MISMATCH

Augs team

Game one of the 2019-2020 Bundesliga Season between Borussia Dortmund and Augsburg was simply a mismatch.  To be honest, Augsburg was playing poorly enough last season to have been relegated, and the eight goals they conceded on the final day of that season was a testament to how badly the wheels had come off.  Most experts predict that Augsburg will likely battle newly promoted Paderborn and Union Berlin for a bottom of the table relegation spot in the 2019-2020 season.  Whether that prediction proves to be true remains to be seen, but on the first Saturday of this season, Augsburg was simply outclassed by a Borussia Dortmund team that only finished two points behind Bayern last season and added Hazard, Brandt, Schulz, and Hummels this summer to become this season’s favorite in the eyes of many.

The final statistics said it all, Borussia Dortmund took 22 shots with 10 of those being shots on goal, while Augsburg took 5 shots total.  Of those 5 shots, only 1 was considered on goal. Additionally, Borussia Dortmund dominated possession to the extent of 73% possession and completed 885 passes to Augsburg’s 246 .  If it sounds like Augsburg played 11 players behind the ball for almost the entire game, while Dortmund threw everything that it had at the Augsburg goal, well that sums up all but the first minute of the game.

Augs alca goal

Surprisingly, Augsburg, just as Leipzig had the season prior, scored in the first minute of play against Dortmund.  A turnover by Alcacer in midfield led to an Augsburg counter.  There seem to be some confusion on the right side of Dortmund’s defense, as neither Piszczek nor Sancho picked up Mads Pedersen as he made a run wide and received a pass.  He, then, made an accurate cross through a crowded box, but where Akjani was too far forward of Neiderlechner and Hummels was too far behind.  The former Freiberg ace from two years ago was given far too much space and easily beat Hitz for the easy goal.  After only 31 seconds of the 2019-2020 season, Dortmund was trailing Augsburg-oops.

But the lead did not last long. Only a couple of minutes later Sancho passed the ball deep in along the box to Reus, who crossed the ball near the goal mouth.  Augsburg’s new keeper, Thomas Koubek, who was brought in from Rennes this season after an outstanding season, attempted to kick the ball off the line.  But his attempted clearance only traveled a few yards right onto the foot of Paco Alcacer-oops. Alcacer immediately kicked the ball into the goal.  Has to rate among the ten easiest goals of Alcacer’s career.  Take nothing away from Alcacer, he looks to be in great form this year and looks healthier than he has ever been at Dortmund since his arrival last Fall.

Augs Sancho 1

The remainder of the game was simply dominated in every way by Dortmund.  The score was still only 1-1 at the half, but Dortmund was clearly in complete control and it was only a matter of time before the second, third and many additional goals would be scored, as Koubek turned back blasts from Weigl and Reus, while several other shots were just wide.  Augsburg’s defense would eventually capitulate.

Augs sancho 2

And it did not take long for the second goal to come after the start of the second half.  Witsel ended up with the ball, made a run wide on the left side, out ran the defense, and passed across the box to Sancho.  Sancho buried a diagonal bullet into goal and it was 2-1.  Followed shortly by another blunder by Koubek in misplaying a cross he hit down out of the air and tried to clear, but again managed to hit it to Alcacer.  Alcacer, though, recognized that Reus was standing only a few yards to his left with no one between himself and the goal, so he slid the ball over to Reus.  Just like that it was 3-1.

Augs Sancho 3

Dortmund was clearly having fun at that point.  Where they often struggled last season with teams parking the bus with 10 or 11 behind the ball, the additions of players like Thorgan Hazard simply makes the 19-20 version of Dortmund much more aggressive, faster, and deadly.  Hazard and Sancho repeatedly made short, fast runs through the Augsburg defense, and the passing (92% completion on nearly 900 passes) was extraordinary. Witsel and Weigl were also extraordinary on the day in playing both their deep central midfield roles and pushing up every chance they got.  They kept the ball moving with fast, short, accurate passes that eventually pulled the Augsburg defense apart.

Augs Alca

The fourth goal was set up beautifully by Sancho.  He was casually moving into the box on the left side, drawing nearly Augsburg’s entire, now exhausted, defense to him and leaving Paco Alcacer wide open on the other side of the box.  Sancho found a lane, made a precise pass to Paco, and Alcacer buried his second of the day.

Augs Reus

And there was no rest for Augsburg, as Favre was now inserting his reinforcements.  Julian Brandt made his Dortmund debut, and it didn’t take long before he literally pointed to a spot behind the Augsburg defenders, Witsel placed a perfect pass exactly where he wanted it, Brandt raced past the Augsburg defenders and buried Dortmund’s fifth goal of the day. As most sportswriters and fans predicted, Dortmund’s additions appear to be a major upgrade in talent and depth for the club.  The game was a mismatch and, though Dortmund will be on the road for their next two league games, the race for the title is definitely on.

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