The scene couldn’t be more different than twelve months ago, when the ‘Topspiel’ of matchday one saw BVB lose to Bayer Leverkusen.
This time around Borussia Mönchengladbach visited the Westfalenstadion, and were sent packing with their tails between their legs after a resounding 4-0 victory for Borussia Dortmund.
Nerves were to be expected with Thomas Tuchel’s first Bundesliga XI featuring Bundesliga debutant Julian Weigl at the base of the midfield. The teenager impressed hugely and helped BVB pick at the gaping holes left by a disjointed Gladbach side.
The first warning came with just seven minutes on the clock, but the flag went up as Henrikh Mkhitaryan raced onto a pass. The Armenian stroked the ball into the net and replays showed he was level. Rather than a missed opportunity, it was only a sign of things to come.
With Weigl providing sensible ball circulation and adequate cover, Mats Hummels controlled the game from the back and it was his pass which set up the first goal in the 14th minute. A smart ball into Shinji Kagawa was turned into the path of Marco Reus by the Japanese, and the former Gladbach man struck the ball low and hard. Yann Sommer got something on it, but not enough.
Things quickly improved, and six minutes later Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang headed home a Marcel Schmelzer cross to double the advantage. Bundesliga debutants Andreas Christensen (19) and Marvin Schulz (20) were at centre-back and struggled to deal with the movement of Aubameyang all evening, as they endured something of a baptism of fire.
With Gladbach lacking any compactness and putting very little pressure on the blaze was made very easy for BVB, and a classic Dortmund counter brought about the third goal. Aubameyang finally raced away and selflessly laid the ball on a plate for Mkhitaryan, who couldn’t miss. Just 32 minutes in and the first game of the season was all but over.
Minutes later Mats Hummels had a header cleared off the line by Raffael, but Dortmund didn’t have to wait too much longer for a fourth and final goal. Just four minutes after half-time Mkhitaryan added his second of the game, finishing Gladbach off after Marco Reus had picked him out off the edge of the box. The move was another display of how unselfish and calm Dortmund were in the final third, adding to the clinical nature of the team throughout the game.
The match was seen out comfortably, with Weigl, Ilkay Gündogan stroking the ball around. The impressive performances of Shinji Kagawa and Marcel Schmelzer deserve a hat tip, so this is it. Both players have been criticised fairly regularly but still have huge roles to play at the club.
It’s just one game, the Bundesliga alone will see us play another 33 this season. The opposition looked lethargic. But that shouldn’t get in the way of any high spirits in Dortmund.
A side in black-yellow were once again vibrant, dominant and in total control of a football match at Westfalenstadion. We’re in for some exciting times under Thomas Tuchel.
Can’t get enough of the match? Read our tactical analysis here.