Borussia Dortmund have sealed a 4-1 (3-1) win over RB Leipzig in their opening match of the 56th Bundesliga season. Dahoud, Witsel and Reus were on the scoresheet for the Black & Yellows, but it was shot-stopper Roman Bürki who laid the foundations for a dominant victory by making four outstanding saves.
Boris Rupert reporting
RB Leipzig's failure to fill 1,400 spaces in the away sector at Signal Iduna Park meant there were only 80,000 spectators watching as the visitors opened the scoring through Augustin 31 seconds into the season opener, but BVB levelled through Dahoud (21) before extending their lead to 3-1 thanks to a two-goal salvo − a deflected Reus free-kick (40) and an acrobatic Witsel effort (43) − shortly before the break. Yet it was custodian Bürki, who made four key saves in the match, that really stood out in a second half that was dominated by Leipzig before Reus added a late fourth in stoppage time to send Borussia Dortmund top of the table after Round 1.
It was BVB's second and Leipzig's seventh competitive match of the campaign. Both teams had fought back from behind to claim victory in their DFB Cup First Round ties, Leipzig defeating Regionalliga outfit Viktoria Köln 3-1 while Dortmund beat second-tier side Fürth 2-1 after extra-time.
Favre made two changes to the side that started that DFB Cup tie in Fürth, bringing in Witsel and Philipp in place of Götze and Wolf, who started on the bench despite his involvement having initially been cast in doubt by a training injury. The men from Saxony made eight changes to the team that faced Zorya Luhansk on Thursday.
Borussia's personnel changes were accompanied by a tactical tweak, Favre deploying his team in a 4-3-3 formation that had been frequently tested in pre-season. Witsel was the sole defensive midfielder, while Dahoud and Delaney occupied the more offensive positions but still dropped deeper when required. Reus predominantly played down the left, while Pulisic played on the right and Philipp mainly operated in a centre-forward role. Leipzig lined up in a 4-4-2 formation with very attacking wingers and initially pressed high and quickly when Dortmund had the ball.
The match & analysis:
The Black & Yellows were caught napping after 31 seconds when possession was surrendered in central midfield, 25 metres from goal. Poulsen flicked the ball through to Augustin, who beat Diallo and slotted past Bürki.
BVB's build-up play looked laboured in the opening stages, as Leipzig sought to close them down quickly. As a result, the Black & Yellows, whose confidence had been dented by the early opener for the visitors, opted to play lots of long balls that were mostly dealt with by the opposition.
But an attempt from Delaney from a tight angle that was saved by Gulacsi (20) proved to be a turning point for BVB. Reus subsequently found himself in a shooting position inside the box and, though it was blocked by the defence, Dahoud initiated a more successful attack seconds later. Philipp played the ball wide to Schmelzer, who planted a curling cross from the left flank into the path of Dahoud, who scored his first goal for BVB with an acrobatic header (21).
Bürki makes several spectacular saves
Bürki made a spectacular stop to deny Augustin a second in the 28th minute, then BVB struck with a two-goal salvo in the space of three minutes – both from set-pieces – before the break: Sabitzer deflected Reus' curling free-kick into the corner of the net (40) and then Witsel pounced with an acrobatic effort from a rebound after Delaney's initial header from a corner had been sensationally kept out by Gulacsi (43).
Another world-class save from Bürki, who parried Klostermann's close-range volley behind for a corner four minutes after the restart, prevented Leipzig from halving the deficit. BVB appeared to let their control over the match slip and, aside from a Dahoud chance that narrowly missed the target in the 57th minute, caused no notable moments of danger in front of goal until the closing stages. Leipzig did, however, with Bürki superbly stopping both Werner (85) and Bruma (86).
Reus makes it 4-1 in stoppage time
An excellent interception from Dahoud served as the launchpad for the fourth BVB goal. Sancho found Reus, who claimed what was undeniably his 100th Bundesliga goal with a strike into the bottom corner from a centre-left position.
It will be a short week for the Black & Yellows, who are in action again on Friday when they travel to Hannover 96 (kick-off 20:30 CET).