Felix Nmecha hit a second-half double for new club Borussia Dortmund after Julian Brandt had earlier given the Black-and-Yellows the lead in their final pre-season friendly against Ajax.
Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Ajax
Goals: 1-0 Brandt 6' (assist: Hummels), 1-1 Brobbey 7' (assist: Bergwijn), 2-1 F. Nmecha 54' (assist: Haller), 3-1 F. Nmecha 60' (assist: Bensebaini)
The attention on BVB's Sebastien Haller prior to kick-off was understandable, given that the Dortmund striker had moved to the Signal Iduna Park from Ajax just last year. Yet it was two of BVB's older guard who combined to create the game's first goal. Dancing up the left flank like a young winger, old-hand Mats Hummels looked nothing like a veretan centre back when hitting a fine outside-of-the-boot pass toward the near post where the evergreen Brandt was wating to knock home from close range. The home celebrations didn't last long, however. Seconds later, Brian Brobbey was allowed to step away from BVB's back line before nodding home Steven Bergwijn's in-swinger from the left.
Nmecha was introduced for Marco Reus at the break and the ex-Wolfsburg man was quick to make an impact. Within the first 15 minutes of his arrival, the versatile 22-year-old midfielder had two goals to his name. Ramy Bensebaini - whose performance in this game was worthy of praise - rolled a pass in for Haller who, with his back to goal, teed up Nmecha for a straightforward finish. On the hour, there was daylight between the teams when Bensebaini laid on an assist for Nmecha to score with patience and class. When Ajax threatened, they found goalkeeper Alexander Meyer - standing in for the injured Gregor Kobel - in excellent form. A deserved home victory saw Dortmund complete a solid pre-season in which they didn't suffer a single friendly defeat. After 12 August's DFB Cup opener against TSV Schott Mainz, the Black-and-Yellows begin their Bundesliga title tilt at home to Cologne.
Watch: All of Haller's Bundesliga goals
- Dortmund were undefeated in pre-season, winning four games on the bounce before their 1-1 draw with Chelsea on Thursday.
- Julian Brandt was BVB's most productive attacking outlet last season with nine goals and eight assists from midfield. He opened his summer account against Ajax.
- Felix Nmecha scored three goals and provided six assists in 30 Bundesliga games for Wolfsburg last season.
- Haller scored 47 goals in 66 games for Ajax before moving to BVB last summer. Fellow BVB attacker Donyell Malen spent eight years in Ajax's academy.
- Seven Dutch players, most recently Malen, have played for Dortmund, and seven German players have played for Ajax.
- Davy Klaassen and Brain Brobbey previously played in the Bundesliga for Bremen and RB Leipzig respectively.
Dortmund: Meyer - Bensebaini, Süle, Hummels, Ryerson - Sabitzer, Can (c), Brandt - Reus - Malen, Haller
Subs: Lotka, Ozcan, Nmecha, Hazard, Wolf, Moukoko, Pohlmann, Bueno, Papadopoulos, Bamba
Out: Bynoe-Gittens (shoulder), Duranville (hamstring), Kobel (muscular), Meunier (muscular), Morey (muscular), Reyna (leg), Schlotterbeck (knee)
Coach: Edin Terzic
Ajax: Rulli - Rensch, Aertssen, Hato, Salah-Eddine - Tahiorivic, Kudus, Taylor - Brobbey, Klaassen (c), Bergwijn
Subs: Gorter, Ramaj, Wijndal, Van den Boomen, Forbs, Medic, Rasmussen, Daramy, Vos, Berghuis, Hlynsson, Gooijer
Out: Fitz-Jim (ankle), Kaplan (knee), Pasveer (hand), Van Axel Dongen (knock)
Coach: Maurice Steijn
As it happened ...
That's it! Borussia Dortmund have completed a superb pre-season campaign with a 3-1 victory against Ajax. A Felix Nmecha double combined with Julian Brandt's opener sends BVB into the new season with an unbeaten record in pre-season. Cologne await the Black-and-yellows on Bundesliga Matchday 1 on 19 August. Prior to that, Edin Terzic's side kick off their DFB Cup challenge against TSV Schott Mainz.
Brobbey sends Guille Bueno flying and that'll be a booking for the Ajax forward.
Moukoko presses hard inside the area and forces Devyne Rensch to slide in and pass back towards his own goal. This is going in, until Jorrel Hato saves his teammates blushes with a last-gasp clearance.
The BVB keeper does tremendously well to stop Brian Brobbey after the Ajax forward raced clear on the break. Meyer is down holding his head momentarily after colliding with Brobbey but the keeper is eventually back on his feet and good to continue.
Yellow card for Ajax's Van den Boomen, who goes in knee on knee against Hazard.
Ajax have been pressing in these past few minutes and the visitors have carved open a few decent chances. BVB keeper Alexander Meyer had made a solid stop from Bergwijn while Medic headed when when well placed moments before.
Ramy Bensebaini is going off to fantastic applause. Dortmund's new full back has excelled in this game.
Nmecha in the mood
A triple substitution from BVB recently but it's Felix Nmecha who is continuing to shine since his introduction. The former Wolfsburg forward has had a couple more efforts at goal as he goes in search of his hat-trick. The first was deflected away while the second just missed the far post.
What a 15 minutes for Felix Nmecha! Bensebaini takes possession out on the left and feeds Nmecha. The striker dummies to his left, sending a couple of defenders and the goalkeeper jumping one way, and simply pokes the ball down the middle for 3-1. Calmly done by BVB's new forward.
He's only been on the pitch since the start of the second half but Felix Nmecha has already put Dortmund 2-1 up. Bensebaini cuts a lovely pass in for Haller and the striker, who has his back to goal, sets up Nmecha for a low strike that rolls into the net.
BVB increase tempo
Ajax threaten at one end but it's BVB who look the more dangerous at the other, especially when Bensebaini and Malen exchange passes and the Dutchman prods narrowly wide at the near post.
Fine work by Malen down the right and he picks out Haller, against whom the ball strikes and bobbles wide.
Off we go again
The second half is underway ...
A decent first 45 minutes in which BVB took an early lead through Julian Brandt's tap in following some fine work from Mats Hummels. Ajax equalised soon afterwards via Brian Brobbey's header. Evenly poised at the break.
A lovely hit from Marco Reus, who controls and then slaps a volley high at the target. Geronimo Rulli
dives back and palms that one over the top.
Another super delivery from Brandt - this time from a set-piece on the right - and Hummels gets up to power a header over the crossbar.
Malen bursts away and he's making plenty of ground, until Mohammed Kudus stops the attacker's run with a heft challenge. Yellow card.
Oooh, the big striker will feel he should have hit the target after Reus tapped an inviting pass forward. As it was, the former Ajax man thrashed over the bar after holding his man off. Very good chance.
Brandt sends a couple of whipped crosses in from the left. Both cause some serious danger while the latter leads to a corner. There are appeals from the BVB players for a handball following the set-piece but the referee waves play on.
Here come Ajax
At the other end, Alexander Meyer makes a very good save from Brobbey, whose shot was wickedly deflected. The game is alive again after a bit of a lull.
BVB chance !
Superb play from Ryerson who gets to the end line and cuts back for Reus. The ex BVB captain batters a shot at the goal but Geronimo Rulli can make the save.
The rain in Dortmund ...
It looks more mid November than August here in Dortmund. Grey skies and rain, although that's not preventing the fans from making plenty of noise.
BVB wait and watch
Dortmund are sitting deep as Ajax ratchet up the pressure yet the hosts are like a coiled spring, waiting to counter through Brandt, whoo looks particularly menacing here.
Ajax's Kenneth Taylor goes in a little too hard on Sabitzer and the referee gives the visiting midfielder a talking to.
After an electric start, both sides are passing the ball around calmly now as they search for openings.
Ajax on terms
The celebrations inside the Signal Iduna Park are short lived as Bergwijn finds space and crosses for Brobbey who heads in. That was sleepy defending from the hosts.
Marcel Sabitzer tested the Ajax goalkeeper's reflexes early on and Dortmund kept up that pressure. Hummels, down the left, played in a superb outside-of-the-boot pass for Brandt who tapped in at the near post for 1-0.
The ball is rolling on what looks set to be a very exciting game ...
Both sides make their way out onto the pitch and we're all set for kick-off in Dortmund.
Team newsBVB include two of their summer signings in their starting line-up today with Rami Bensebaini and Marcel Sabitzer straight into the action. Another of the team's new arrivals, Felix Nmecha, is on the bench. Karim Adeyemi
has been ruled out with an unspecified knock.
BVB starting XI
Meyer - Bensebaini, Süle, Hummels, Ryserson - Sabitzer, Can (c), Brandt – Reus – Malen, Haller
Lotka, Özcan, Nmecha, Hazard, Wolf, Moukoko, Pohlmann, Bueno, Papadopoulos, Bamba
Ajax starting XI
Rulli - Rensch, Aertssen, Hato, Salah-Eddine - Tahiorivic, Kudus, Taylor - Brobbey, Klaassen (c), Bergwijn
Gorter, Ramaj, Wijndal, Van den Boomen, Forbs, Medic, Rasmussen, Daramy, Vos, Berghuis, Hlynsson, Gooijer
As we've mentioned below, Marco Reus has decided to hand over the BVB captain's armband for the new season and the 34-year-old spoke recently of just how difficult it was to miss out on the Bundesliga title by a hair's breadth last term. "It was very tough, probably the toughest moment of my career because you want it so badly for yourself but also for the fans and the city," he said. Looking ahead, Reus added, "Our objective [for 2023/24] is still to finish at the very top. Not only because we were so close to doing so last year but also because that's the standard we set ourselves."
Bensebaini praiseBVB coach Edin Terzic expressed his satisfaction with Ramy Bensebaini, who put in some solid showings on the Black-and-Yellows' recent tour of the United States. "Ramy immediately settled in from day one and has repeatedly showcased himself in training and put himself forward for matches; we're very satisfied with that," the BVB tactician said of the ex-Gladbach man. We'll soon learn if Bensebaini is in from the get-go against Ajax when the teams drop shortly.
Ajax, who finished third in the Dutch Eredivisie last season, have a couple of Bundesliga old boys in their ranks. Midfielder Davy Klaassen hit 12 goals in 69 Bundesliga games for Werder Bremen across three seasons between 2018 and 2020, while forward Brian Brobbey made nine top-flight outings for RB Leipzig in a short-lived spell from July to December 2021.
Changing of the guardLast month Marco Reus (r.) announced that he was stepping down as team captain of his boyhood club. He has been replaced by fellow Germany international Emre Can (l.), who enjoyed a superb renaissance last season - to the extent that he was rewarded with a two-year contract extension over the summer.
© Denis Poroy/Getty Images
Watch: Sabitzer ready to rock with DortmundHear from one of BVB's high-profile arrivals as he targets silverware this term.
BVB on a roll
Edin Terzic's men will come into this game with their chests puffed after a successful summer preparing for the 2023/24 campaign. They are unbeaten in their friendlies so far, beating Westfalia Rhynern (7-0), RW Oberhausen (3-2), Rot-Weiß Erfurt (2-1), San Diego Loyal (6-0), and Man United (3-2), before drawing 1-1 with Chelsea in Chicago just a few days ago.
Watch: The best of Dortmund in the USABVB returned from their Stateside tour on 3 August, having played friendlies against San Diego Loyal, Manchester United and Chelsea. Catch the highlights in this video!
Dortmund are using the opportunity as their official "season opening" to introduce a sold-out Signal Iduna Park to the first team squad for 2023/24, including new signings Ramy Bensebaini, Marcel Sabitzer and Felix Nmecha. The match kicks off at 17:00 CEST but gates will open three and a half hours beforehand to allow supporters to get in the mood and build up an atmosphere.
Hello and welcome!
Thanks for joining us for build-up and live match coverage of Dortmund's final pre-season fixture - and it's set to be a cracker against Dutch giants Ajax.