5 takeaways from a fascinating weekend of European football
The European season is now in full swing, and the weekend provided lots to ponder on for fans of the beautiful game.
In England, the refusal of the FA to introduce Video Assistant Referee (VAR) to the Premier League again came to the fore as champions Manchester City were unjustly denied of three points against a plucky Wolves side. It was also a weekend characterized by the red mist as 4 red cards were awarded in just 9 games.
The Bundesliga kicked off as well with Borussia Dortmund starting life under Lucien Favre with a comprehensive 4-1 defeat of an RB Leipzig side still looking short of that extra touch of class needed to challenge for the title.
Juventus and Napoli continued their 100 percent starts with impressive victories over Lazio and AC Milan respectively, while Inter Milan once again faltered. Fiorentina also blew Chievo Verona away with a brilliant 6 goal salvo.
Here is a look at 5 things that came to the fore over the weekend in European football.
#5 Europe’s elite will have little to fear from Bayern Munich
The Bavarian giants started the Bundesliga season with a win over fellow UEFA Champions League team TSG Hoffenheim. However, given how the game unfolded, and the state of the squad, Europe’s elite teams will not be scared of the Germans.
In Niko Kovac's first league game, Bayern struggled to create clear-cut chances, and there was a lack of fluidity in the team’s play. Kovac had gone for a very attacking line up with Franck Ribery and Kingsley Coman flanking Robert Lewandowski, and Thomas Muller playing just behind the pole.
With Thiago Alcantara sitting deep to dictate play, there was a lack of control in the game as it went from end to end. It took an 82nd minute penalty from Lewandowski for FC Hollywood to edge ahead of the plucky Hoffenheim side.
The Bayern team is one that is rapidly aging, and looked short of ideas on how to turn dominance into goals. Muller has been poor for about two seasons now, and seems to be immune from criticism.
Why the powers that be have failed to sanction transfers to help the team refresh is quite baffling. Old warhorses - Arjen Robben and Ribery will once again be crucial if the team is to do anything meaningful in Europe.