Borussia Dortmund's tag team of Marco Reus and Mario Götze grabbed a goal each as the Bundesliga champions beat Werder Bremen 2-1. But there wasn't room for both in the starting lineup on the opening day of the season.
Borussia Dortmund narrowly overcame Werder Bremen in the first game of the German Bundesliga season on Friday. In a typically packed Westfalenstadion, the defending league champions took an early lead, lost it, and then re-established their advantage shortly before the final whistle.
It took Marco Reus just 10 minutes to open his Borussia Dortmund Bundesliga account, latching on to a Jakub "Kuba" Blaszczykowski pass and finishing from close in. He had needed less than a dozen minutes to score his first competitive Dortmund goal in the German Cup last weekend, also playing in the central attacking midfield spot for that match. The player of last season with Borussia Mönchengladbach, new acquisition Reus could be a thorn in the side of another Dortmund star this season.
Dortmund coach Jürgen Klopp, a famous advocate of width in attacking midfield, elected to leave teenage prodigy Mario Götze on the bench again. Klopp opted instead for Kuba on the right and home favorite Kevin Großkreutz on the left flank - though the Polish international was rather more impressive than the Dortmund native. Großkreutz was eventually replaced by Mario Götze moments after Bremen tied the score.
Bremen were able to equalize with around 15 minutes left in the game, when new signing Theodor Gebre Selassie headed home a Marco Arnautovic cross after a lovely move incorporating both flanks. Bremen put up a solid show against the heavily favored opposition more generally, demonstrating some slick, swift football going forward. New signing Kevin de Bruyne from Chelsea had an impressive outing in the middle of the park.
Götze, however, was able to restore the Dortmund advantage just three minutes after coming on to the pitch, picking up a neat pass from striker Robert Lewandowski and stroking the ball in off the inside of the post. Lewandowski, again leading the Dortmund line by himself, had a strong game - albeit without finding the net. He came very close from distance in the dying embers of the game, forcing a spectacular save from Sebastian Mielitz.
Dortmund's Sebastian Kehl and Ilkay Gündogan along with Aleksandar Ignjovski and Zlatko Junuzovic of Bremen all picked up yellow cards in a rather stop-start game at times. None of the frequent fouls had any real malice behind them though.
Dortmund stretched their unbeaten streak in the Bundesliga to 29 matches, with 24 wins and just five draws since a 2-1 away defeat against Hannover on September 18 last year.
It's Bundesliga tradition that the champions play the opening match of the season, and always in front of their home fans. Bayern Munich, Dortmund's most likely challengers for the league title this season, open their campaign away against league newcomers Greuther Fürth on Saturday afternoon. All 18 teams are in action over the weekend.