Borussia Dortmund have beaten FC Zurich 4-3 (2-2) at their training camp in Bad Ragaz thanks to a hat-trick from 19-year-old striker Jakob Bruun Larsen and a goal from Marco Reus. The high-scoring encounter was the first of two friendlies for the Black and Yellows on Tuesday.
Boris Rupert reporting from Bad Ragaz
The match could not be announced in advance for security reasons, with the "Ri Au" sports complex not possessing the required infrastructure to host an (international) friendly.
Borussia lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with Delaney in the defensive midfield role and – rather surprisingly – Guerreiro in one of two wider positions in (attacking) midfield. Burnic played at left-back, while the front three of Wolf, Reus and Larsen frequently switched positions.
High intensity training leaves its mark
Overall, it was clear the team was still feeling the effects of the high intensity of their training regime, with four extremely intense sessions having been held in the past 24 hours. There was a lack of precision in their build-up play, while there were gaps in the defence − especially on the left side. Schönbächler took advantage of such a situation in the ninth minute, leaving Hitz with no chance with a shot into the bottom-left corner that put Zurich 1-0 ahead.
BVB created chances when they injected more speed into their play. Larsen and Reus combined to set up Wolf, whose shot went narrowly wide (5). But they did make the breakthrough to level the score at 1-1 two minutes after conceding, Reus teeing up Larsen in the box to slot home. Provider Reus then turned scorer, beating the offside trap to latch on to a superb Kagawa pass that took out the entire defence of last (and this) season's fourth-placed side in Switzerland. But their 2-1 lead did not last for long, with Rodriguez punishing a defensive error in the 27th minute.
Defence more solid after the break
If anything, the first half − in which FC Zurich had slightly more of the chances (4-3) − demonstrated that Delaney is the leader BVB had been hoping for: the Dane won back and distributed balls, pulled the strings and gave audible instructions.
Nine minutes after the interval, Hakimi fizzed a ball into the centre and Reus purposefully let in run through to Larsen, who fired home to re-establish the BVB lead. Kagawa hit the woodwork shortly afterwards. It was the kind of show of desire that Favre wanted to see 13 days before the first competitive game − and get to see it he did. The team looked lively, even if not everything went as planned, and appeared much more stable defensively than they had before the break.
Their fourth goal was brilliantly worked, Reus first beating two opponents and playing the ball inside once he reached the edge of the six-yard box, leaving Larsen with a simple tap-in (74). The deficit was halved by a spectacular lob from Rodriguez barely two minutes later to make it 4-3, before Larsen missed a chance to score his fourth in the 82nd minute.
Six World Cup participants in action against Zurich.
Favre divided the team into two groups ahead of the "double-matchday", so that the players who faced Zurich were predominantly those who had returned to training a later stage of pre-season. Among them were six World Cup participants: Hakimi, Akanji, Kagawa, Delaney, Reus and Guerreiro, who was making his first friendly appearance in pre-season. A further two "late returnees" − Bürki and Piszczek − will feature against Napoli in St. Gallen tonight (19:30 CET).
BVB: Hitz – Hakimi, Akanji, Zagadou, Burnic – Kagawa (Rode, 70), Delaney, Guerreiro (Gómez, 70) – Wolf, Reus (Isak, 83), Larsen
Goals: 0-1 Schönbächler (9), 1-1 Larsen (Reus, 11), 2-1 Reus (Kagawa, 23), 2-2 Rodriguez (27), 3-2 Larsen (Hakimi, 54), 4-2 Larsen (Reus, 74), 4-3 Rodriguez (76)