Dortmund kicked officially kicked off their new season in style with a smooth 3-0 victory over fourth division side Eintracht Trier. It was the final kickoff of the first round of the DFB Pokal, which saw only one Bundesliga team bow out in the first round, as Werder Bremen fell to Lotte.
Thomas Tuchel opted for a nearly full strength line-up, with three new additions in Andre Schurrle, Sebastian Rode, and Ousmane Dembele making their first official start for Dortmund.
BVB: Weidenfeller, Bartra, Dembélé, Aubameyang, Rode, Schürrle, Kagawa, Sokratis, Castro, Schmelzer, Passlack. pic.twitter.com/qkZUNSxyP2— Borussia Dortmund (@BVB) August 22, 2016
Dortmund never really took their foot off the gas in this one, attacking from the blow of the opening whistle. All three goals were scored in the first half, which was dominated by Marc Bartra and Shinji Kagawa.
Just like we saw in the DFL Supercup last weekend, Bartra has the ability to play exquisite balls from the back, similarly to a certain center back by the name of Mats Hummels. Bartra's creativity from the back has stood out as the most impressive quality of the former Barcelona man. He not only creates from the back, but also drives forward just like Hummels, and makes quite a few appearances in the box as a catalyst in the attack.
Dortmund's first two goals fell to Shinji Kagawa, who was in the right place at the right time. The first goal was the product of an Andre Schurrle cross to Aubameyang that was blocked, and fell right to Kagawa's feet. The second goal was a bit more impressive, as it was started off by Bartra finding Gonzalo Castro in acres of space, whose ball into the danger area found its way to Kagawa for an easy poke home.
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Andre Schurrle looked lively and agile on the left wing, despite such a short preseason and little action for the German National Team. Tuchel's new best buddy got on the score sheet right before halftime, volleying home a cross from point blank range. He did have to be subbed off after colliding with the Trier goalkeeper, but was later pictured on the bench laughing with Tuchel and other teammates, indicating his switch was just a precaution.
Despite Schurrle's hefty price tag, the early indications point towards him being an important player for us this season. He started at striker in the friendly against Sandhausen and performed well, and has also looked good in his time on the wing for us. Some may consider him more of a luxury player who only scores cool goals, but Tuchel seems to have outsmarted most on this one.
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However, one questionable decision that Tuchel has commonly made this preseason is playing Adrian Ramos on the wing. Ramos came on a substitute for Schurrle in the 55th minute, and slotted in once again on the flank, rather than his logical position as striker. Emre Mor came on ten minutes later on the right wing, and did more in his short amount of time on the pitch than Ramos has done on the wing all preseason.
But that probably says more about Emre Mor than Ramos. Despite his selfishness and occasional immaturity, Mor is an ultra-talented teenager. His footwork is incredible, and if it weren't for Dortmund's inability to cash in on their chances, he could've had a pair of assists. It's likely going to be guys like Mor and Pulisic that will be hurt by Ramos playing on the wing, but if Mor plays like he did today, it'll become increasingly difficult for Tuchel to include Ramos.
Overall, it was another encouraging performance from nearly every player. We'll give Marc Bartra the man of the match award, with Shinji in second place thanks to his doppelpack. The DFB Pokal second round draw will take place on Friday, after the Bayern v Werder Bremen game.