BERLIN — European football champions Bayern Munich laboured to a 1-0 win at Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, while both Hamburg and Champions League side Schalke 04 suffered heavy defeats in the Bundesliga.
Croatia striker Mario Mandzukic gave Bayern the three points at Eintracht, who were humbled 6-1 at Hertha Berlin the previous weekend, when he volleyed home a cross from Germany’s Thomas Mueller on 13 minutes.
But it was a rare highlight in a below-par performance as Bayern failed to dominate the home side, whose captain Alex Maier had a clear penalty appeal turned down in the dying stages.
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, taking charge of only his second Bundesliga match, started with Dutch winger Arjen Robben, Germany star Mario Goetze and new-signing Thiago Alcantara all on the bench, while Spain’s Javi Martinez failed to even make the matchday squad.
Guardiola put the below-par performance down to last week’s
international fixtures when Bayern had 15 players away.
“There are always difficult games when players have been away for the international matches and we can only train for two or three days together,” said Guardiola, whose side beat Borussia Moenchengladbach 3-1 on the opening weekend.
“I’m happy with the way we controlled the game, it was much better than the week before against ’Gladbach when we allowed too many counter-attacks.”
Brazil midfielder Luiz Gustavo, who signed for Wolfsburg last week from Bayern after rejecting offers from Arsenal and Barcelona, made his debut in the 4-0 win at home to Schalke 04.
The Royal Blues lost Holland striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar at the break with a knee injury and Wolfsburg took full advantage with three goals in 12 second-half minutes by defender Knoche, Portugal midfielder Vieirinha and Brazil defender Naldo.
Stefan Kutschke then hit the fourth just five minutes after coming off the bench.
Having drawn 3-3 at Hamburg last Sunday, Schalke need to find some form ahead of their Champions League play-off first-leg at home to Greece’s PAOK on Wednesday.
Hamburg were humiliated 5-1 at home to Hoffenheim as Brazilian striker Roberto Firmino ran riot, scoring twice and setting up the other three. Firmino’s forward partner, Frenchman Anthony Modeste, a new signing from French league outfit Bastia, had plenty to boast about with two well-taken second-half goals.
“I didn’t like the fact we fell apart,” Hamburg coach Thorsten Fink said.
“We were very, very, very bad defensively, it was an example of how not to defend. We don’t have to sugarcoat anything, we just have to work hard and win back the fans’ trust.”
Mainz enjoyed a 2-1 win at Freiburg while Champions League side Bayer Leverkusen picked up their second win of the season with a 1-0 victory at VfB Stuttgart thanks to an own goal by the hosts’ defender Daniel Schwaab.
Bremen also enjoyed another win, a 1-0 victory at home to Bavaria’s Augsburg.