15,000 fervent supporters and two satisfied coaches. There seemed to be only winners and no losers in Borussia Dortmund's commanding 3-0 victory over TSV 1860 Munich in the first round of the DFB Cup.
The fact that the legendary Grünwalder Stadium could not call upon its famous cauldron-like atmosphere and the many TV viewers were not treated to an open "cup fight" was down to the professional performance of last year’s Bundesliga runners-up. Dortmund always put safety before risk, avoided sloppy plays, and produced consistent, focussed football. They also brushed aside any concerns there may have been after pre-season defeats to Valencia and Villarreal. After all, preparation is just preparation.
Nonetheless the team seemed to display a certain sense of relief. "The win does us a lot of good," said 17-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko, adding: "We're all happy that the season's starting. We have a great team." It was a team that embraced the basics. "It was a dominant performance and it was mature," underlined Edin Terzic after the game. "We showed the right body language from the kick-off, maintained our levels and rewarded ourselves with three really good goals."
In contrast to the previous game (a friendly against Villarreal), Terzic did not go with a 3-5-2 formation, this time giving a mandate to a four-man back line: "Because we feel very comfortable with that. However, as a coach you then have to decide which of your centre-backs to leave out." Terzic picked the two new signings Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck in central defence — but had to make an adjustment at half-time. "Niklas felt something in his front thigh and fortunately we have the luxury of not having to take risks. A good team is defined not only by the players on the pitch, but also how strong the bench is." The bench is where World Cup winner Mats Hummels started the game, but he "played an excellent game" after coming on, according to Terzic: "Mats was on it straight away. He showed great presence, was strong in the tackles and clear in his passing. That's what we want from him."
Up front, especially in the first half, the lightning-quick wingers Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen were almost unstoppable. "We were patient in our build-up play, we moved the ball around really well," said Malen. And when the spaces opened up, Adeyemi and Malen were able to exploit their speed advantage. "Watching Donny Malen perform was great fun in the first half," Terzic added. "Today he put his pace to full use and was unstoppable in the one-on-one battles. Both had great games and we're happy that both scored."
Terzic had to not only assess his team's performance after the match ("It was a good first step in the right direction"), but also answer questions about a possible replacement for the ill Sébastien Haller. Speaking on German broadcaster ZDF, Terzic stressed: "You're alluding to an external solution. My job is to look for internal solutions. We have an excellent youth academy, we have some fantastic young players in our squad." Those who didn't play yesterday, or played only briefly, can showcase their skills this afternoon in a friendly against Antalyaspor. The match kicks off at 17:00 CET and can be seen live on BVB TV.