A historic night for Polish champions Legia Warsaw ended in disaster as Borussia Dortmund handed out a cruel and ruthless lesson in their opening UEFA Champions League Group F match after a year away from the competition.
There were six different scorers for Thomas Tuchel’s men, with Mario Götze scoring his first goal since his return from Bayern Munich, before Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Marc Bartra, with his first Dortmund goal, put them to the sword inside the first twenty minutes.
Raphaël Guerreiro scored his first goal for the club as well soon after the break, with Gonzalo Castro coming off the bench to inflict a fifth and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang made a belated apperance on the scoresheet late on to complete the rout.
Twenty-one-year wait for Legia
The hosts were back in the Champions League proper after a 21-year absence, having beaten Dundalk in the play-off round, however the Ekstraklasa holders have started poorly domestically, with just two wins in eight league games.
After losing to Bruk-Bet Termalica Nieciecza at the weekend, they brought in five new faces, with Bartosz Bereszyński, Maciej Dąbrowski, Tomasz Jodłowiec, Vako Kazaiszwili - making his debut - and Aleksandar Prijović all starting.
Nemanja Nikolić, who scored five goals in qualifying, was left out in favour of Prijović, whilst they were fielding a completely different back four to the one that played the second leg gainst Dundalk, with Adam Hloušek suspended and captain Michal Pazdan injured.
Dortmund meanwhile are back amongst Europe’s elite after just a season away. The 2013 finalists had a difficult summer, but started their league campaign with a win over 1. FSV Mainz 05, before losing to RB Leipzig.
Tuchel made three changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Leipzig at the weekend. Guerreiro and Christian Pulisic were given their first starts of the season, with Ousmane Dembélé also coming in.
Andre Schürrle was ruled out with a knee ligament injury, whilst Sebastian Rode and Gonzalo Castro dropped to the bench. Shinji Kagawa joined them after recovering from a sprained ankle.
Legia destroyed in seventeen minutes
Even in the early stages Dortmund looked very comfortable going forward, despite a hostile atmosphere, and they wasted no time in taking the lead. Guerreiro had a cross blocked by Jakub Czerwiński but the ball went out to Dembélé, who cross an unmarked Götze to head in.
Aubameyang should have made it two soon after. Played clear through by Pulisic, he couldn’t direct his shot past Arkadiusz Malarz, despite forcing a double save fromt he keeper.
It didn’t matter. A Guerreiro free-kick was whipped into the box, and again the Legia defence weren’t properely marking the receipiant, with a straightforward header for Sokratis to score.
Soon after, Malarz gave away a free-kick for handling inside the D, and Dortmund made him pay. Guerreiro again took, with Malarz able to save. Aubameyang then hit the post from the rebound, Marcel Schmelzer got a touch on the ball, which deflected off off Steeven Langil, before Bartra with his second touch directed the ball in.
Aubameyang lets hosts off the hook
Dortmund were less fluid after the three goals, but still looked dangerous going forward. Sokratis of all people almost caught out the defence again, with a clean header from a Götze cross, although on this occasion it was saved by Malarz.
The hosts were able to get forward more themselves. A couple of promising balls into the box came to little, but Thibault Moulin with a header and then a free-kick at least gave Roman Bürki something to do.
Aubameyang should have made it four. But yet again he couldn’t find his target, chipping over Malarez but wide after a long ball from Lukasz Piszczek.
Dembélé, who like Pulisic was practically toying with Legia at times, tried from range a couple of times but likewise couldn’t direct his shots on goal.
Less intensity but further goals
As the second half began it felt like only a matter of time before Dortmund found the goal again, and they did. Aubameyang set up Dembélé, who found himself up against three white shirts, but instead he moved the ball to Guerreiro, who took aim and put the ball in at the far post.
Dortmund were in no rush to get another after that. Legia did have one impressive move forward, with Prijović, Moulin and then Langil all combining, with the latter bringing a save out of Bürki.
Dortmund showed little mercy when the time came to inflicte a fifth goal on the Polish side. Aubameyang couldn’t connect with a Pulisic cross, but it made no matter as Castro, barely 60 seconds after his apperance from the bench, was at the far post to score.
And eventually Aubameyang found his way onto the scoresheet. Castro played a perfect ball to him, and he kept clear of both central defenders before placing the ball over Malarz.
Nikolić, off the bench, had a late headed chance for a consolation deflect off Sokratis, but in fairness the result compeltely summed up Dortmund’s dominance. 65% possession, 30 attempts on goal and six in the back of the net. A perfect way to return to the Champions League.