Super Cup winners Borussia Dortmund have reached the Second Round of the DFB Cup thanks to a deserved 2-0 (0-0) victory over third-division outfit KFC Uerdingen.
Boris Rupert and Timo Lammert reporting from Düsseldorf
The 32,110 spectators at the Merkur Spiel-Arena in Düsseldorf – of whom more than half were Borussia Dortmund fans – saw the Black & Yellows clearly dominate their ultra-defensive opponents in the opening half. Indeed, BVB created half a dozen top-class goalscoring opportunities but it was not until four minutes after the interval that captain Marco Reus settled the nerves by scoring an opener that was allowed to stand despite suggestions of handball. Paco Alcácer added a second from a direct free-kick on the 70-minute mark.
As the winners of the Landespokal Niederrhein, KFC Uerdingen had qualified for the First Round of the DFB Cup for the first time in 18 years. The last meeting between the two clubs came in the league in 1996, when Borussia Dortmund emerged 5-0 winners. The cup head-to-head record was relatively even, with two wins, a draw and a defeat for BVB.
There were two changes to the starting XI that faced Bayern Munich in the Super Cup last weekend: Hummels and Hazard replaced Toprak (bench) and Guerreiro, who sustained a muscle injury in training and is set for a two-week spell on the sidelines. In addition, Brandt (match fitness) and the injured duo of Bürki and Morey were unavailable.
The third division side sat deep with one bank of four on the edge of the penalty area and another a few metres further forward. Rodriguez pressed the Dortmund player in possession, while the only nominal striker, Osawa, also worked hard to help out in defence. That meant that while BVB, lining up in their 4-2-3-1 formation, enjoyed long spells of possession, it was difficult for them to build tempo. They tried to do so with a combination of low and high crosses into the box but they were often intercepted and then it was back to square one.
The match & analysis:
The first goalscoring opportunity for Borussia Dortmund came from the first corner kick of the game. New signing Thorgan Hazard flashed a dangerous ball across the face of Lukas Königshofer's goal, but Lukasz Piszczek's header was cleared off the line by Kevin Großkreutz. Two minutes later, however, it was the hosts who ventured forward for the first time. Following some lovely link-up play down the right flank, Roberto Rodriguez fired a shot at goal from a central position on the edge of the penalty area. The shot was powerful but central and Marwin Hitz in the BVB goal managed to tip it over the bar.
That scare served as a wake-up call for BVB, who seized the game by the scruff of the neck and set up camp in the Uerdingen half. There were spells in which the Black & Yellows would pass the ball between themselves for minutes at a time without an opponent getting near it, but there were few incidents of note in the opening quarter-hour and the second opportunity of the match didn't come about until Mats Hummels' header from a Hazard corner was brilliantly saved by Königshofer. Despite the long spells of possession, it was not until the 28th minute that striker Paco Alcácer really came close to opening the scoring thanks to an assist from Hazard, but Königshofer turned his effort behind for a corner.
With seven minutes remaining in the opening period, KFC Uerdingen had a chance to break the deadlock completely against the run of play. Osayamen Osawe nicked the ball off Hummels on the halfway line and went clean through on Hitz, but the Uerdingen frontman lost his nerve and fired his shot narrowly wide of the upright. BVB created three further opportunities before the half-time whistle sounded, with Hummels missing from around 11 metres (39), Jadon Sancho testing Königshofer in the 45th minute and Paco Alcácér being denied by the Uerdingen shot-stopper from close range in stoppage time. BVB dominated the first-half stats, with far more shots (14-4) and possession (80 percent).
Both teams emerged unchanged for the second period and there was little change in the balance of play either, with the sky-blue hosts camped around their own penalty box and only striker Osawe lurking on the halfway line waiting for his chance to counter. BVB, meanwhile, set up shop around the KFC box and were playing the ball from side to side in the style of a handball team. But they did manage to spring one or two surprises by playing long diagonal balls from the centre of defence, and it was one such passage of play in the 49th minute that brought about the opener. Manuel Akanji floated a pass over the defence and straight into the path of Marco Reus, who slotted home from five metres out.
The hosts became a tad more adventurous once they had fallen behind, creating two moments of danger up front and disrupting BVB's build-up play slightly earlier. But the Black & Yellows continued to look comfortable with their passing and gave little away defensively, although going forward there were one or two spells where Lucien Favre's charges did take their foot off the gas a bit. The win was finally clinched from one of their many set-pieces with 20 minutes to go when Alcácer, who had been slightly unfortunate from open play, converted a direct free-kick from around 25 metres to make it 2-0.
The Black & Yellows maintained their full focus and professionalism in the dying minutes of the match. Favre opted to rest Reus and Sancho towards the end, with Hakimi and Götze replacing the two attacking players. BVB used their wealth of experience to see out the result and can now head home happy with a deserved 2-0 victory in the First Round of the DFB Cup.
Borussia Dortmund will be in action again on Saturday (15:00 CET) when they take on third-tier outfit Preußen Münster in a friendly. It will be a chance for the players who didn't play much or at all today to get some minutes under their belt. The draw for the Second Round of the DFB Cup will be conducted a week on Sunday (18 August).