BVB with cause for optimism ahead of Bundesliga restart
Borussia Dortmund have good reason to be confident ahead of the upcoming Bundesliga season, which kicks off when they make the trip to VfL Wolfsburg next Saturday. Coach Peter Bosz also drew a largely positive conclusion following his side's first two competitive matches of the campaign – the Super Cup final against Bayern Munich and the DFB Cup First Round against 1. FC Rielasingen-Arlen.
"Rielasingen performed very well. We tried to keep the tempo high. I wasn't completely satisfied, but we still won 4-0 and didn't pick up any new injuries. That's important," said Bosz after the final whistle at the Schwarzwaldstadion in Freiburg. Even if the coach was not entirely satisfied, his team seems be growing into the new 4-3-3 system with each passing match. Both the Super Cup against Bayern and the Cup clash with the underdogs showed that BVB are particularly well suited to quick play down the flanks. Lukasz Piszczek and Jan-Niklas Beste, who was a surprise inclusion in the starting XI in Freiburg, broke through down the wings time and time again, creating all sorts of problems with their crosses into the middle. "It was okay, but there's a lot of potential to do better and lots of room for improvement," said Beste of his professional debut. "The coach told me that I should try to play in the same way I had during the friendly matches in pre-season, especially to show courage going forward. I just tried to put what he told me into practice."
New signings fitting in quickly
The youngster, who was an A-Junior champion last season, made his mark with a number of excellent contributions down the left, and also set up the opener for Marc Bartra in the first period. All told, it was a successful first-team debut for Beste. The 18-year-old remained modest, however, and knew how important the experience was for him. "Both on and off the pitch I always try to learn lots from the other lads and to further my development," he said.
New signings Mahmoud Dahoud and Maximilian Philipp made an equally good impression in midfield. Dahoud pulled the strings alongside Nuri Sahin and Gonzalo Castro and looked bright. He had a number of shots on goal and came close to scoring on several occasions, as well as setting up the third and fourth goals for Aubameyang. Philipp was equally impressive, winning the penalty for the second goal, and seemed particularly delighted in his post-match interview that the spectators in Breisgau appeared not to resent him for his switch to BVB. "I think we put in a decent performance. The only important thing is that we made it through to the next round," he continued.
Aubameyang overtakes Chapuisat
Perhaps unsurprisingly, another player who stood out in Baden-Württemberg was hat-trick hero Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. The Gabon forward, who has 124 competitive goals for BVB, has now overtaken Stephane Chapuisat as the club's highest goalscorer from overseas. "I'm still targeting Michael Zorc's tally," Aubameyang admitted cheekily after the match. "That's what we want to see," retorted the BVB Sporting Director with a wink towards the BVBtotal! cameras. "He should've scored a few more times today if that is his target. Let's wait and see." In actual fact, it could have been more than three goals for the frontman if it had not been for the woodwork or the solid performance from Rieslasingen custodian Dennis Klose. "We did exactly what we needed to do to get through to the next round," remarked Aubameyang, who remained modest in his assessment given the gulf in class between the Black & Yellows and their opponents: "It definitely wasn't the perfect performance from us, but on the whole we can be satisfied."
Ready to go for the duel with Wolfsburg
Week by week, little by little, Borussia Dortmund seem to be showing signs of improvement and to be growing into the formation introduced by the new coach. On Saturday, the team also appeared unaffected by the Ousmane Dembélé situation, while the absences of key performers like Reus, Schmelzer, Guerreiro, Weigl, Rode, Durm, Pulisic and Götze have been dealt with so far. It all gives Borussia Dortmund cause to be optimistic ahead of the Bundesliga restart next week, even if – with all due respect – they will face a VfL Wolfsburg side that are much stronger than 1. FC Rielasingen-Arlen. Following the disappointment of last season, in which the Wolves only preserved their top-flight status in the play-offs, they will be keen to get off to a good start. The Black & Yellows, however, look well equipped to stop that happening. Dennis-Julian Gottschlich