- Associated Press - Thursday, August 28, 2014

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) - Despite predicting that his injury-hit team would struggle in the first half of the season, Pep Guardiola’s Bayern Munich got off to a winning start in its bid to win a third consecutive Bundesliga title.

But even in its 2-1 victory over Wolfsburg, Bayern’s current deficiencies became obvious, hence the latest moves on the transfer marker.

One day after signing defender Mehdi Benatia from Rome, Bayern was in talks with Real Madrid on the transfer of veteran midfielder Xabi Alonso as it prepared to visit Schalke in the Bundesliga.

Here are some things to know about the Bundesliga weekend:



Mehdi Benatia came to Freiburg in August 2009 hoping to get a contract that would see him move from the French second division to the Bundesliga. After a trial, Freiburg’s coach at the time and other club officials decided Benatia was not good enough and sent him packing.

Five years after getting rejected by the habitual Bundesliga stragglers, the Morocco defender was good enough to sign for the Bundesliga powerhouse and two-time defending champion Bayern and become the fourth most expensive player in the league history at a reported transfer fee of about 30 million euros ($39.53 million) paid to Roma.



By adding Xabi Alonso, Bayern would bolster its hurting midfield. With Thago Alcantara and Javi Martinez on the long-term injury list and with Bastian Schweinsteiger’s date of return uncertain, Alonso will bring a wealth of experience with him.

“We believe that it’s necessary for our team and to meet the expectations of our fans and the entire club,” Bayern director Matthias Sammer said of Alonso’s expected move to the Bavarian capital.



It did not take Schalke long to start talking about a crisis. It got knocked out of the German Cup in the first round by third-division club Dresden, then lost the Bundesliga opener at Hannover. That was enough to revive the discussion about coach Jens Keller, who reportedly escaped getting fired several times in the past.

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