Bundesliga Matchday 2: Talking points

Richard Hazeldine Richard Hazeldine

The weekend is approaching and its almost time for the second round of matches in the 2018/19 Bundesliga season.

After a few surprises and much controversy last week, the likes of FC Schalke 04 and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim will be looking to get ta first win under their belts.

We take a look at some of the talking points ahead of the weekend’s action.

VAR-y controversial
While pundits in England were calling for the introduction of VAR, or the video assistant referee, following a controversial goal that robbed Manchester City of a win last weekend, the opposite was happening in Germany.
The Bundesliga introduced VAR last season, but it seems that despite some tweaks the technology, or rather the implementation of it, has done little to reduce controversy.
Leading the critics after Matchday 1 was Hoffenheim boss Julian Nagelsmann, who was left fuming when the award of a penalty for a foul on Bayern Munich’s Franck Ribery was not reviewed. The penalty proved vital as it helped the champions grab a crucial late go-ahead goal after they had been under pressure from the visitors.
Fellow title hopefuls Schalke were also unhappy after Wolfsburg striker Wout Weghorst was given a VAR-inspired reprieve from a red card, while Schalke’s Matija Nastasic was (rightly) dismissed after VAR upgraded his yellow card to a red. ‘Stupid’ and a ‘shambles’ were some of the more acceptable terms used to describe the system.

Will we hear more complaints from frustrated coaches this weekend? Most probably.
Maybe the Premier League has it right after all?

Rudy’s rude awakening
It happens all too often in modern football, a player stars for a lesser club and then is snapped up by one of Europe’s giants only to spend large chunks of his career on the subs bench kicking his heels. Just imagine how much more spectacular football fans would be able to see if those millions of euros worth of talent were actually on the pitch performing?
One of said players, Sebastian Rudy, was clearly not interested in just picking up a paycheck a la Winston Bogarde at Chelsea, so instead of bench warming at Bayern he has decided to do something about it. The former Hoffenheim man this week bit the bullet and signed for Schalke, where he is sure to make more appearances than the 16 starts he made last year for the champions. At the age of 28, one cannot blame him for trying to maximise his game time.
Let’s hope some of the Bundesliga’s other frustrated stars take a leaf from his book.

Paco the missing link?
One player who did follow in Rudy’s footsteps this week was Barcelona’s Paco Alcacer. Borussia Dortmund pulled off somewhat of a transfer coup this week when they sealed the loan signing of the talented Spanish international.

The 24-year old arrives in Germany with a decent goalscoring record (averaging a goal around every three games) despite being frustrated by limited appearances while at the Nou Camp.
Dortmund fans will be hoping that Alcacer can perform a similar role to the one provided by Chelsea’s Michy Batshuayi toward the end of last season and put the finishing touches to their attacking play, while inspiring them to an improvement over last season’s disappointing fourth-place finish. Alcacer will no doubt be eager to prove a point. Hannover’s defenders have been warned.