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Borussia Dortmund, Benfica get started with Pittsburgh experience

Borussia Dortmund, Benfica get started with Pittsburgh experience

Pittsburgh is playing host to an international soccer match on Wednesday, and both teams are just getting started with their experience in the Steel City.

Early Monday, the teams were all business with training sessions at their respective practice sites. Dortmund set up at Heinz Field while Benfica were over at UPMC Sports Performance Complex on the South Side, home of the Steelers and Pitt football.

Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva made a special appearance at the South Side complex field.

The big fella showed off his footy skills.

Area fans will have the opportunity to attend a meet and greet on Tuesday at Highmark Stadium between featuring players from Borussia Dortmund alongside the local club Riverhounds S.C. from 3:30 to 5 p.m. 

The public is invited to join Riverhounds season ticket holders, academy kids, and supporters to meet players from both sides.

The event will be held at Highmark Stadium.

Prior to that players from both teams will be visiting some trademark Pittsburgh places — including Primanti Brothers in Market Square and taking the Duquesne Incline to the top of Mount Washington.

Both teams will be hosting media availability sessions on Tuesday. Pittsburgh Soccer Now will have coverage of those — as well as having one of our contributing photographers, Ed Thompson, to catch some photo ops during the day.

Of course, we’ll have additional coverage including match preview, coverage of the game and much more in the coming days.

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It’s already been a good trip for Dortmund, and its American star, Hershey, PA native, Pulisic, who’ve played two of its three International Champions Cup matches.

Pulisic set up the lone goal in Dortmund’s win over Manchester City in Chicago on Friday, then the 19-year old’s brace in the second half led the Yellow and Black over Liverpool in Charlotte.

Benfica will open ICC play in the States with this match in Pittsburgh, then move on to play Juventus at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey on Saturday afternoon.

About Borussia Dortmund

Image result for about borussia dortmund

The storied German club was founded in 1909 and is one of the most successful clubs in Bundesliga history. 

Dortumund currently sits fourth in the Bundesliga standings as it’s been a bit of a rougher than usual campaign for the one club that usually one of the primary contenders against stalwarts Bayern Munich for supremacy in Germany.

Dortmund last won its league title in 2012, won the German Cup in 2017 — and is a one-time winner of the UEFA Champions League (1997) –and finished as runner-up in a memorable Champions League final vs Bayern Munich in 2013.

After Peter Bosz’ reign ended, Peter Stoger was brought in to bring some stability. But the Austrian coach currently has his club hanging on to fourth place, and a spot in the Champions League, by a thread.

The club has its share of superstar players beside Pulisic — namely 2014 World Cup hero Mario Götze. Additional notable big names for Dortmund include Marco ReusShinji KagawaAndré SchürrleRoman Bürki and goalkeeper Marcel Schmelzer.

Ironically, Dortmund’s biggest rival is also a club that’s been doing some cross promotions with Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC in the past two years, Shalke 04.

RELATED: Dortmund-Benfica early preview podcast & interviews with Dortmund officials

 

About Benfica

The top club in Primeira Liga, the top flight of the Portuguese football league and regular UEFA Champions League contestant, Benfica are the current Portuguese champions, having won four consecutive league titles and are easily the most decorated pro club from Portugal.

This season however, they’ve been challenged at the top by it’s two rivals at the top of the Primeira Liga table – Porto and Sporting.

In addition to Parkes, among the top players for Benfica include Brazilian Jonas Gonçalves Oliveira — or better known simply as Jonas who has 33 goals in league play this season.

Other notables include Mexican Raúl Jiménez, Brazilian veteran Luisão and Pizzi. 

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BACKGROUND:

The International Champions Cup is the world’s premier annual summer soccer tournament featuring the top European clubs playing across North America, Europe and Asia.  The tournament brings world-class soccer to the masses by organizing marquee matches that attract record-breaking crowds – including the largest recorded attendance for a soccer match in the United States. 

Founded in 2013, the tournament’s sixth installment will feature 18 of the top clubs in the world playing 27 matches in 22 cities across the globe, along with the first ever Women’s International Champions Cup and first ever International Champions Cup Futures event featuring top youth players from around the world.

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets including Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the United States. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

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