Borussia Dortmund got the 58th Bundesliga season underway with a convincing win. The Black & Yellows ran out 3-0 (1-0) winners over Borussia Mönchengladbach in their first home match played in front of fans since the end of February.
Boris Rupert reporting
9,350 spectators in SIGNAL IDUNA PARK watched Giovanni Reyna give Borussia Dortmund a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute. A second-half brace from Haaland then wrapped up all three points: the Norwegian converted a penalty in the 54th minute and then finished off a counter-attack 13 minutes before the end.
Last year's runners-up versus the team that finished fourth. The Black & Yellows had notched up a run of 11 consecutive wins over the other Borussia and had picked up 40 of a possible 42 points from their last 14 home matches against the team from the Lower Rhine. Both sides got the new season off to a perfect start in the DFB Cup last weekend: BVB ran out 5-0 winners away to 3. Liga outfit Duisburg 5-0, while Gladbach stormed to an 8-0 win over fourth-tier club FC Oberneuland.
Piszczek (back complaint), Guerreiro (muscle strain) Morey, Schulz (both lacking match fitness), Zagadou (knee injury), Schmelzer (rehabilitation after knee surgery) and Raschl (ligament injury) were out of action for Dortmund. There was one change to the side from the Monday-night cup match, with Bürki replacing Hitz in goal.
Lucien Favre opted for the same tactical approach to last weekend: the Black & Yellows lined up in a 3-1-4-2 formation, with Witsel occupying the central-defensive-midfield role in front of a back three of Can, Hummels and Akanji. Meunier and Hazard played on the right and left of midfield respectively and looked to drop back to join up with the back three when Gladbach were in possession. Reyna and Bellingham played ahead of Witsel in midfield and looked to move the ball forward to the striking duo of Haaland and Sancho. The visitors played in a 3-4-2-1 formation and regularly looked to negate the threat posed by Sancho by double-marking the young Englishman.
The match & analysis:
The Black & Yellows needed some time to find their groove, not helped by the early injury suffered by Hazard. The Belgian pulled his thigh after getting back to defend in the box. He was replaced by Passlack in the 15th minute. BVB's first effort on goal came in the 21st minute, with Haaland getting his head on the end of a free-kick delivery from Sancho. Seconds later, they had their first real chance to score: Passlack teed up Haaland, whose shot was deflected away for a corner.
Gladbach also took their time to carve out a goalscoring opportunity, but when it came, it was a big one. Hofmann played a one-two with Stindl and found himself with just enough space to fire off a shot under pressure around the penalty spot. Bürki did well to save first with his foot and then with his hand to prevent the visitors grabbing a 1-0 lead in the 32nd minute.
The match had now come to life; the tempo had picked up and passions had flared. Before long, the Black & Yellows had something to celebrate: Sancho played a pass to Can, who had embarked on a venture upfield. The Germany international played the ball into the box. Reyna touched it on to Bellingham, who then played it back to his midfield partner. The young American took a touch near the right-hand corner of the six-yard box and then fired a shot into the far-corner of the net to give BVB a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute. Sancho came close to extending the advantage in the 41st minute, but his header from a Can cross ended up flying just wide of the target.
Bürki received another stern test just before the break: Lainer unleashed a shot from 19 metres out, but the BVB keeper was able to get a hand to it to send it over the bar. Gladbach then came close again from the resulting corner; fortunately a BVB defender was able to block Stindl's shot. The two sides went in at the interval with BVB having had one more shot on goal than their opponents (6-5). More importantly, the scoreboard read 1-0 in favour of the home side.
Can looked to get forward as often as possible, and in the 49th minute, he powered into the box and fizzed in a low cross from the byline. Gladbach keeper Sommer was able to deflect the ball away with his foot as the prowling Haaland looked to pounce. Shortly afterwards, Dortmund hit Gladbach on the counter. Sancho won the ball deep in his own half and passed to Witsel, who played it on to Reyna. The 17-year-old sped into the box before going to the ground after a tackle from behind by Bensebaini. Referee Brych waved play on at first, but then paused to have a second look through the VAR monitor - and duly pointed to the spot. Haaland stepped up to convert with a cool finish to bring the score to 2-0 in the 54th minute.
Not long afterwards, Reyna was denied by Sommer. The rebound fell to Passlack, whose shot on goal was blocked on the line by the well-placed Ginter. Down the other end, Hummels was fortunate not to give away a penalty after a tussle in the box with Gladbach substitute Thuram. Gladbach coach Marco Rose brought Pléa into the fray, meaning the visitors now had two bona-fide strikers on the pitch. In the 66th minute, Delaney came on to replace Bellingham, who had a good game.
Gladbach now looked to attack higher up the pitch and put the home side under pressure. Their approach proved effective, as Dortmund struggled to keep hold of the ball and string together a series of passes. Fortunately, this phase only lasted about five minutes, as the Black & Yellows soon regained their composure. In the 77th minute, they found a third goal to wrap up all three points: Hummels won the ball after a Gladbach corner and passed it to Sancho, who dribbled from box to box before slipping an inch-perfect pass into the path of Haaland. The Norwegian made no mistake in firing home to make it 3-0.
Borussia Dortmund are next in action on Saturday, when they travel to FC Augsburg (kick-off 15:30 CET). The following week, they face their first midweek fixture of the season - in the Supercup away to Bayern Munich (Wednesday 30 September) - and then host Sport-Club Freiburg in the Bundesliga (Saturday 3 October).