as Maximilian Beier, Pavel Kaderabek and Andrej Kramaric turned the game around to give the visitors the spoils.

There was a last-gasp goal in Freiburg too, with new signing Maximilian Philipp – back in the Black Forest for the second time - hitting a 96th minute winner against his former club Werder Bremen to hand Christian Streich’s side a second win in as many games.

Wolfsburg likewise have two from two after coming from behind to defeat Cologne. The Billy Goats took the lead through Luca Waldschmidt, on loan at the club from – you guessed it – Wolfsburg, only for the Wolves to hit back in the second half with a Jonas Wind double. The Denmark forward now has four Bundesliga goals this term, following his brace against Heidenheim last week.

Dortmund, meanwhile, were held to a 1-1 draw in Bochum for a third consecutive season in the ‘little Revierderby’. A Kevin Stöger rocket gave the hosts the lead early in the first half, and they could have had more in a game in which they were allowed 17 shots at Gregor Kobel’s goal. However, as has frequently been the case in recent months, Donyell Malen came to BVB’s rescue with his 11th league goal in 2023 to salvage Edin Terzic’s side a point.

5) Kane and Bayern a match made in heaven 

Harry Kane was singing in the Munich rain as he added two more goals to his Bundesliga tally on Sunday. Having previously weighed in with a goal and an assist on his German top-flight debut against Werder Bremen the prevoius week, all the signs now are that Bayern might well have a worthy successor to Robert Lewandowski on their hands. 

Watch: Kane doubles up against Augsburg

"[I] want to help the team in all aspects; scoring goals is the main reason that I'm here [and] It was great to get a couple today," Bayern's new No. 9 said, after he became only the third FCB player to score three goals in his first two Bundesliga games. When added to his Tottenham Hotspur haul, goal-king Kane has now scored in his last seven successive league games.