German Cup: Thorgan Hazard impressive, Mats Hummels rusty in BVB debuts | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 09.08.2019
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German Cup: Thorgan Hazard impressive, Mats Hummels rusty in BVB debuts

Mats Hummels and Thorgan Hazard made their season debuts in Borussia Dortmund's German Cup win over Uerdingen. While Hummels looks out of form, Hazard showed he could be a key figure in BVB's title quest.

After throwing away the Bundesliga title last season, Borussia Dortmund added several new faces to push for silverware this term.

Dortmund fans got their first look at two of their new additions: Mats Hummels, who returned to the club after spending three seasons with Bayern Munich, and Thorgan Hazard, who had spent his first five seasons in Germany with Borussia Mönchengladbach.

After both missed last week's German Supercup, Dortmund head coach Lucien Favre inserted the two in the starting lineup in Dortmund's German Cup win against KFC Uerdingen on Friday.

Marco Reus and Paco Alcacer were the ones who captured the headlines in the contest. Their second-half goals were what secured the 2-0 victory over their third-tier opponents, Reus with a close-range strike to put the visitors ahead and Alcacer with a free kick which curled into the top corner.

However, the season debuts of Hummels and Hazard were also noteworthy, though for different reasons.

Mats Hummels tackling Osayamen Osawe (Getty Images/L. Baron)

Mats Hummels (right) had trouble containing Uerdingen's Osayamen Osawe (left)

Hapless Hummels

Hummels, who spent eight seasons with Dortmund before moving to Bayern in 2016, was about of sorts in his BVB return. His brain farts nearly led to embarrassing goal concessions, and he was lucky Uerdingen weren't more clinical in the final third.

His worst mistake came shortly before halftime. The 30-year-old defender was stripped of the ball by Uerdingen's Osayamen Osawe. With acres of space, the English striker burst forward into the box, but his effort rolled wide of Dortmund's goal. But the former Dortmund captain almost made amends for that error a minute later, curling a left-footed shot just wide of the right post.

His gaffes didn't end up costing Dortmund in the end, and goals from Reus and Alcacer were enough to see last season's Bundesliga runners-up into the second round. But Dortmund certainly expects to see better performances from a defender whose transfer reportedly cost more than €30 million ($33.8 million).

Read more: Opinion: Potential rewards outweigh risks in Mats Hummels' Borussia Dortmund deal

After the victory, Reus admitted that the victory over Uerdingen was not Dortmund's best performance as a whole.

"We are not yet quite at the level that we were at last season, but we have big plans this year. We want to show that when the Bundesliga starts next weekend," The Dortmund captain told German broadcaster Sport1.

Thorgan Hazard in his season debut (Getty Images/M. Hitij)

Thorgan Hazard made his Borussia Dortmund debut against KFC Uerdingen

Hazard heating up

There were many more positives to take from Hazard's official Dortmund debut. The 25-year-old Belgian was active on both flanks for the visitors, setting up scoring opportunities both on the ground and in the air.

Early on, as Dortmund's primary corner tacker, he set up two terrific headers for Lukasz Piszczek, which ex-BVB defender Kevin Grosskreutzcleared off the line, and Hummels, whose effort was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Lukas Königshofer.

He also nearly served up a golden chance for Alcacer, but his through ball was just past the reach of the Spaniard. 

Hazard has excelled during his time in Germany as a table-setter for his goal-scoring teammates. Last season, according to the football statistics website, he was one of only two players — Leverkusen's Kerem Demirbay being the other — who averaged both two dribbles and two key passes per game. His on-the-ball prowess lead to 10 assists last term — more than his previous two Bundesliga campaigns combined.

On Friday, he showcased those playmaking skills and was very active in the final third for Dortmund. If that continues into the Bundesliga season, he may contribute to the big plans to which Reus was referring.

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