Isak and Kagawa on target as BVB beat Düsseldorf 2-0
Borussia Dortmund have won their first match of 2018, beating second division leaders Fortuna Düsseldorf 2-0 (0-0) in the first of the two friendlies organised as part of their mid-season training camp in Spain. Alexander Isak and Shinji Kagawa scored the goals that fired Peter Stöger's side to victory at the Estadio La Linea.
A 17-man squad was named for this friendly, due to the fact that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – who had only just linked up with the squad – and Dan-Axel Zagadou were training individually at the hotel. Marco Reus, Jacob Bruun Larsen and Sebastian Rode are still undergoing rehabilitation, while Marcel Schmelzer (calf), Christian Pulisic (shin) and Roman Bürki (cold) were all unavailable due to injury or illness. The trio of Mario Götze, Lukasz Piszczek and Gonzalo Castro had all recovered from their respective injuries but were rested for this one.
BVB made a highly promising start, controlling the play from the first minute and settling into their groove in the opening stages. With opponents Fortuna sitting deep, BVB had the lion's share of possession and played at a high tempo going forward. The first good chance fell to Andrey Yarmolenko in the eighth minute, but his right-footed effort was parried by the Düsseldorf shot-stopper. But then barely five minutes later came an unwelcome development: left-back Raphael Guerreiro sustained an injury in a challenge with an opponent and was forced off at an early stage, being replaced by Marc Bartra. A diagnosis has yet to be made.
Dortmund upped the pressure midway through the first period but were often forced to work the ball around Fortuna's penalty area due to the second-tier outfit's solid defensive display. Only on rare occasions did Düsseldorf get anywhere near Roman Weidenfeller's goal. The first moment of real danger was in the 25th minute when Benito Raman went clean through, although fortunately his effort sailed narrowly wide of the post. The tempo slowed in the ensuing period, allowing Fortuna to have more of the play and they created another chance in the 33rd minute – again through Raman, who fired another effort wide. The best chance for the Black & Yellows felt to Jadon Sancho on the stroke of half-time, but the English youngster failed to generate sufficient contact on Jeremy Toljan's cross and the move fizzled out, meaning the teams went in goalless at the break.
Yarmolenko sets up both goals
BVB boss Peter Stöger made four changes at the interval, introducing Alexander Isak, Julian Weigl, Ömer Toprak and Dominik Reimann in place of Mahmoud Dahoud, Nuri Sahin, Sokratis and Roman Weidenfeller. The start to the second period was no less frenetic than the end of the first. Following a one-two with Shinji Kagawa, right-back Toljan's shot from a narrow arrow was deflected behind for a corner kick. The match was 53 minutes old by this point. Seven minutes later, on the hour mark, Erik Durm made his comeback following a long spell out with injury. The 25-year-old lined up on the left of the back four, with Marc Bartra moving across to the right flank.
It was not until the 71st minute, however, that BVB finally got the breakthrough. It came about from a deflected shot by Yarmolenko that landed at the feet of Alexander Isak, who slotted home the deserved opener. The young Swede had several chances in the period that followed, though there always seemed to be one or two Düsseldorf defenders blocking his route to goal. A second goal did come, however, courtesy of BVB's quick tempo and rapid link-up play. Andrey Yarmolenko was again the provider, setting up Shinji Kagawa to make it 2-0.
BVB face the second and final friendly match of their mid-season training camp in Marbella on 8 January, when they take on Belgian Cup winners SV Zulte Waregem, who currently sit 14th in the Jupiler League. The kick-off for that match will be at 16:00 CET.