Putting the somewhat disappointing result aside, this was an exciting friendly for Borussia Dortmund with quite a few positive takeaways.
Nuri Sahin scored the opening goal after 17 minutes. Sunderland failed to properly clear an Ousmane Dembele cross, which fell straight to the left foot of the Turkish international.
Sahin made made the volley look easy. Dortmund looked in control most of the game, until a free kick proved costly, as Lamine Kone headed in the delivery for Sunderland in the 66. minute to make it 1-1.
The starting line-up featured a centre-back pairing of Sokratis and Marc Bartra. The latter played silky passes throughout the game, dealing with trouble in a calm and composed manner.
Sebastian Rode got the start a little higher up the pitch than in previous games, and nearly opened the scoring with a strike from the edge of the box.
Felix Passlack started at right-back and played 68 minutes until he was replaced by Lukasz Piszczek. It was a very encouraging performance by the teenager, who was a threat going forward delivering some teasing crosses, and strong in defence.
Piszczek’s right-back position isn’t really up for grabs, but if Passlack continues at this level he is going to find his way into the starting XI on more occasions.
Mario Götze made his first appearance in a Dortmund shirt since the second leg of the 2013 Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid, whilst Andre Schürrle and Raphael Guerreiro both made their debuts for their new team.
All three were introduced around the 68th minute along with Julian Weigl, Dzenis Burnic, Lukasz Piszczek, and Christian Pulisic.
Mikel Merino, who came on at halftime, and Dzenis Burnic created a makeshift, hipster centre-back pairing for the last twenty minutes of the match. This is most likely just the result of Sven Bender and Matthias Ginter both in Rio for the Olympics, so don’t expect to see much more of this unconventional pairing in defence, as both are natural midfielders.
Dortmund and Sunderland both started out quite open at the back, and there was end-to-end action in the first ten minutes of the game.
Afterwards, the Black and Yellows were on the front foot and maintained this until the opening goal from Sahin. Dortmund were passing very well, but were just not making a ton of moves towards goal.
After the opener, Sunderland found themselves on the end of some very good chances thanks to some dangerous giveaways at the back by the Dortmund defence.
Ousmane Dembele was called back to defend on many occasions, something that was a bit of a criticising point for him in the past.
The first half grew a bit lacklustre towards the end, as Sunderland had gotten themselves together at the back, and started making interventions before there was imminent danger.
Mikel Merino, Emre Mor, Roman Weidenfeller and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang were all brought on at the start of the second half, and I’d argue the most impressive of the quartet was 19-year-old Emre Mor.
The young Turkish international was very forward thinking, making a move towards goal any chance he got. He was creative, incisive, and selfish, but not too selfish. He seems to be a catalyst in attack, especially if the team is ever searching for a goal.
The second half started with Roman Weidenfeller nearly giving away a penalty by taking out a Sunderland attack, but the referee did not award it.
The replays suggested his decision was correct as there seemed to be very little contact. Dortmund didn’t offer too much going forward, besides Emre Mor, until the second wave of substitutions introduced the most anticipated signings in Götze and Schürrle.
The two combined very well amongst each other and their teammates, but Sunderland were strong in defence and Dortmund failed to find a winner, despite looking at their best towards the end of the friendly.
Raphael Guerreiro was a bit of a wild card, appearing at left-back, left-wing, and centre-mid during his twenty-minute-debut in a Dortmund shirt. After a brilliant Euros, he could be on his way to being a regular starter for Dortmund, and in multiple positions.
Many positives should be taken despite the 1-1 scoreline, especially the final twenty minutes of the match.
The excitement of seeing Götze and Schürrle teaming up, with Guerreiro popping up in midfield, makes Dortmund a very interesting team to watch leading up to the start of the season – not to mention the return of Weigl from his post-Euro holiday.
With only one friendly left until the Supercup against Bayern on the 14th of August, Dortmund seem to be gearing up for another season full of excitement.