Rot-Weiss Essen vs. Borussia Dortmund: 5 Things We Learned
Borussia Dortmund continued their preparations for the coming Bundesliga season with a comfortable 5-1 over local minnows Rot-Weiss Essen on Sunday afternoon.
Their fourth tier opponents capitulated almost immediately in the face of a strong Dortmund side, after Pierre-Emerik Aubameyang put his side in front just eight minutes into the match.
He scored again just two minutes later and then twelve minutes after that Dortmund have tripled their lead to 3-0. By the time the 30th minute rolled around, Klopp's team were five goals to the good and casually enjoying a very one-sided game of football.
Here's what we took from this Bundesliga side's walk in the park on Sunday afternoon.
Dortmund's Front Line Look as Dangerous as Ever
One of the sharpest tools at the disposal of any Dortmund critics this season will undoubtedly be their ability to overcome the loss of Robert Lewandowski and the goals he has provided to the team for so long.
Yet on Sunday we saw a brief glimpse at life after the Polish striker, with Ciro Immobile and Aubameyang combining fantastically well with three goals between them in the opening 30 minutes of the match.
Add to that the return of Marco Reus, once he recovers from his injury, and further signings Adrian Ramos and Ji Dong-Won, and you have the looks of a very potent attack.
The New Midfield Looks as Tenacious as Last
Dortmund began Sunday's game with Nuri Sahin and Sebastian Kehl in the two holding, central midfielder roles against RW Essen.
A sight far from surprising or unexpected from Klopp, yet both player ensured their team fought with the tenacity and courage that has brought such success to the club in recent years.
What was perhaps most surprising was the fact that once the substitutes were made, Dortmund's younger stars—such as Milos Jojic, Ji and Jonas Hofmann—continued to play in that manner, even after Sahin was later substituted for Sven Bender.
An attacking, driven ethos that Klopp is clearly intent on drilling through is next generation of stars as he did the ones who now lead this team.
Neven Subotic Continues Return from Injury
Dortmund fans across the world would have cracked a welcome smile when they saw central defender Neven Subotic start against Essen on Sunday afternoon.
The 25-year-old Serbian internationalist has been out of action since last November when he picked up a cruciate ligament injury against Bayern Munich and was undoubtedly one of the major factors that led to Dortmund losing out in the title race to Pep Guardiola's side.
Subotic didn't play the entire 90 minutes, coming off for Japanese youngster Mitsuru Maruoka in the 77th minute, but will be hopeful of regaining his full match fitness before the start of the season.
Klopp Continues to Show Faith in Youth
One of the most notable features of Dortmund's pre-season friendlies this summer has been the prominence of players from the club's under 23 team.
As we just mentioned in the previous slide, 18-year-old Maruoka came on late in the game for Subotic, but Sunday's game also saw starting spots for goalkeeper Hendrik Bonmann, defender Christoph Zimmermann and the more established winger Hofmann.
Striker Julian Derstroff and the defensive pairing of Nico Kynstock and Maximilian Gull also played a part in teh game.
A great Dortmund performance with a welcome twist of youthful exuberance.
Dortmund Look Well Prepared for Another Shot at Bayern's Title
Although we haven't yet seen how Dortmund will likely shape up for the coming campaign, with most of the squad still on post World Cup breaks, the players who have already began their preparations have impressed in the few games we've seen them feature in.
Klopp has done well in the transfer market to effectively deal with the problems that alluded his side last season, with some excellent important talents such as Immobile, Ramos and Matthias Ginter, and can now confidently boast that this squad looks in better shape than it did 12 months ago.
Bayern have of course acquired Lewandowski but they've lost Toni Kroos and Mario Mandzukic to the transfer window. If Guardiola isn't quick to get some new signings in, it could well be Dortmund and their cast of new stars that surprise us all in the Bundesliga this season.