Borussia Dortmund now have three wins from three pre-season friendlies under Lucien Favre after beating English club Liverpool 3-1 (0-1) in an International Champions Cup match played late on Sunday evening German time. It was an arduous first half in the afternoon heat in Charlotte but, as the tempo increased after the interval, Christian Pulisic grabbed a brace and set up the third to help BVB seal the win.
The full-backs were instructed to push forward when the Black & Yellows had the ball, transforming the 4-1-4-1 formation into a 3-5-2 with Sahin dropping between the centre-backs. Yet both teams' attacking efforts were largely thwarted by the opposing defence in the opening half. There were only a few exceptions. On four minutes, Liverpool shot-stopper Karius came a long way off his line and cleared the ball straight to Philipp, who fired wide from inside the centre-circle. Then, midway through the first half, Liverpool took a short corner and crossed into the box. Defender van Dijk rose unmarked in the six-yard box to head Robertson's cross into the net and beat the powerless Hitz for the first time after 204 minutes in the BVB goal (25).
Otherwise, though, efforts on goal were few and far between. Wolf received the ball from Dahoud on the right of the box and shot in the 39th minute, but Karius comfortably saved. There was not enough movement in the Black & Yellows' build-up play to overcome the intense pressing of the Champions League finalists.
A round of applause went around the ground as "Captain America" Christian Pulisic was introduced at the break. BVB made nine changes in total, with only Hitz and Zagadou staying on.
Pulisic scores twice, then creates the third
There was greater intensity in the second period but the first moment of note did not arrive until the 64th minute. Liverpool, decked out in their purple kit, dispossessed Gómez and Sturridge fed the ball into the path of Ojo, who was clean through. But the youngster's effort lacked precision and Hitz diverted it onto the crossbar. BVB immediately went up the other end and, when a penalty was awarded for Klavan's foul on Pulisic, the young American stepped up to convert his spot-kick.
Liverpool piled on the pressure but, on 89 minutes, Dortmund countered down the left and Schmelzer perfectly picked out Pulisic, who made it 2-1 from the edge of the box. That lead was extended to 3-1 in stoppage time when Pulisic's shot from inside the box was spilled by Karius and Bruun Larsen slotted home the rebound.
BVB First Half: Hitz – Toljan, Diallo, Zagadou, Dieckmann – Sahin – Wolf, Dahoud, Boadu, Sancho – Philipp
BVB Second Half: Hitz – Bockhorn, Pieper, Zagadou, Schmelzer – Burnic – Pulisic, Götze, Gómez – Isak, Larsen
Goals: 0-1 van Dijk (Robertson, 25), 1-1 Pulisic (penalty for foul on Pulisic by Klavan, 66), 2-1 Pulisic (Schmelzer, 89), 3-1 Bruun Larsen (Pulisic, 90+3)