Goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earned die Schwarzgelben a comfortable victory in Wednesday’s traditional season curtain raiser, with Lewandowski cutting a lonely figure on his first return to Dortmund since leaving the club for FC Bayern München in July.
“Dortmund were the better team today,” the former BVB favourite admitted after the final whistle. “We had a number of players missing and weren’t really able to trouble them in the final third, but it’s the first game of the season and I’m sure we’ll improve on Sunday [against Preußen Münster in the first round of the DFB Cup].”
In Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng and Thomas Müller, Guardiola’s side featured just three of the Germany stars who lifted the 2014 World Cup earlier this summer. Philipp Lahm and former Dortmund ace Mario Götze had to make do with a place on the substitutes’ bench, while the absence of Bastian Schweinsteiger, Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery through injury hardly helped Bayern’s cause.
Lack of match fitness
“We didn’t play well and weren’t able to create many goalscoring opportunities,” conceded Lewandowski. “I didn’t really see much of the ball up front, but that’s also because our World Cup winners are only just returning to the first-team fold and we have a number of other injuries too. I’m confident we’ll do better on Sunday though.”
Lahm, who replaced fellow Germany international Müller at half-time in Dortmund, echoed his team-mate’s sentiments following the defeat. “You can only improve your match sharpness by playing in games – you can’t do it in training,” said the former Nationalmannschaft skipper. “We had a lot more players involved in the latter stages of the World Cup than Dortmund, and the injuries didn’t help.”
Martinez injury ‘a huge blow’
The latest name on Bayern’s lengthy casualty list is Javi Martinez, who left the Signal Iduna Park pitch on a stretcher following a collision with Marcel Schmelzer during the first-half. Martinez, who was part of Spain’s World Cup squad, revealed late on Wednesday that he could be out for quite some time if - as he suspects - he has damaged the cruciate ligament in his knee.
“It would be a huge blow for Javi if that diagnosis proves correct,” said Lahm. “He’s been working on his fitness for a while now, so it would be extremely disappointing for him if it’s his cruciate ligament. We have to wait for an official diagnosis, but that would be the worst case scenario for him and for us.”
Matthew Howarth reporting from Signal Iduna Park