As already announced, Gerardo Seoane had to manage without the two South American players Piero Hincapie and Charles Aránguiz. As Exequiel Palacios only returned from duty with Argentina overnight, and therefore was on the bench, that meant there were two new holding midfield players. Robert Andrich made his first start for the Werkself playing alongside Kerem Demirbay who dropped back from his usual number 10 position. The vacant slot behind Patrik Schick in the 4-2-3-1 formation was taken by the new Germany international Florian Wirtz.
The inclusion of Florian Wirtz paid off early in the game. With three minutes on the clock, he won the ball with a great intervention to create the first chance of the game for Moussa Diaby and the 18-year-old came up trumps for the Werkself after an incredibly aggressive opening phase to the game: This time, Jeremie Frimpong won the ball deep in the Dortmund half, Paulinho moved it on to Wirtz in a flash and he broke through the middle to put the ball into the right corner with a toe-poke – a brilliant goal (9').
That made the game open up early on and – as so often in the recent past – the match turned into an attacking end-to-end exchange. Dortmund had a great chance to equalise through Julian Brandt almost immediately but the former Leverkusen player missed his opportunity after being set up by Erling Haaland (11'), and Marco Reus also had two chances, which were frustrated by Demirbay (15') and Jonathan Tah (18').
Bayer 04 continued to pose a constant threat winning a lot of possession through aggressive challenges and often played on the counter-attack. After a great move involving Paulinho and Wirtz, Raphael Guerreiro managed to frustrate Schick (19') and shortly after that he put a free kick just wide of the BVB net (22'). Andrich also fired in a shot from distance but it flew wide of the target (31').
Bayer 04 were excellent working against the ball in the first half an hour and they succeeded in cutting out the supply to top striker Haaland – but the powerful Norwegian often only needs one chance: From a Thomas Meunier cross, Haaland did not have much space but he used it to level with a header at 1-1 (37'). Borussia almost succeeded in inflicting a double whammy on Leverkusen: This time, Haaland laid off a Meunier cross with his head to Bellingham who beat Lukas Hradecky from close range. But VAR intervened with the goal ruled out due to a foul by Mahmoud Dahoud on Diaby – the scoreline remained 1-1 (39'). But not for long.
After Bellingham had missed another chance for BVB (44'), Bayer 04 again produced some exemplary transition play. After Brandt lost the ball, Demirbay set up an attack with an outstanding pass to Wirtz. The new Germany international controlled the ball brilliantly and moved it left to Schick at just the right moment. The Czech Republic international took aim and was perfect in his execution – his curler went in at the right-hand post to give the Werkself a half-time lead (45+1').
BVB were again under pressure at the start of the second half – and Dortmund began the second 45 with evident determination. After Guerreiro just missed (47’), Brandt then demonstrated his technical ability on his old stomping ground. He took a lay-off from Haaland with his heel, controlled the ball at full pace with the outside of his boot and fired his shot into the roof of the net – an impressive individual move to put Dortmund level again (49').
Bayer 04 again remained undaunted and shortly after that took the lead for the third time in this spectacular football match: A deflected Demirbay corner landed at the feet of Diaby on the edge of the box. He first failed to connect but his second effort from 16 yards out was perfectly placed against the inside of the right-hand post and the ball was in the back of the BVB net for a restored lead at 3-2 (55').
This top-quality match on an atmospheric stage became heated at times with the already booked Meunier fortunate to escape a second yellow card after a challenge on Andrich (59'). In spite of the lead, Bayer 04 continued to press forward. A free kick from substitute Amine Adli was hit towards goal by Demirbay forcing Gregor Kobel into making a flying save (69').
Moments later there was a free kick at the other end – and Guerreiro connected perfectly. From 20 yards out, the Portuguese put the ball into the top right corner giving Hradecky no chance (71'). Dortmund had now levelled for the third time and shortly after that they took the lead – in an extremely unfortunate way from the Werkself perspective. A BVB attack down the left petered out in the penalty area and the ball rolled out of play but Odilon Kossounou accidentally caught Reus in the face with his hand in shielding the ball. After studying the monitor, referee Daniel Siebert awarded a penalty, which Haaland converted (77').
Gerardo Seoane reacted immediately to going behind for the first time in the game by bringing on Karim Bellarabi and Lucas Alario. The latter had a great chance to level at 4-4 moments after coming on but Kobel raced out to keep out his lob (80').
The Werkself threw everything into attack late on but were unable to create a clear-cut opportunity – BVB narrowly won this outstanding encounter and Bayer 04 suffered the first defeat of the season. The Seoane team are next in action on the European stage. Ferencváros visit the BayArena on Thursday, 16th September (18.45 CEST) and that is followed by a Sunday fixture in the Bundesliga for the Werkself away to VfB Stuttgart on 19 September (15.30 CEST).
Bayer 04: Hradecky - Frimpong, Kossounou, Tah, Bakker - Andrich, Demirbay (Bellarabi 78') - Diaby, Wirtz, Paulinho (Adli 63') - Schick (Alario 78')
Borussia Dortmund: Kobel - Meunier, Pongracic (Hummels 83'), Akanji, Guerreiro - Witsel (Malen 65') - Bellingham (Wolf 89’), Dahoud - Brandt - Haaland, Reus
Goals: 1-0 Wirtz (9’), 1-1 Haaland (37’), 2-1 Schick (45+1’), 2-2 Brandt (49’), 3-2 Diaby (55’), 3-3 Guerreiro (71’), 3-4 Haaland (77’, pen.)
Booked: Wirtz, Frimpong, Kossounou, Diaby - Meunier, Haaland, Wolf
Referee: Daniel Siebert (Berlin)
Attendance: 17,605 (sold out)
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