Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund start campaigns in style

Karim Benzema picked up where he left off last season by scoring twice to fire Real Madrid to a 4-1 win away to Alavés in their opening game of the La Liga campaign.

Real had an uninspiring first half in Carlo Ancelotti’s first league game since taking charge of the club for a second time but Benzema settled their nerves by blasting the ball into the net in the 48th minute after being teed up by Eden Hazard.

Defender Nacho added to Real’s lead eight minutes later, sliding in to stab a Luka Modric through ball into the net from close range. Benzema scored a scrappy second goal in the 62nd but moments later Alavés pulled one back when striker Joselu slotted in a penalty after a foul by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Substitute Vinicius Jr added a final goal for the visitors in stoppage time, netting with a diving header as he met a cross from debutant David Alaba.

The night’s three other La Liga fixtures all ended in draws, with Osasuna and Espanyol playing out a goalless stalemate in Pamplona. Cádiz and newly-promoted Mallorca were both held to 1-1 home draws by Levante and Real Betis respectively.

Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland scored twice and set up another three goals as the hosts steamrolled past Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 on Saturday to put down a marker in their Bundesliga opener.

It was captain Marco Reus who put new coach Marco Rose’s team in the driving seat in the 23rd minute, scoring from a Haaland assist, with Dortmund fans returning in limited numbers to the 81,000-capacity stadium.

A Felix Passlack own goal four minutes later did nothing to slow them down as Thorgan Hazard rifled them back into the lead in the 32nd after Reus combined with the 21-year-old Haaland, who had scored a hat-trick in their German Cup first round win last week, for yet another counter attack.

The hosts, who face champions Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup on Tuesday, completed their first half goal rush with Haaland pouncing on a Stefan Ilsanker mistake to charge into the box and slot in for a two-goal lead in the 34th.

Gio Reyna added a fourth goal with a tap-in on the hour with Eintracht at the complete mercy of the bursting Dortmund runs that kept on coming. Another Haaland run earned him his second goal of the evening following a VAR review.
Fellow Norwegian Jens Petter Hauge scored late on his Bundesliga debut to somewhat improve the scoreline for Frankfurt.

Newly-promoted Bochum and Greuther Fürth both made losing starts to life in the top flight, losing 1-0 and 5-1 at Wolfsburg and Stuttgart respectively. Hoffenheim made a winning start, running out convincing 4-0 winners at Augsburg.

Bayer Leverkusen drew 1-1 at Union Berlin as visiting forward Moussa Diaby’s 12th-minute equaliser cancelled out Taiwo Awoniyi’s early opener, while Arminia Bielefeld were held to a goalless home draw by Freiburg.

In France, Lionel Messi watched on from the stands as Paris St Germain made hard work of beating Strasbourg 4-2 in Ligue 1 to continue their winning start to the new season.

Not yet fully fit, Messi, along with Neymar and fellow new recruits Gianluigi Donnarumma and Sergio Ramos, did not make the match squad, but saw his new club take an early lead through Mauro Icardi at Parc des Princes.

Kylian Mbappé then doubled PSG’s advantage in the 25th minute after his shot was deflected home, before the France international’s cross was turned in by Julian Draxler two minutes later to put the hosts 3-0 up.

Second-half goals from Kevin Gameiro and Ludovic Ajorque got the visitors back into the contest, with PSG looking uneasy in possession. Alexander Djiku’s dismissal for two bookable offences let PSG off the hook nine minutes from time, with substitute Pablo Sarabia tapping home at the back post in the 86th minute to make sure of the unconvincing victory for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.

Nice manager Christophe Galtier celebrated a winning return to his former club Lille , as they hammered the champions 4-0 for their first victory of the campaign.

Nice’s Danish forward Kasper Dolberg scored in either half, including a first-minute goal from close range, while midfielder Hicham Boudaoui’s early strike and the impressive Amine Gouiri’s first-half penalty completed the rout.

Dolberg’s second goal came shortly after the hour mark as he nodded in from a corner to mount the pressure on new Lille boss Jocelyn Gourvennec, whose side secured a last-gasp 3-3 draw at 10-man Metz in their opening game.
It was a well-deserved victory for Galtier, who joined Lille in 2017 after eight years at St Etienne and guided them to their first top-flight title since 2011 last season before leaving them shortly after.