Well there you have it. Borussia Dortmund are 1-0-0 so far in the 2023-24 season. Plan the parade and keep your champagne bottles chilled, folks, because the race for the treble is officially on.
Ok, that might be a smidge of an overreaction to a match that was about as pedestrian as 6-1 wins can get. Dortmund bludgeoning a 4th tier side is hardly something to pop open the bubbly for, but it’s better than the alternative.
Calling it pedestrian is a bit unfair too. Dortmund were in a bit of a no-win situation here, because the absolute best result they could hope for would be to steamroll Mainz and win by a lopsided goal margin, in which case everyone would merely nod their heads and move on to next week. Anything less, even a run-of-the-mill 3-1 win, would have been seen as a negative.
In the grand scheme of things, it really isn’t worth taking too much from this game. Dortmund clearly didn’t give 100% effort and, as a result, they looked a bit shaky in the first 20 minutes. Meanwhile, Schott Mainz were clearly amped up and running on adrenaline but, once their initial wave of pressure began to collapse, the gulf of quality was too great for them to overcome and Dortmund began to rack up the goals.
Schott Mainz did get one shining moment in the sun, though, when Ramy Bensebaini failed to clear a loose ball out of the box after an indirect free kick, and Nils Ganz was there to bury the loose ball. It was a bit of a fluky goal, if anything a bit sloppy by Bensebaini, so I’m not too worried about it.
Regardless, Dortmund are through to the second round. The real test begins next week with a much more difficult match in the Bundesliga against FC Köln.
- Marcel Sabitzer looked pretty good. He looked calm in possession and was quite involved going forward, notching a goal and a boatload of shot attempts. He won’t replace Jude Bellingham entirely, but he should help dull the pain of losing the English star.
- Marco Reus seemed to be snake-bitten today. Despite getting in multiple good positions he couldn’t seem to buy a goal to save his life.
- Ramy Bensebaini is clearly a defensive upgrade from Raphael Guerreiro, because he... actually defends sometimes, his flubbed clearance on the Schott Mainz goal notwithstanding.
- Generally speaking, the more involved offensively Julian Brandt is, the better Dortmund play. It seemed like every time Dortmund created a dangerous scoring opportunity, Julian Brandt was in the middle of it.
- Let’s hope Niklas Sule’s injury isn’t serious. He was substituted off in the first half after he appeared to tweak his back.
What did you think of today’s game?