Borussia Dortmund have made a successful start to 2019, beating domestic rivals Fortuna Düsseldorf 3-2 during their winter training camp. Maximilian Philipp scored two spectacular goals in the opening half and, although Marcin Kaminski levelled the score at 2-2 late on, Marcel Schmelzer won the match with a tap-in in the final minute.
Patrick Eckholt reporting
Manuel Akanji is suffering from hip problems and did not travel with his team-mates. He is joined on the treatment table by fellow centre-backs Abdou Diallo and Dan-Axel Zagadou, who are both regaining fitness following an injury. That meant Julian Weigl kept his place at the heart of defence, having previously played there in the 2-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach. Youth prospect Amos Pieper, 23, was given the chance to prove himself, while Marwin Hitz replaced his Swiss compatriot Roman Bürki − who only returned to training yesterday − between the sticks.
Coach Lucien Favre opted to mix experience with youth in the defensive midfield positions, choosing to play Axel Witsel alongside the 18-year-old Tobias Raschl, who has travelled to a training camp with the senior squad for the first time and came in to replace the injured Thomas Delaney (calf problems).
Maximilan Philipp was handed a starting berth but Marco Reus, the newly-crowned German Player of the Year for 2018, was suffering from a gastrointestinal infection and could not play. Mario Götze began the match in the centre-forward role as his fellow striker Paco Alcácer is currently undergoing rehab for a fibre tear. The match also came too early for Bruun Larsen (medial collateral ligament strain) and Mahmoud Dahoud (infection).
It seems coach Lucien Favre has no plans to change his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation in 2019, and his BVB side delivered another strong performance in the first friendly of the year, enjoying lots of possession, showing versatility in their build-up play and always looking for the gaps in the opposing defence. Having initially struggled to deal with Düsseldorf's high balls and counters, the Black & Yellows found their feet as the match progressed and carved open some dangerous chances.
The match & analysis:
Borussia Dortmund came racing out of the blocks at the "Marbella Football Center", but their first effort after only three minutes − a Maximilian Philipp effort from close range − was kept out by Düsseldorf shot-stopper Michael Rensing.
Meanwhile, Fortuna went close several times in the first period, first posing a threat on the counter in the fifth minute when Dodi Lukebakio ran at Achraf Hakimi and Amos Piepier. His shot from almost 20 metres ultimately sailed narrowly over the bar and Benito Raman's goal seven minutes later was ruled out for offside, but the breakthrough finally came on 15 minutes when Niko Gießelmann's cross was headed home from close range by Kevin Stöger. In the ensuing minutes, Pieper (17) and Hitz (19) both thwarted attempts from Fortuna captain Oliver Fink.
BVB hit back in style though, with Maximilian Philipp notching an outstanding brace in the space of four minutes shortly after the half-hour mark. The first goal came when vice captain Raphael Guerreiro spotted Philipp in space and teed the 24-year-old up to make it 1-1 in the 31st minute, while the second three minutes later was a long-range effort from almost 30 metres that left Rensing with no chance.
Hitz kept the lead intact by thwarting a Rouwen Hennings free-kick in the 48th minute, but the equaliser eventually came on 67 minutes when Marcin Kaminski headed home from a corner. Jadon Sancho then squandered a chance to re-establish the lead after being set up by Kagawa (78), before going close with a free-kick from 20 metres (85). The winner did come, though, with Marcel Schmelzer tapping home a Sergio Gomez cross to seal a 3-2 win.
BVB will play another friendly − against Feyernoord, who currently sit in third place in the Dutch Eredivisie, at Marbella Stadium on 11 January (17:00 CET) − before heading home from their winter training camp in Spain. That match will also be shown live on BVB TV.
First half: Hitz – Piszczek, Weigl, Pieper, Hakimi – Witsel, Raschl – Pulisic, Philipp, Guerreiro – Götze
Second half: Hitz – Wolf, Toprak, Toljan, Schmelzer, – Weigl (Burnic, 63), Raschl (Schwermann, 63) – Sancho, Kagawa, Gomez – Isak
Goals: 0-1 Stöger (Gießelmann, 15), 1-1 Philipp (Guerreiro, 31), 2-1 Philipp (Hakimi, 34), 2-2 Kaminski (67), 3-2 Schmelzer (Gomez, 90)