Dortmund took on 2. Liga side FC St. Pauli in their third friendly match in preparation for the 2016-2017 season, winning by a scoreline of 3-2 in Brixen, Austria. Aubameyang scored the first two goals, giving Dortmund a 2-0 lead at the half. St. Pauli came back and scored two goals in the second half, but Orel Mangala’s late winner ensured Dortmund’s third straight friendly win.
It was the tale of two halves, as Thomas Tuchel sent out his first team line-up to play the first half, followed by a youth side in the second half. Sebastian Rode sat back when in possession, while Adrian Ramos featured on the wing, flanked by Ousmane Dembele, who popped up all over the pitch throughout the first half.
Weidenfeller – Ginter, Bender, Sokratis, Schmelzer -Rode, Castro – Aubameyang, Kagawa, Dembélé – Ramos
— Lars Pollmann (@LarsPollmann) July 14, 2016
It was Dembele who was the most energetic player, rounding defenders and showing off various skill moves, as Dortmund fans have become accustomed to seeing already in the first two friendlies. The 19-year-old Frenchman has a lot to learn, though, as his taste for tricks is something that could hurt Dortmund on occasion. However, he created multiple chances for Adrian Ramos and Aubameyang as a result of his individual brilliance.
The first goal came as a result of Bender’s long ball over top of the defense. The opener wasn’t the cleanest Aubameyang goal you’ll see, as he benefitted off a few lucky bounces, giving him the perfect opportunity for him to convert the trademark Aubameyang chip.
Dortmund were dominant in the first half, and were quickly rewarded with a penalty after a St. Pauli player clattered into Adrian Ramos. Aubameyang converted the spot kick, sending the keeper the wrong way to put BVB 2-0 up. The first half performance was probably Dortmund’s best out of all three friendlies, with the only negative being Sven Bender’s injury.
Bender’s head banged into Rode’s shoulder coming down from a header, and looked liked a possible concussion. At this point in his career, these are just normal injuries for a guy like Manni, but he was replaced by Jacob Bruun Larsen just to err on the side of caution. Ginter moved over to centre-back in place of Bender, while Larsen took over at right back.
The second half saw a total of 10 changes for BVB; the only player staying on being Jacob Bruun Larsen, who was brought in for Bender. The story of the second half was Mikel Merino, who made his first appearance in a BVB shirt. A bit surprisingly, Merino slotted in at left center back, but displayed skills similar to those of Mats Hummels. Merino’s passing was his best attribute today, and he often found himself higher up the pitch than some might have liked.
— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) July 14, 2016
St. Pauli’s first goal came as a result of Merino venturing a little too far forward, exposing the back and allowing Nico Empen space to finish a cross with one touch. After the goal, Dortmund’s second team controlled the game a bit better, with Dzenis Burnic looking like he might deserve a chance with the first team at some point in the future.
The equalizer came when the entire Dortmund defense pulled up and stopped defending in hopes of an offside call that never came, which allowed two St. Pauli through on goal, leaving Henrik Bonmann thoroughly exposed. The flag should’ve been raised, but there’s no excuse to just stop defending entirely.
Dortmund found very few chances throughout the second half, but were still able to find a winner through Anderlecht loanee Orel Mangala. Hober played in Mangala, who took the shot at a very tight angle, but was able to score as his shot was perfectly placed. Mandala failed to score a free header from a nice Camoglu cross earlier in the half, but made easy work of this half chance from a 89 degree angle.
The first half will generate all the positive reviews, with the second half highlighting what needs to be worked on. Dortmund’s first team was particularly impressive against a second division team that starts its season three weeks earlier than us, a very encouraging sign as the team continues to work in the preseason.