No.1: FC Bayern Munich have topped the table eight times after the first round of fixtures
No.1: FC Bayern Munich have topped the table eight times after the first round of fixtures


Munich - As Borussia Dortmund and SV Werder Bremen make last-minute preparations ahead of their big kick-off on Friday night (20:30 CET), examines some of the finer details surrounding yesteryear's opening day tussles.

Table-topping surprises

Throwing up some curious numbers, it turns out there have been some surprise members of the Bundesliga's supporting cast to grab the curtain-raising headlines.

FC Bayern Munich may lead the way in terms of the highest number of first-placed finishes at the end of Matchday 1 (eight), but there have also been a handful of lesser-known clubs to scribe their names onto the number one's chart over the years.

Take 1899 Hoffenheim, Arminia Bielefeld, St.Pauli and Hansa Rostock, for example - four promoted sides who rocketed into first place with opening day victories in 2008/08, 2002/03, 1995/96 and 1991/92 respectively. Hoffenheim held on to pole position until Christmas and Rostock staved off relegation too, but St.Pauli and Bielefeld were unable to avoid an immediate return to the second division. Getting off to a flyer, then, is by no means a recipe for success. For example, Borussia Dortmund don't even make the top five in this particular category.

Get your shooting boots on

In terms of number of goals scored, seasons 1965/66 and 2001/02 witnessed the lowest haul to date, with the nets rippling just 18 times on the opening day. Moving towards the opposite end of the spectrum, 1984/85 comes in at number three with a tally of 37, topped nine years later by the 39-goal turnover of 1993/94. Heading the list, though, is 1986/87 when a mighty 42 goals were scored on the first day alone. Uwe Rahn finished as leading scorer (24 strikes), starring for a Borussia Mönchengladbach side that finished ten points off the pace in third despite a couple of seven-goal victories in a season that averaged 3.19 goals per Matchday.

As far as individual performances go, the Bundesliga has witnessed a number of Matchday 1 hat-tricks, with the legendary Gerd Müller the standout name on a 13-strong list dating back to 1966/67. VfB Stuttgart's Cacau managed the ego-boosting feat most recently - the German international firing the Swabians into first place after a 4-2 home win over Mainz in 2004/05. Yet in 1971 Klaus Fischer stole the show, going one better with a remarkable four-goal salvo on the opening day.

Baptism of fire

Goals were certainly in abundance during the 1970s, with Bayern Munich recording the highest Matchday 1 victory in 1972/73 (a 5-0 win over RW Oberhausen) before surrendering their crown with barely a whimper two years later (Kickers Offenbach 6-0 FC Bayern). The record champions never quite recovered from said loss, ultimately finishing a lowly tenth but still only two places behind their slayers.

So perhaps there's just a glimmer of hope for Bundesliga new boys Greuther Fürth, who on Saturday afternoon entertain a Bayern side who've opened with a win only twice in the last five campaigns (two draws, one loss).

Christopher Mayer-Lodge