BVB dominated the final match of their pre-season training camp in Bad Ragaz but were ultimately beaten 1-0 (0-0) by a highly defensive Atalanta side at the Altach Stadium in western Austria.
Mario Götze, who was one of only three players in the starting XI – along with goalkeeper Roman Bürki and Mo Dahoud – to have featured in the 1-0 defeat by Espanyol four days earlier, captained the team for the first 62 minutes of the match as he played more than one half for the first time since his return from injury.
The players who did not face the Italian outfit from Bergamo underwent a high-intensity training session on Friday morning. There were only four players – Reimann, Larsen, Sokratis and Zagadou – among the substitutes.
Heavy and windy showers chacterised the opening 20 minutes of a match in which the Black & Yellows sought to find the gaps against a high-pressing Atalanta side whose man-marking approach limited their passing options going forward. The Italians were happy to let Borussia have the ball – and, for the most part, fail to do much with it. There were only a few chances in the first period, with shot-stopper Berisha denying Isak's attempt following a Beste cross into the six-yard box (7), before Pulisic's effort was diverted away for a corner (8) and Dahoud fired narrowly wide from 17 metres (15).
At the other end the highly defence-minded Italians, whose main tactic seemed to be to counter with purpose when BVB lost the ball, created their first opportunity of the match two minutes before the interval when Kurtic was denied by Bürki.
The Black & Yellows remained resolute after the break, with Rode heading narrowly wide from a matter of metres (55) and Philipp going close with a volley (63) before both Pulisic and Isak were denied by the agile Berisha after Subotic had won the ball back deep in opposition territory (67).
Atalanta punish BVB for losing possession
A block by Reimann, who had replaced Bürki between the sticks at the break, in the 66th minute could only delay the opener, which came when Ilicic capitalised on a misplaced pass five minutes later.
BVB, who had switched to a back three following Götze's 63rd-minute departure, still looked to turn the game around but were condemned to a second unlucky defeat during their summer training camp.
This evening the squad will head back to Dortmund, where they will start preparations for Saturday's Super Cup clash with Bayern Munich tomorrow.
BVB: Bürki (Reimann, 46) – Passlack, Toprak, Subotic, Beste – Dahoud – Rode, Götze (Zagadou, 63) – Pulisic, Isak, Philipp
Goals: 0-1 Ilicic (71)
Attendance: 6,071 in Altach