FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen kick off the third round of the Bundesliga on Friday, almost to the day when the two teams met 50 years ago on opening matchday of the new league.
The Bundesliga celebrates its 50th anniversary on Saturday and the first round in 1963 featured Werder's 3-2 win at home over Dortmund. The match saw the newly established league's first goal when Dortmund's Timo Konietzka scored in the first minute.
Now, the Bundesliga is riding on a wave of success, with record attendances and the two Champions League finalists of last season — winner Bayern Munich and runner-up Dortmund.
Despite losing the championship and the German Cup title, Dortmund's run to the final was a windfall for the club and its revenue reached €305 million ($408.21 million) for the fiscal year 2012-13, with a €51.2 million ($68.53 million) profit.
By finishing second in the Bundesliga — a massive 25 points behind Bayern — Dortmund made sure of playing in the lucrative Champions League again.
While Bayern is also a perfect 2-0 at the start, the winner of the unprecedented treble for a German club has failed to inspire under new coach Pep Guardiola.
Dortmund already has scored six goals in two games, leads the standings on goal difference and appears ready to challenge Bayern for the title again.
Bremen, surprisingly, is also among the leaders — and is the only club not to have conceded a goal so far.
After narrowly escaping relegation, Bremen has a new coach in Robin Dutt and has reshuffled its defense.
"Our intention is not to build a wall but after giving up 66 goals last season it was the defense where we had to start," Dutt said.
Bremen beat both Augsburg and newcomer Eintracht Braunschweig 1-0, but Dutt said Dortmund would be a different matter.
"With all due respect for Braunschweig and Augsburg, Dortmund is a different caliber. We play in a different league from a financial and sporting aspect," Dutt said.
Bremen's job could be made more complicated if defenders Luca Caldirola and Clemens Fritz have to sit out the match with injuries.
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