bundesliga.com analyses the clubs' first month of the 2013/14 campaign - from who's looked impressive, to who has room to improve. Part I dealt with the clubs from 10th to 18th position, while Part II looks at those currently within the top ten.
With plenty of effort, but with an equivalent reward, Dortmund have managed their way through the first four games of the season. “Each point means hard work,” is Jürgen Klopp’s assessment, and with new signings and Henrikh Mkhitaryan (r.) settling in well, there is no reason why the same result cannot be expected against Hamburger SV.
Positives: Dortmund have statistically been the most attacking side in the Bundesliga with 85 attempts on goal representing a league high.
Negatives: Things could have been even better – only FC Bayern missed more big chances (nine) than Dortmund (eight)
Bayern and their star coach Pep Guardiola are still getting to know one another. The quadruple-winners are not yet as dominant as last season and the transition to a system employing just one holding midfielder has not been so seamless. Furthermore, that is the position where injuries have taken their toll with and both sidelined. In spite of this, they've already put one trophy in the cabinet with the UEFA Super Cup.
Positives: Guardiola’s team have looked extremely good passing the ball with the lowest number of misplaced passes (12.1 percent) in the league.
Negatives: The transition between defence and attack remains rusty. Bayern have yet to score a single goal on the break, while they haven’t scored from long range yet either.
Leverkusen made a blistering, attacking start to the season, but slipped up recently against Schalke. summed up their problems, saying: “If you don’t create any chances, then you can’t score any goals.” Although his strikers have been particularly sharp, Sami Hyypiä has still added another attacker to his squad at the end of the transfer window with Eren Derdiyok arriving as an added alternative.
Positives: Bayer’s strikers are the most successful in the league, scoring the most goals between them (six) and delivering the most shots (35).
Negatives: Leverkusen have allowed more crosses into their box (75) than any other side in the Bundesliga.
Hannover are rubbing shoulders with the aristocracy once again. The newly-formed central defensive pairing of Marcelo and Salif Sane is showing a good understanding and out of three home games, they have won all three. When they are without key players, there is somebody else to fill in, such as , who provided the creative touch in the absence of against Mainz. Exactly how strong a start they've made will undoubtedly be put to the test in Munich.
Positives: Hannover are quick to warm up with five goals scored in the first half of their games - a league high.
Negatives: Slomka’s troops have committed 83 fouls - also a league-leading statistic.
Mainz have slipped their name into the top third of the table with a very compact defence and an incisive attack, deservedly mixing it with the big guns. Thomas Tuchel’s team are putting his strategy into practice, even if they are not always being rewarded for their efforts, like in Hanover last time out. has been particularly outstanding with at least a goal in every game (five in total) so far.
Positives: Only Eintracht Frankfurt’s defenders have won more tackles (55 percent) than Mainz's backline (54.2 percent).
Negatives: Mainz are not getting down the wings regularly enough with the fewest crosses of all in the league (35).
Promoted Berlin have passed their first Bundesliga suitability test. Although they were unable to repeat their stunning 6-1 opener against Frankfurt, they have nevertheless made a strong attacking impression. Nine goals are bettered only by Gladbach and Hoffenheim. Hertha’s home game against a rejuvenated Stuttgart promises to be an attacking spectacle.
Positives: Hertha’s defenders are the most successful in the league - in an attacking sense. They have been involved in four of the Old Lady’s goals so far this season.
Negatives: Hertha have the weakest defence in the league in terms of tackles won, with only a 46.2 percent success rate.
Thanks to new arrivals and , coach Lucien Favre can finally deploy the exciting attacking football which he yearns for, with Gladbach’s performances so far reminiscent of their march into Europe in 2011/12. “We’ve definitely got more class than last year,” said . There is still one cause for concern, however: the defence. Too many mistakes are still being made.
Positives: Gladbach are hard to fathom boasting the most different goalscorers within their ranks (seven).
Negatives: Favre’s team are extremely susceptible on the counterattack. More shots have rained in on the Foals on the break (15) than against any other side.
Wolfsburg indicated from the word go that their star-studded team could compete for a top-ten finish. However, Dieter Hecking’s wolfpack are still lacking much-needed consistency. New arrival will return after suspension and that is just what they need for their real test of maturity against Leverkusen on Matchday 5.
Positives: Wolfsburg have scored the most goals as a result of corners (twice).
Negatives: Wolfsburg are still waiting to score their first headed goal of the campaign.
Bremen started the season with two rather fortunate wins, but they did demonstrate very solid defensive foundations and an admirable efficiency up front. Yet on Matchday 4, they rolled back to last season, conceding four goals to Gladbach. New signing Santiago Garcia arrived just before the transfer deadline and he should strengthen the left-hand side of the Bremen defence. Coach Robin Dutt does not tire of stressing that it will be a difficult year, and he could yet be proven right.
Positives: Werder are making a lot out of a little: Although they have only scored three goals, they are still in the top half of the table.
Negatives: Bremen are the side who have delivered the fewest shots on goal with just 34 efforts from Dutt’s men.
Click here to read Part I of the form guide.