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Dortmund 0-1 Atalanta: BVB drop final preseason friendly

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Let the real games begin.

AC Milan v Borussia Dortmund - 2017 International Champions Cup China Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

For the final preseason friendly before the Supercup, Borussia Dortmund faced Italian side Atalanta BC. In a close match that saw chances few and far between, it was Atalanta that eventually escaped with a narrow 1-0 win. This recap will go over what went right and what went wrong.

Manager Peter Bosz fielded a mostly rotated squad. With the match against Bayern just around the corner, he needed to rest the squad’s key players like Sokratis, Dembélé, and Aubameyang. He fielded a 4-3-3 with a Beste, Toprak, Subotic, and Passlack backline. In midfield he played Dahoud, Rode, and Götze, with Pulisic, Isak, and Philipp forming the attacking band.

At the start of the match, the team actually looked pretty good. They were controlling the play, closing down on Atalanta, and in general looking the stronger side. They even manufactured a couple chances, including a shot from Isak off a Beste cross that forced a strong save from Atalanta’s keeper. As the match went on, however, Atalanta began to get more aggressive, and Dortmund started to struggle in the buildup of play.

The second half began, and it was (unfortunately) more of the same. Eventually, Atalanta got their goal. After Dominik Reimann turned the ball over, Atalanta forward Josip Illicic caught Omer Toprak hopelessly out of possession, and slotted the ball past the Dortmund keeper.

Immediately after the goal, Atalanta made 7(!) subsitutions, that allowed them to affectively run circles around the tired Dortmund players. Nothing of note happened for the rest of the match, and it ended 1-0

Observations

  • If there was one standout from the bees, it was Neven Subotic. His tackles were perfect, he was calm on the ball, and he diffused multiple attacks. I’d easily rate him over Omer Toprak, who had another poor showing.
  • I don’t know what Sebastian Rode’s role in the squad is, and frankly I don’t think he knows either. He can run tirelessly at other players when they have the ball, and he forces plenty of turnovers, but when Dortmund have the ball he doesn’t seem to know what to do. There were plenty of instances today when Dortmund’s defenders were passing along the back line and needed an outlet pass, while Rode sprinted around with the forwards when he should have been helping with the buildup of play. When he did get involved with the attack, his heavy touches had a strong tendency to disrupt the any chances that were being created.
  • I though Jan-Niklas Beste had a rather poor performance today. He made several easy turnovers characteristic of a young, inexperienced player.
  • We really miss Julian Weigl. The team so obviously needed a strong passer in the midfield today. With only Dahoud and Rode in the middle, much of the chances had to be created along the wings, which Atalanta managed to easily snuff out.
  • Other than his turnover, I thought Reimann looked very solid. He was assertive in his own area and made several decent saves as well. I’d still rather have Weidenfeller as backup to Bürki, but it’s good to know that if one of the Romans goes down, Reimann can fill in temporarily.
  • I’m not too worried about the defeat today, considering this was basically our second squad. I hope that the likes of Aubameyang, Sokratis, Bartra, Piszczek, and Sahin will make the performance against Bayern Münich more respectable..

This was the final friendly of the preseason. What did you like? What didn’t you like? Leave your thoughts in the comments!