By Chris Stanton
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Alemannia Aachen and Energie Cottbus were given a tough introduction to top flight life.
Newly-promoted Alemannia Aachen and Energie Cottbus were given a tough introduction to top flight life, while Halil Altintop scored on his debut for Schalke.
Aachen's return after a 36-year hiatus began in ominous fashion when goalkeeper Kristian Nicht was dismissed for deliberate handball outside the area after just 22 minutes to leave coach Dietmar Hecking's best-laid plans in tatters.
Hecking withdrew influential striker Sascha Rosler for keeper Stephan Straub but, within 10 minutes of his introduction, the substitute was picking the ball out of his net, with Carsten Ramelow on target.
From that point on it was one-way traffic, as Bayer Leverkusen's superior class told. Gonzalo Castro added another on the stroke of half time and Simon Rolfes added a third on the hour.
Oliver Neuville was on target as Borussia Monchengladbach defeated Cottbus, who were victims of their own indiscipline, with midfielder Lawrence Aidoo given his marching orders for a second bookable offence in the 54th minute.
The Foals struck either side of Aidoo's dismissal after a goalless first half at Borussia-Park - Bo Svensson scoring first in the 51st minute before Neuville opened his account nine minutes later.
Nurnberg made sure it was a miserable opening day to the season for Stuttgart coach Armin Veh, trouncing the hosts 3-0.
Slovakian Robert Vittek got the ball rolling in the 36th minute, and the lead was doubled just before half time, through Markus Schroth.
Ivan Saenko put the seal on a fine performance from Hans Meyer's side 13 minutes from time.
Arminia Bielefeld claimed a surprise 1-1 draw at Hamburg, who were indebted to debutant Boubacar Sanogo's 67th minute equalising strike.
Christian Eigler had shot Bielefeld into a 32nd minute lead.
Schalke were also forced to settle for a 1-1 draw against less vaunted opponents - Eintracht Frankfurt leaving the Arena AufSchalke with a hard-earned point.
Altintop, a summer signing from Kaiserslautern, shot the hosts into a 30th minute lead, but they could not add to their tally, and were made to pay by Ioannis Amanatidis in the 72nd minute.
Elsewhere, Mainz claimed a 2-1 win over Bochum. Tobias Damm scored in the 29th minute but the points were not made safe until Mimoun Azaouagh converted a 71st minute penalty.
Tomasz Zdebel registered an 86th minute consolation for VFL, but it was not enough to save the visitors from an opening day defeat.
Click below for an individual match summary:
Bayer Leverkusen 3-0 Alemannia Aachen
Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 Energie Cottbus
Hamburg 1-1 Arminia Bielefeld
Mainz 2-1 VFL Bochum
Schalke 04 1-1 Eintracht Frankfurt
Stuttgart 0-3 Nurnberg