Two teams with opening-day wins to their name were set to meet on Matchday 2. Augsburg got their campaign started with a 3-1 win away to Union Berlin last weekend. The historical head-to-head record hinted at a BVB win: the Black & Yellows had won two thirds of their Bundesliga away matches in Augsburg (six of nine) – a higher winning percentage than against any other club currently in the Bundesliga.
Favre was unable to call on the services of Hazard (torn muscle fibre), Piszczek (back problem), Morey, Schulz (both lacking match fitness), Zagadou (knee injury), Schmelzer (recovering from a knee operation) and Raschl (ligament injury). There was one change to the side that defeated Gladbach 3-0 last weekend, with Guerreiro moving into the starting line-up to replace Hazard (as well as Passlack, who came on as a substitute for the injured Hazard last weekend).
Augsburg were happy to concede the midfield to Dortmund, choosing to drop deep in two compact lines of four as part of a 4-4-2 system. Borussia opted for a 3-5-2 formation, with Bellingham and Reyna playing ahead of Meunier, Witsel and Guerreiro in midfield. Sancho had a free-roaming role, with the Englishman regularly popping up on the left wing or dropping into the midfield.
The match & analysis:
The match took place in very different conditions to the Gladbach game: the temperature at kick-off in Augsburg was well below 10 degrees, more than 20 degrees colder than last Saturday (and much of the week that followed). Nonetheless, the Black & Yellows didn’t need much time to warm up, as they created several decent opportunities in the opening stages. In the 3rd minute, Bellingham had the first of eight BVB shots on goal in the first half. Then, in the 6th minute, Witsel forced Gikiewicz into his first save of the day with a volleyed effort. The Augsburg goalkeeper was on hand again in the 10th minute to deny Sancho.
With 25 minutes on the clock, the shots on goal ratio read 6-0 in favour of BVB, who had also won 62% of their tackles and enjoyed 86% possession. However, the Black & Yellows soon made life difficult for themselves. It looked like Augsburg had won a stonewall penalty. In the end, the only reason the referee didn’t point to the spot was because the FCA striker was in an offside position before being brought to the ground by Bürki. Not long afterwards, a heroic last-ditch clearance from Hummels was required to keep the score at 0-0. The game had become more heated. Three Augsburg players and one Dortmunder (Haaland) saw yellow in the space of just two minutes.
Despite their superiority, BVB were unable to find the all-important first goal. The only notable effort in this stage of the match came from Bellingham in the 28th minute. Instead it was Augsburg, without a win in their last seven Bundesliga matches at home (a new club record), who took the lead: Caligiuri whipped in a free-kick from the left flank, and centre-back Uduokhai rose to meet it and crash a powerful header into the back of the net to make it 1-0 in the 40th minute.
Borussia looked to strike back before the break. Bellingham was denied by Gikiewicz right on the stroke of half-time. As it was, Borussia went into the dressing room 1-0 down on the scoreboard despite having had eight shots compared to Augsburg’s one.
The Black & Yellows struggled in the second half, unable to fashion openings in the Augsburg defence. In the 54th minute, they found themselves exposed on the counter: Niederlechner played a perfect ball into the path of Caligiuri, who shrugged off Meunier and fired past Bürki to make it 2-0. Down the other end, Guerreiro saw his shot blocked at the last minute. After that, BVB – now with Reus, Brandt and Reinier on the pitch – were unable to create anything of note until the 85th minute: Gikiewicz did well to deny Hummels, and, two minutes before the end, he was well-placed once again to keep out Brandt.
BVB will pick things up on Wednesday with a trip to Munich for the 2020 Supercup against Bayern. Kick-off in the Allianz Arena is scheduled for 19:30 CET. The Black & Yellows are next in Bundesliga action on Saturday, when they host SC Freiburg at Signal Iduna Park (kick-off 15:30 CET).