Borussia Dortmund defeat Eintracht Trier 3-0 in what was a heavily one-sided first round DFB Pokal match. Here are some takeaways from Monday night’s game at the Moselstadion.
Thomas Tuchel opted for a starting XI with mainly players that had most of the pre-season under their belts. Only André Schürrle and Marc Bartra were part of the group, who joined the squad later due to an extended vacation after the Euro 2016.
BVB: Weidenfeller, Bartra, Dembélé, Aubameyang, Rode, Schürrle, Kagawa, Sokratis, Castro, Schmelzer, Passlack. pic.twitter.com/qkZUNSxyP2
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) 22. August 2016
Kagawa picks up much-needed confidence
With Mario Götze’s arrival, Shinji Kagawa cannot rest easy on Dortmund’s no. 10 spot. The Japanese international was very hit-and-miss throughout the pre-season, not hitting the sort of form that would guarantee him regular playing time. Götze stayed in Dortmund due to injury, and probably wouldn’t have started the match anyway.
Kagawa’s run into the box was rewarded after 8 minutes. He played the ball out wide to Schürrle, who crossed it back into the box. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang provided the lay-up to give the 27-year-old an opportunity to slot home.
BVB doubled the scoreline shortly after the half-hour mark. Kagawa was on the end of a vertical chain of passes. Marc Bartra found Gonzalo Castro, who played the ball forward to Schürrle. The left-winger flicked it on to the blue Samurai, who found the far corner of the net.
The brace will do Kagawa a world of good. If there is one thing we have learned within many seasons the playmaker has worn a yellow dress, is that he is a confidence player. He scored his 50th goal in a Dortmund shirt on Monday.
Marc Bartra is awesome
Borussia Dortmund fans from around the globe were in awe of Bartra’s passes. Now, don’t get carried away, it’s only the second match of the season. However, it is clear as day, that the €8 million BVB transferred over to Barcelona were a savvy investment.
The La Masia product made it easy to forget about Bayern-bound Mats Hummels. He could reproduce a stellar performance he already showed in the Supercup, and once again impressed with many pin-point vertical passes. It seems like Borussia Dortmund have not lost their play-making factor from the back after all.
And when it comes to roaming forward and dribbling past opponents, Bartra might even be superior than Hummels, who also loves to leave his line to have a go at opponents defenders.
The Spaniard dribbled past opposition with ease on numerous occasions whenever he got the chance. Especially in the second half, when the game was already done and dusted. Dortmund’s 3-0 lead over the fourth tier side Trier allowed everyone on the pitch a bit more freedom.
Aubameyang is still out of form
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will have to up his game significantly, if he intends to defend the African player of the year award. Against Trier he was at the end of half a dozen chances. He came as close to scoring as the inside of the post. But all in all, Aubameyang seems cursed for quite a while now. After a terrific first half of the previous season (18 Bundesliga goals in 17 matches), the Gabonese disappointed in the second half of 2015/16, where he could only net seven times.
In Trier, Aubameyang left with the impression that he is still stuck on his cold streak. He wasted chance after chance although his teammates tried everything to set him up.
Borussia Dortmund are in desperate need for the clinical finisher that he posed throughout 2015. The 2016 version of Aubameyang still has to step up if the Black and Yellows want to stand a chance in the Champions League.
The silver lining, however, is that Dortmund do not rely on their centre-forward too heavily. On Monday it were Kagawa and Schürrle, who showed that they can step-in and create the goals. Adrian Ramos and Emre Mor were also at the end of promising opportunities, which were denied by Trier keeper Chris Keilmann.
After the Supercup – although it ended in a 2-0 defeat against Bayern – and the match against Trier, Borussia Dortmund can enter the first their first Bundesliga match against Mainz with confidence. While the defence is not completely settled yet, BVB’s overall construct seems to have gained enough cohesiveness to be competitive on the following weekend.
Of course, we will only know for sure once the Bundesliga kicks off and Dortmund will be tested by tougher opposition. Though Tuchel has many positive takeaways to build on.
- Raphael Guerreiro played in central midfield when he came on, covering the left halfspace.
- Felix Passlack knows what he is doing on the right-back position
- Sebastian Rode knows how to play a vertical pass
- Ousmane Dembele still has a lot of work to do
- The draw for the second round of the DFB Pokal will take place on 26. August.