Moenchengladbach draw Stuttgart late; Paderborn shine in opener
AUG 24, 2014 1:04p ET
Borussia Moenchengladbach's World Cup find, Christoph Kramer, produced a 90th minute goal Sunday night to give the hosts a 1-1 draw with VfB Stuttgart in the final game of the opening round.
Kramer collected a fine cut-back pass from Alvaro Dominguez, had space in the top of the box and fired to the low left corner through a crowd of players to equalize an Alexandru Maxim goal that had looked to be a match-winner. Maxim was sent in by Christian Gentner to finish in the 50th minute, pulling his shot across goalkeeper Yann Sommer for the only goal of the match.
Gladbach then missed several chances, most notably Branimir Hrgota shooting past an open net in the 48th minute, then stepping offside to ruin a 2-on-1 opening in the 68th. Kramer, who famously was literally knocked out of the World Cup final after getting a late call to start, came on as a 73rd minute substitute and immediately struck the right post. That looked to be as close as the home side would come before he produced in the final minute of normal time.
The first Bundesliga match in SC Paderborn 07's history proved a roller-coaster as the newly-promoted side had the Benteler-Arena crowd singing of an apparent debut victory only for FSV Mainz 05 escape with a stoppage time penalty and a share of the spoils in a 2-2 draw.
Paderborn captain Uwe Hunemeier was at the center of the emotional swing. It was his header to a Marvin Bakalorz cross in the 87th minute that gave Paderborn the late advantage. Mainz keeper Loris Karios could only help the ball into the net. It was also Hunemeier, however, who clattered into the back of Shinji Okazaki in the third stoppage minute to concede the spot kick from which Koo Ja-Choel leveled matters.
Paderborn keeper Lukas Kruse had denied Koo in the 32rd minute with a super save just before Mainz took the lead two minutes later. A Johannes Geis free kick beat Kruse at his right-hand post, and came back off the woodwork for Okazaki to tap in. The hosts were level three minutes later when Elias Kachunga pounced on a loose ball 22 yards out, turned quickly and beat Karios to the near left post.
Karim Bellarabi's fastest goal in the history of the Bundesliga on Saturday and Junior Malanda's Friday night miss, which also have been something of a record for inefficiency, featured an opening weekend that saw defending champions Bayern Munich start with a success and Bayer Leverkusen take the most significant scalp.
Malanda's miss of his own rebound off the crossbar prevented Wolfsburg from getting a point in Munich on opening night, Bayern starting its title defense with Thomas Mueller and Arjen Robben goals good for the 2-1 win. The champions, however, clearly missed Bastian Schweinsteiger's presence in the middle of the field, his absence even more noticeable now that Toni Kroos wears the white of Real Madrid.
Bellarabi's goal sparked Leverkusen to a 2-0 win over last season runner-up Borussia Dortmund, a match notable for the strength of Leverkusen's defensive performance and the lack of cohesion in the Dortmund attack. It was not a memorable home opener for Marco Reus in midfield or Ciro Immobile up front for Dortmund but encouraging for Leverkusen, who finished fourth a year ago.
Elsewhere, Hannover came from behind to defeat Schalke 2-1 while Julian Schieber scored twice but Hertha Berlin could not protect that two-goal advantage and wound up 2-2 with visiting Werder Bremen. The other new boys FC Koln played a 0-0 home draw against Hamburger SV. Harris Seferovic's goal gave Eintracht Frankfurt a 1-0 win over SC Freiburg, 1-0; and goals from Adam Szalai and Tarik Elyounoussi made Hoffenheim a 2-0 winner over Augsburg.
The weekend also featured the draw for the second round of the German DFB Pokal which produced two all-Bundesliga pairings for Oct. 28-29.
Cup holders Bayern will travel to Hamburger SV while Eintracht Frankfurt hosts Borussia Moenchengladbach in the two top flight contests. Dynamo Dresden, the third division side which stunned Schalke, were rewarded with a home draw against second division VfL Bochum. Dortmund, last year's runner-up, goes to FC St. Pauli.