BERLIN, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Talking points from the weekend’s Bundesliga matches:
In the wake of Thiago Alcantara’s departure to Liverpool, Bayern Munich’s midfield was in the spotlight in the treble winners’ opening Bundesliga win over Schalke 04 on Friday.
The 8-0 demolition of Schalke eased any concerns that it would be difficult to plug the gap left by talented Thiago, with Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich filling that role superbly.
Coach Hansi Flick is likely to make an internal replacement rather than a new signing, with fit-again Corentin Tolisso set to benefit.
“He has enormous qualities,” Flick said of Tolisso, who came on as a second-half substitute against Schalke.
SPRINKLING OF FANS
The return of fans to stadiums on the opening matchday was good news for the league and clubs but it will be some time before full capacity crowds are seen in Germany with coronavirus infection rates differing across the country.
Bayern’s win was played out in front of empty stands at the Allianz Arena while some 9,300 spectators were in Borussia Dortmund’s 80,000-capacity stadium for their 3-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach. Other stadiums had as few as 300 spectators.
“This (spectator numbers) is something that will need to be reviewed every week,” Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc said.
“I thought it was good (to have at least some fans) because you could see it was a different atmosphere. It has more football character. I think the fans were happy as well.”
While Bayern may have put down a marker for a ninth consecutive Bundesliga title, Dortmund’s win over Gladbach confirmed them as possibly the most exciting team to watch, with teenager Giovanni Reyna scoring his debut league goal and fellow 17year-year-old Jude Bellingham providing his first assist.
The 20-year-old Erling Haaland, who has scored 15 goals in 16 league appearances since January, scored twice with Jadon, Sancho, also 20, setting up one of them.
“We have a lot of young players but this was just one game,” Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said. “When we start playing three times a week it will be hard for them as well. But our young players are really, really good.” (Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Peter Rutherford )
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