With battles at both ends of the table and goals by the bucketload – 41 in total – the first matchday of 2023 was well worth the wait. bundesliga.com takes a look at the reactions to a fantastic weekend of football.
Cologne against Werder Bremen was forecast to be a keenly fought contest between two gritty teams, but all expectations were blown away by the mesmerising hosts. The Billy Goats quite simply carved Bremen open time and again with their slickness and intensity, raining five goals in during the opening 36 minutes. Coach Steffen Baumgart had an ecstatic dressing room on his hands after a simply stunning 7-1 win. Two goals and an assist made for an evening Steffen Tigges will surely never forget – and his strike from the halfway line, part of the highlights below, is destined to be remembered for years to come.
Watch: Cologne 7-1 Bremen - in 60 seconds
Wolfsburg had quietly ended 2022 in superb form, with four Bundesliga wins on the bounce. Boosted by the solidity their coach Niko Kovac demands, the Wolves began the new year just where they left off. They tore into second-place Freiburg to claim their third home win in a row to nil, with a spectacular six-goal salvo. Twenty-three-year-old Dane Jonas Wind paved the way to victory with two first-half strikes, including his first headed goal in the Bundesliga. He was understandably all smiles after the match as his club, now sixth, start to eye the Champions League qualification spots.
Watch: Wind on a "perfect start" to 2023
Just days after completing his transfer from Gladbach, Yann Sommer was given the prestigious task of keeping goal for Bayern in Manuel Neuer’s injury-related absence. The champions began 2023 with a formidable fixture away at title challengers RB Leipzig. Although Marcel Halstenberg turned the ball past Sommer in a 1-1 draw, the Swiss international shot stopper sounded delighted with his new job – just as Bayern could reflect on work well done in extending their Bundesliga lead to five points this weekend.
Watch: Sommer's "wild few weeks"
Eintracht Frankfurt are a club that continue to build ever higher. The UEFA Europa League winners showed no signs of being daunted by the prospect of an upcoming battle to finish in the top four while awaiting Napoli in a mouth-watering Champions League last 16 tie. Jesper Lindstrom started the scoring in a serene 3-0 win over Schalke, and the Dane is now looking ahead confidently to Eintracht’s away trips to Freiburg and Bayern next week.
Watch: Trapp says Frankfurt "deserve" to be second
Plenty were wondering whether Union Berlin could take the momentum from their incredible start to the season into 2023. They assuaged any doubts in the best possible style – by taking a tidy 3-1 win over Hoffenheim in their opening match of the year. The snow in the German capital could not dampen the spirits of Danilho Doekhi, who sealed the win with a late brace in classic Union style – netting two headers.
Watch: Doekhi "really happy" after brace
Bochum began the year in penultimate spot, knowing every point this spring would be vital. There is no better tonic in a relegation battle than winning a six-pointer against another side in the table’s lower reaches. Thomas Letsch’s outfit duly racked up an impressive 3-1 win against Hertha Berlin, with Philipp Hofmann grabbing the headlines with a brace. The Bochum coach, known for his focus and hardworking style, had a steely glimmer of satisfaction in his eyes as he commended his team on a thoroughly successful afternoon’s work.
Watch: Letsch on a "deserved win"
Mainz held VfB Stuttgart to a 1-1 draw after Wataru Endo had set up Serhou Guirassy for their first goal under returning coach Bruno Labbadia, who was just delighted to be back in the Bundesliga, making his homecoming to his former club. The Swabians could not make it four home wins in a row, however, as a dogged Mainz side dug deep to secure a point which keeps five points between the two sides. The size of Labbadia's task was evidenced by a win for Bochum, which plunged Stuttgart into the relegation play-off zone with one game to go to the midway stage of the season - but he is nonetheless delighed to be back in the Bundesliga business.
Watch: Labbadia: "the Bundesliga's always special"
For those contemplating a tranquil day's football following a monsoon of goals on Saturday, Sunday soon shoved aside that notion with a game that will live long in the memory of all those who witnessed it. Borussia Dortmund - who celebrated the debut of Sebastien Haller - served up up a seven-goal spectacular that began with the irrepressible Jude Bellingham's beautiful opener on the half hour. The visitors to Signal Iduna Park were a constant thorn in the side of their hosts and would come back an amazing three times in this game. Arne Maier started that process, netting his team's first of the day. Nico Schlotterbeck and Ermedin Demerovic hit one apiece before the action spilled over into an equally dramatic second half. Substitute Jamie Bynoe-Gittens put the Black-and-Yellows back in front but the Bavarians still weren't done, David Colina levelling once more. USMNT international Gio Reyna finally popped up to win a breathtaking game with 12 minutes to play.
Watch: Haller - "Football is a party"
And so to Borussia-Park and the Rhine derby to round off an amazing return to a mesmerising Bundesliga weekend. Xabi Alonso's side - winner of their three previous top-flight games - were soon in the driving seat against opponents Gladbach with Mitchel Bakker slotting home after Adam Hlozek had hit a post. The Werkself looked out of sight after they added two more through Amine Adli and Nadiem Amiri. However, when substitute Lard Stindl came on and found the net twice, the result suddenly looked in doubt. Time wasn't on the Foals' side however, and Bayer managed to hold on in one more high-scoring game that provided a fitting ending for a record weekend on the goals front, with 41 the most of any matchday this season - or in the last 20 years in fact.
Watch: Bayer survive late Gladbach scare
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