The group stages of both the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League began this past midweek, and in total seven German teams were involved.
When one compares the results of the week with those of the disastrous group stage scores a season ago, they were quite good this time. But first of all, that in itself was not difficult to do, secondly a decent first match week does not rule out the possibility of another awful European season for German teams.
The action began on Tuesday night in the Champions League. There, current Bundesliga strugglers Schalke 04 hosted Portuguese champions FC Porto. The Royal Blues gave a reasonable account of themselves. Their keeper Ralf Fährmann saved a penalty to keep the score sheet blank at halftime.
In the second stanza, Breel Embolo gave the home side the lead, before Fährmann could not keep out the dubious second Porto penalty late. It stayed 1-1.
Meanwhile Schake’s archrival Borussia Dortmund had the bit extra luck that the former would have needed. BVB was outplayed for long periods by Club Bruges and yet the only goal came from Dortmund, as the ball deflected off of Christian Pulisic into the Belgians’ net.
Wednesday’s Champions League action opened in Ukraine, where TSG Hoffenheim had to make due with a 2-2 draw vs. Shachtar Donezk, despite having led by a goal on two occasions.
Later that night, Bayern Munich took on Benfica Lisbon away from home and came away 2-0 winners. The respective goals came from Robert Lewandowski and after a class move from Renato Sanches after which applause broke out from the Benfica fans, in a classy move on their part, toward their former star.
Thursday was a Europa League day marked by big comebacks from German teams. Eintracht Frankfurt came from behind and a man down to beat Olympique Marseille 2-1. Bayer Leverkusen came from two goals down to defeat Ludogorez Rasgrad 3-2.
The only defeat for a German side on week 1 came in the encounter of sister clubs, when RB Leipzig lost 3-2 to Red Bull Salzburg.