Borussia Dortmund have won the first game, and made many new friends, on their fourth trip to the Far East. The victory will also boost the team’s confidence after losing the first game of pre-season against RW Essen five days ago.
“It was an important, confidence-boosting victory to calm the nerves and show that we can keep doing what we’ve been doing”, said the experienced figure of André Schürrle after the 3-2 win over the Red Diamonds in the stifling heat of Urawa. Schürrle scored the winning goal just two minutes before the end of the game from a narrow angle, producing a classy finish into the roof of the net.
However, the main positives from the evening in Tokyo were Emre Mor, who scored twice, and Mario Götze, on his return to the team. “Scoring goals and winning is the best feeling”, said Mor, adding, “I’m pleased that we were able to get the win just before the end.”
“He brings a lot to the team”, said coach Peter Bosz about Emre Mor. “He showed that again today, and not just with his two goals. But he still has to learn when he can run with the ball and we he has to pass it.” Mor is aware of his weakness in this area: “We still have to learn, particularly young players like me.” He sees Bosz as the right man to help him improve this aspect of his game. “He’s still young, he’ll get there. And my job is to help him get there”, said Bosz.
“A great feeling after such a long time out”
Bosz was also delighted by the return of Mario Götze. “We’re really pleased that he was able to play 30 minutes today. Now we’ve got to keep him under observation every day to see how he does. We have to be careful with him as he hasn’t trained in five months.” Götze was all smiles after the game. “It was tough out there, but it was a great feeling to be back out on the pitch after such a long time out.”
Despite the win, all the players and coaching staff are in no doubt that considerable improvements can be made in several areas, in particular defending against quick counter attacks and organisation at set pieces. “We’ve only been training for a week, it was very hot out on the pitch, and Urawa are in the middle of their season”, Bosz pointed out. Götze also put things into perspective: “The conditions were a real challenge. It’s not easy playing when you’re still suffering from the after-effects of jetlag. And we’ve only been in training for seven days. What matters is that we’re ready and fit for the start of the season.”
He had touched on the reason behind this year’s trip to Japan and China. After a full training session on Sunday, the players went to cool off in the ice bath. Other events were also scheduled, including a visit to the Evonik Football School and an event at kit manufacturers Puma.