Reigning champions Borussia Dortmund kicked off their title defence with a 2-1 victory over Werder Bremen in the opening match of the 50th Bundesliga season.

New signing Marco Reus put the hosts on course with a tidy finish early on, but Bremen fought bravely throughout and looked to have earned a point when Theodor Gebre Selassie headed an equaliser with 15 minutes remaining. However, substitute Mario Götze came on to steal the spoils for Dortmund in a wonderful early advert for the 2012/13 campaign ahead.

Reus opens his account


Following a fanfare introduction including speeches from League Association president Dr. Reinhard Rauball and Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl, the game got off to a flying start in front of over 80,000 cheering fans. The simmering atmosphere at the Signal-Iduna Park reached boiling point just eleven minutes in, as Reus sprinted onto a clever flick through from Jakub Blaszczykowski before squeezing past Sebastian Mielitz into the far corner for the opener.

The Germany star's first league goal for his new club looked like it might spark an avalanche as Dortmund streamed forward in search of a second, but Bremen weathered the storm before enjoying a strong spell of their own. A fine pass from Marko Arnautovic sent Eljero Elia into the clear for Bremen's first opportunity, but the Dutch winger was unable to take advantage of some lax Dortmund defending as Roman Weidenfeller rushed out to make the save.

Bremen bite back


Arnautovic was then desperately unfortunate not to equalise himself as his volley pounded the post in a crowded box, but despite the increased threat, Dortmund remained as dangerous as ever on the break. Set pieces provided Werder with further headaches. Marcel Schmelzer curled one effort into the grateful arms of Mielitz with half an hour gone, while Reus wasn't so far away with a free-kick of his own.

Like the two sides as they re-emerged for the second half, the pace of the game remained unchanged after the break. Dortmund once more began the more potent, with defender Mats Hummels forcing Mielitz into an excellent stop after rising to meet Schmelzer's corner. Bremen, however, were not without chances of their own and could well have extinguished Dortmund's slender lead when Sebastian Prödl nodded narrowly wide.

Götze grabs the winner


Indeed, with Robert Lewandowski, Dortmund's top scorer last season with 22 goals, kept largely at bay, Bremen limited their hosts to speculative efforts from range and with just a single goal separating the sides, it was only going to take one lapse in concentration for Thomas Schaaf's side to level things.

That moment arrived with quarter of an hour remaining as Neven Subotic misjudged a deep cross which Aaron Hunt gave to Arnautovic. The Austrian clipped a neat ball into the centre, where Gebre Selassie leapt highest to steer beyond Weidenfeller into the BVB goal. However, the Green-Whites' joy was short-lived as Dortmund reclaimed their advantage just six minutes later, the tireless Blaszczykowski combining on the edge of the area with his compatriot Lewandowski to thread in Götze, whose crisp finish into the near corner secured an important opening victory for the champions.


Line-ups:

Dortmund: Weidenfeller - Kirch (Perisic 82'), Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Gündogan, Kehl (Leitner 71') - Blaszczykowski, Reus, Großkreutz (Götze 78') - Lewandowski

Bremen: Mielitz - Gebre Selassie, Prödl, Sokratis, Ignjovski (Petersen 66') - Fritz - De Bruyne, Junuzovic, Hunt (Füllkrug 87'), Elia - Arnautovic

Goals: 1-0 Reus (11'), 1-1 Gebre Selassie (75'), 2-1 Götze (81')


Andy James