Borussia celebrated a 1-0 (0-0) home victory against VfL Wolfsburg on Matchday 5 of the Bundesliga season and continued to make up ground in the table by picking up points nine, 10 and 11.
Boris Rupert reports
Some strong link-up play that was rounded off by Marco Reus, who scored the only goal of the game to make it 1-0 in the 69th minute, sufficed for BVB in a mostly tough match watched by 81,365 spectators at a sold-out SIGNAL IDUNA PARK.
Head coach Edin Terzic made six changes compared to the Champions League game in Paris (2-0 defeat) four days ago. Niclas Füllkrug, Marco Reus, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Salih Özcan, Felix Nmecha and Rami Bensebaini replaced Karim Adeyemi, Donyell Malen, Marius Wolf, Niklas Süle (all substitutes) and Marcel Sabitzer (injured). Julien Duranville, Thomas Meunier and Mateu Morey remained unavailable. Gregor Kobel captained the team onto the field for the first time.
Seventh versus sixth. One point separated the two teams. BVB had started the season with two victories and two draws, while VfL had kicked off with three wins and one loss. Borussia had won nine of the previous 10 head-to-head meetings.
Borussia returned to a 4-2-3-1 formation that became a 3-3-4 in possession. Ryerson then pushed far forward and occupied the right flank, which was vacated by Julian Brandt moving into the middle to join Reus, and Özcan mostly departed from his role in the double pivot and strengthened the presence at the heart of midfield. Wolfsburg lined up in a 4-3-3 which saw Arnold frequently drop between the centre-backs during the build-up and both full-backs push far forward.
The match & analysis:
Five minutes had been played when the 1.97-metre-tall Casteels clawed a Reus free-kick away from the corner. It was the only real chance of a hard-fought match for BVB in the first period. But the visitors did not have it any better, with Kobel only intervening to thwart Tiago Tomas (37).
Borussia tried hard – with Özcan in particular standing out – but could not surprise a compact Wolfsburg team and hardly managed to get the pacey Bynoe-Gittens into position either. The distances between the sections of the team were too big. The effort was on point, no question, but the spirit was missing. BVB's play became noticeably more structured towards the end of the first period, but Hummels and Schlotterbeck missed out on scoring a possible goal when they got in each other's way following a Brandt free-kick (45+1).
Tempo and depth were also missing from BVB's play at the start of the second half. When Füllkrug was then played in by Hummels with a pass over the entire defence, the new signing missed the ball in an unmarked position in the box. A short while later, Brandt did not connect with it properly from a centre-left position in the penalty area (55).
Malen came on in place of Bynoe-Gittens around the hour mark and injected the desired momentum. In the 68th minute, the Dutchman sped up the play and passed to Reus, who immediately fed it on to Brandt, whose shot could not get the better of Casteels. Hummels then initiated the next attack seconds later when he played a pass to Malen, who served to set Brandt in motion once again. The latter then fizzed the ball into the middle from the left flank, where Reus beat the incoming Malen to the ball and slotted it into the far corner with his left foot (69).
Wolfsburg then looked livelier but the Black & Yellows comfortably saw the victory over the line following a dangerous shot by Wind (77).
BVB will be away to TSG Hoffenheim on Friday. The Black & Yellows will then have two home games in the first week of October: first against AC Milan on Wednesday 4/10 and then against Union Berlin on the Saturday.
Teams & goals
Bundesliga Matchday 5
BORUSSIA DORTMUND 1-0 (0-0) VFL WOLFSBURG
Bor. Dortmund: Kobel – Ryerson, Hummels, Schlotterbeck, Bensebaini – F. Nmecha, Özcan – Brandt, Reus (Can, 83), Bynoe-Gittens (Malen, 63) – Füllkrug (Haller, 78)
VfL Wolfsburg: Casteels – Maehle, Lacroix, Jenz, Rogerio – Arnold – Svanberg (Vranckx, 77), Majer (Wimmer, 88) – Cerny (Kaminski, 65), Tiago Tomas (Baku, 77) – Wind (Sarr, 77)
Substitutes: Meyer, Süle, Wolf, Moukoko, Adeyemi, Reyna – Pervan, Bornauw, Zeisiger, Gerhardt
Goal: 1-0 Reus (Brandt, 69)
Corners: 5-3 (3-2 at half-time), chance ratio: 3-2 (1-1)
Referee: Jablonski (Bremen), yellow card: – Cerny
Attendance: 81,365 (sold-out), weather: bright, 16 degrees