Borussia Dortmund lost 3-2 (2-1) to Regional League outfit Rot-Weiss Essen in their first pre-season friendly of the summer. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ousmane Dembélé were the Black & Yellows on target at the Hafenstraße.
Boris Rupert reporting from Essen
Peter Bosz fielded an entirely different XI in each half, though BVB kept their 4-3-3 formation for the whole 90 minutes. The Dutchman was without the injured Reus, Guerreiro, Kagawa and Weigl, as well as U21 Euro participants Philipp, Dahoud and Merino (holiday), and Weidenfeller (rested ahead of Asia Tour). Rode and Larsen, who both have niggles, were absent, while Götze did not play following five months on the sidelines. A-Juniors Reimann, Wanner and Kopacz came in as replacements.
The 13,500 fans watching on from the stands saw Borussia concede their first pre-season goal after just 131 seconds when Essen's captain Baier struck a sweet shot from 20 metres, the ball rebounding off Bürki and into the net. The Black & Yellows – for whom Schmelzer was largely operating ahead of the back four in a left-wing back role, while Schürrle drifted inside to make room – were clearly dominant, yet it was not until the 19th minute that the visitors managed to create their first moment of danger in front of the Essen goal: Schürrle, however, failed to get sufficient contact on Aubameyang's cross. In the 28th minute Schürrle had an effort from distance but it was not enough to trouble RWE custodian Heller.
The match sprang into life following a Schürrle corner, with Toprak flicking the ball on to Aubameyang. The striker reacted quickly and sent the ball goalbound, only for it to be handled on the line and then cleared from behind the line by the goalkeeper. In any case, the referee decided to award the goal and spare RWE from being reduced to ten men (29). Schürrle corners, which were flicked on by the centre-backs towards Aubameyang in the 39th and 42nd minutes respectively, posed a threat, but it was the hosts who struck next. Bednarski mishit a chance from a cross and the ball flew out of the Dortmund penalty area towards Baier, who latched on to the loose ball and blasted a spectacular volley from 18 metres out past Bürki, who was left with no chance (40).
BVB's new-look XI created chances for Bartra (47), Kopacz (54) and Dembélé (50/53/60) in the opening stages of the second half, but they went begging and RWE instead went 3-1 up when Plattek steered a whipped-in free-kick over the line in the 61st minute. Dembélé reduced the deficit two minutes later after the visitors had been awarded a penalty for handball, before Zagadou's cross hit the crossbar (67) and Pulisic lost his footing and fired over with a more or less open goal at his mercy (78).