Borussia Dortmund suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of two-time UEFA Cup finalists Espanyol in Winterthur on Friday, losing 1-0 (0-0) to the Spanish outfit despite having much more of the play in a largely one-sided pre-season friendly.
Boris Rupert reporting from Winterthur
Peter Bosz divided the BVB squad into two groups on the second day of their training camp in Switzerland: while one first underwent a highly intensive training session in "Ri Au" before later watching on from the stands at the "Schützenwiese" Stadium, the other completed a light session in the morning and then faced the eighth-best side from last season's Primera Division in the evening. As a result there were only four players on the bench, with youngsters Reimann and Beste joining new signings Philipp and Dahoud as the sole substitutes. The latter came off the bench at the break to make his debut in Black & Yellow.
On Tuesday – the last day of the training camp in Switzerland – the roles will be reversed, with the XI that faced Espanyol completing an intensive training session while the other group prepare for the match against Italian opponents Atalanta in the evening.
The 9,400 spectators at a sold-out "Schützenwiese" Stadium – approximately 80 percent of whom were Black & Yellow fans – welcomed Roman Bürki with a standing ovation, while Mario Götze & Co. received a no less rapturous reception too.
Borussia dominated the first period, recording 72 percent possession in the opening half and largely keeping the Spaniards confined in their own half. They had nine shots to Espanyol's two, but struggled to convert their dominance and numerous well-crafted opportunities into goals. Aubameyang missed two chances to open the scoring in the first half, firstly missing narrowly in the third minute and later shooting inches wide following build-up play from Götze – again the standout performer – and Dembélé. Castro also came close with an effort from 17 metres in the 38th minute.
The Black & Yellows had more momentum going forward and more defensive stability than in previous pre-season friendlies, but Espanyol still threatened on their only two counter-attacks. However, Carrilho was denied by Piszczek in the 13th minute and later failed to convert a cross from a central, unmarked position.
The second half saw Dahoud replace Götze, whose return to action is being managed cautiously. The Spaniards immediately created a good chance in the 46th minute, only to be denied by Bürki, before Sahin's shot was cleared for a corner at the other end a minute later. Schürrle (69) and Dahoud (75) had efforts from long range, but all in all the second period was lacking the power and spirit that had been so prominent in the first, though perhaps that was understandable given the training volume. Espanyol even managed to grab a late winner on one of their few forays forward, with Piatti pouncing on a defensive error to slot home ten minutes from time.
BVB: Bürki – Piszczek, Sokratis, Bartra, Zagadou – Weigl – Castro, Götze (Dahoud, 46) – Dembélé, Aubameyang, Schürrle
Goals: 0-1 Piatti (80)
Attendance: 9,400 (sold out) in Winterthur