ROUND-UP: Africans in Bundesliga – Week 1
The ever-swashbuckling German Bundesliga kicked off in a racy-pacy mode – with goals from all match centers and away victories far from being at premium – and what a great way to kick-off other than an African getting the first goal of the season.
But, was it a great outing for Africans in Germany collectively? Let’s see as Africa Football Shop’s German Bundesliga correspondent Tolulope Olasoji runs down their performances….
Bayern Munich’s Moroccan defender Mehdi Benatia opened the floodgate for goals – albeit with suspicions of offside after he headed home a Xabi Alonso’s freekick – just 27 minutes into the new Bundesliga season opener as the defending champions as usual made light work of Gideon Jung’s Hamburg SV. The 20-year-old Ghanaian midfielder who was impressive in the off-season made his senior debut and was on for the entire duration of the match for the Dinosaurs in the 5-0 defeat. He scored five times in 26 games last season with the Hamburg U-23 squad.
Mali winger Ibrahima Traore could do nothing within his 65 minutes of action to prevent Borussia Monchengladbach suffer at the hand of a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang-spearheaded city rivals as Gladbach were battered 4-0 by an apparent rejuvenated Borussia Dortmund. Aubameyang scored his first goal of the season and also assisted two-goal man Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s first to give new manager Thomas Tuchel a superb start to his reign.
Constant Djakpa was on the bench for the entire duration of his team’s loss to last season high flyers Wolfsburg. The Ivory Coast left-back watched his team – Eintracht Frankfurt – lose narrowly by a goal.
Whilst Schalke 04 Cameroon duo Joel Matip and Eric Choupo-Moting enjoyed a blissful opening day the same couldn’t be said of their African counterparts who were on the receiving end. DR Congo defender Assani Lukmiya and especially Nigeria hotshot Anthony Ujah – who impressed exceedingly in the pre-season and last season with Cologne – went down with Werder Bremen at the hands of Schalke 04 in a shocking 3-0 home defeat.
Mainz 05 deemed Nigeria fair-skinned right back Leon Balogun surplus to requirement in one of the stunning result of the Match Day 1 as Marvin Matip’s newly promoted FC Ingolstadt ensured the Cameroonian romance in the Bundesliga continued with an away lone-goal victory over Mainz.
New Augsburg acquisition Daniel Opare wasn’t even dressed to witness Hertha Berlin’s Salomon Kalou 74 minutes assault on his new club. The ex-Chelsea forward scored the only goal of the game in the 48th minute as Augsburg without Chelsea-bound Abdul Baba Rahman was also condemned to a home defeat.
French born Senegal defender Salif Sane was on from start-to-finish as Hannover 96 grabbed a draw away at newly-promoted side Darmstadt 98 via an Aytaç Sulu 62nd minute own-goal thereby denying the second Bundesliga entrant victory.