Runners-up Borussia Dortmund made a stylish start to the 57th Bundesliga season as they came from a goal down at home to thrash FC Augsburg 5-1 (1-1). Alcácer bagged a brace, while Sancho, Reus and Brandt contributed the other goals in what turned out to be a comfortable victory.
Boris Rupert and Timo Lammert reporting
The 81,365 spectators at a sold-out Signal Iduna Park witnessed a frenetic start to the match with Niederlechner putting the visitors 1-0 ahead after 31 seconds, only for Alcácer to level 80 seconds later. BVB enjoyed the majority of the possession (78 percent) and the shots (12-2) in the opening half, but the score remained 1-1 until the interval thanks to several top stops from FCA shot-stopper Koubek. But a three-goal salvo shortly after the break put the game to bed, with Sancho (51), Reus (57) and Alcácer (59) all scoring in the space of eight minutes to make it 4-1 to the hosts, before substitute Brandt added a fifth with eight minutes to go.
Last season's runners-up Borussia Dortmund, who won all nine of their friendly and competitive matches (Super Cup, DFB Cup) over the summer, were up against 15th-placed Augsburg. The Bavarians had won their first four fixtures of the summer but had since suffered three defeats, including a cup exit at the hands of FC Verl. BVB had the best home record last term (44 points), while FCA had the 14th-best away record.
Borussia, who were still without the injured duo of Guerreiro (torn muscle fibre) and Morey (shoulder problem), lined up in the same formation that started their DFB Cup First Round tie. Bürki was still not fit enough to make the matchday squad.
Augsburg had a go when the opportunity arose and defended intelligently, transitioning from a 4-2-3-1 formation with the ball to a 4-1-4-1 that kept things compact around the box without it. BVB predominantly tried to inject tempo into the game down the left-flank – where winger Hazard was frequently overlapped by full-back Schulz – and tried their luck from long range on a number of occasions too.
The match & analysis:
Borussia Dortmund's first Bundesliga match of the new season got off to the worst-imaginable start when goalkeeper Marwin Hitz was beaten for the first time after just 31 seconds. Augsburg left-back Pedersen found himself in space following a one-two and struck a low cross into the Dortmund penalty area, where an unmarked Niederlechner was left with a simple tap-in from the edge of the six-yard box that he duly dispatched to give the visitors an early lead.
Despite their stuttering start, BVB appeared unperturbed by the early goal and levelled the scores at 1-1 within two minutes. Sancho played in captain Reus down the right flank and the Germany international raced towards the byline before sending the ball into the middle, where Paco Alcácer was waiting to slot home from three metres. It was the striker's 19th Bundesliga goal in 27 games – a Bundesliga record.
But the visitors did not retreat, instead continuing to battle bravely and press BVB early. With 10 minutes gone, Weigl tested FCA shot-stopper Koubek with a long-range effort that was brilliantly touched over the bar by the new signing between the sticks. Mats Hummels won the aerial battle from the ensuing corner but his header sailed narrowly wide. Dortmund continued to dominate possession and create good opportunities to score, though Alcácer (13) and Reus (19, 25) both failed to find the Augsburg net with their respective chances.
The Black & Yellows steadily upped the tempo, limiting Augsburg to a handful of meaningful forays out of their own half. But while BVB continued to look dangerous going forward, FCA custodian Koubek was on excellent form and made several fine saves. Truth be told, it was pretty much one-way traffic by this point as BVB dominated in almost every respect: more possession (over 70 percent), a pass completion rate of over 90 percent and 11 shots in the first 35 minutes highlighted their dominance in the opening half.
That said, BVB were lacking an element of precision in the Augsburg box. The visitors set up camp around their own penalty area, limiting their hosts to long-range efforts and solidly defending attacks down the wings to ensure they remained on level terms until the break.
It was not until five minutes after the restart that the first chance of the second period was created, though it did result in a second goal of the day for the home side. Witsel got the better of two Augsburg players down the left flank and drove a powerful ball across the face of goal. Although shot-stopper Koubek managed to get his fingertips to the ball, it fell perfectly for Sancho, who fired home off the inside of the post to make it 2-1 to Dortmund.
The Black & Yellows remained in the ascendancy after the restart but demonstrated greater efficiency and purpose as they quickly raced into a three-goal lead within the space of minutes. Reus added a third in the 57th minute following build-up play from Sancho and Alcácer, who himself notched another goal – his second of the game – to make it 4-1 only two minutes later. The goal was preceded by some brilliant individual play from Sancho, who skipped past three Augsburg players before looking up and spotting the centre-forward completely unmarked. Augsburg shot-stopper Koubek looked shaky for the third and fourth goals, his confidence from the opening 45 minutes having seemingly eroded. With 67 minutes on the clock, BVB new signing Brandt made his Bundesliga debut for the Black & Yellows. The 23-year-old Germany international replaced Hazard, with Hakimi coming on in place of Piszczek at the same time.
The match was already over midway through the second half. FC Augsburg barely threatened going forward, with a shot from Richter that sailed two or three metres wide their most dangerous moment. The Black & Yellows made their third and final substitution on 78 minutes as Reus made way for Götze.
A Dortmund side in full flow subsequently netted their fifth goal of the game on 82 minutes, Witsel floating a ball towards the corner of the six-yard box from a centre-left position that Brandt, having escaped his marker, volleyed past a hapless Koubek in the Augsburg goal. Götze (84) and Witsel (89) both spurned opportunities to increase the margin of victory in the remaining minutes of the game.
Next up are two away games against two of the promoted sides: BVB will first travel to 1. FC Cologne next Friday (20:30 CET), before taking on 1. FC Union Berlin the following Saturday (31 August, 18:30 CET). The next home game will take place after the international break, with Dortmund set to host Bayer Leverkusen on 14 September.