Let’s get this over with.
I generally follow the FIFA video game style of ratings, where 6 is average. MOTM gets a 10, except for days when there is no MOTM. Guess which type of day today is?
Bürki 6: The two goals weren’t particularly his fault, but he still didn’t have a strong match. He made a few wrong moves, and looked shaky handling the ball a number of times. Leno played much better.
Piszczek 8: I thought Lukasz was Dortmund’s best player on the pitch today. He made a delightful long ball to Aubameyang in the first half that really should have resulted in a goal. He was caught out when Leverkusen scored their second goal, but when you’re a goal behind you have to take risks, and he can’t really be blamed for trying to find an equalizer.
Sokratis 6: Honestly, even though Leverkusen scored two goals, Sokratis didn’t really have to do much. Usually when I’m recording individual performances I’ll notice two or three excellent tackles from Papa, but I didn’t see any of that today. He moved forward into the attacking third several times, and it worked out about as well as you’d expect.
Ginter 6.5: It was a pretty bland performance from Matthias, and yet another indication that this club really misses Marc Bartra. I’ll give him an extra .5 because he took a tough knock that he played through, and he did make one brilliant interception from Kevin Volland to Javier Hernandez that basically saved a goal.
Weigl 6: It was a bizarre day for Weigl. There were points, especially during the first half, when he had absolutely no support from Castro and Rode, who for whatever reason were trying to make runs against Leverkusen’s back line. Given the fact that he was extremely isolated against a very heavy press throughout most of the match, and at certain points had to play almost as a center back, he actually did alright. He made some nice passes, including a brilliant low through-ball to Auba, which would probably have been a goal if Auba had been onside. He got bossed by Admir Mehmedi on the first Leverkusen goal, and was beaten to the ball by Chicharito on the second goal, which reminds us why he should not be in the position to make plays as a center back.
Rode 4: Sebastian Rode is not good at offensive play. As a midfielder who specializes in tackling and winning possession, his job is not to play as a forward, but to strip the ball off of opposing teams, and to help out in the build up of play. There were long periods of time where Rode had quite literally no effect on the game at all, and the fact that Tuchel didn’t sub him at the half is truly mind boggling. This is the second time this season that Tuchel has made this mistake, and he got burned again.
Guerreiro 7: Considering he had to switch from CM to left back to CM again, it was a strange day for Rapha. He made some nice plays, and his transition to midfield definitely helped out BVB during the second half. His set pieces were disappointing, though.
Castro 6: Gonzalo also drifted out of the picture often. At various points Weigl, Sokratis, and Guerreiro were forced into punting hail mary’s down the field because Castro could simply not get open.
Pulisic 6.5: Christian had some shining moments, but it was mostly a day to forget from the young American. Toprak, Henrichs, and Calhanoglu had him shut down pretty well.
Dembélé 5: I don’t know what to say about this young man. For a player who seems to have more talent than anyone on the planet, he makes some pretty mind-numbing decisions. His passes were poor, his finishing was non-existent, and he seemed intent on taking on every defender in his path, regardless of whether or not better options existed for him.
Aubameyang 7: It was just not Auba’s day. Whether it was the offside flag, a heavy touch, or a last minute deflection by a defender, nothing when right for BVB’s star striker. Give credit Toprak and Tah, who both defended superbly.
Mor 7: Emre Mor came on for Pulisic at the beginning of the second half. While he didn’t produce anything reflected on the scoresheet, he did run at defenders several times, and got the best of them more than once. He nutmegged Hakan Calhanoglu as well.
Kagawa 6: I would have prefered to see Götze brought on, but apparently he will never be able to play 90 minutes in a week ever again. Honestly I can’t remember a single thing Shinji contributed other than a looping volley that could only be described as an “infield fly.”
Schmelzer 7: Today was supposed to be a rest day for Schmelzer, but he had to come in for the second half to allow Guerreiro to move into the midfield. He played fine, got some crosses in, and missed one shot so bad that it actually went in for a throw. (You have to admit, that’s actually kind of impressive)
Tuchel 5: TT’s decision to roll out a back three against a very dangerous Leverkusen attack was extremely ill-advised. They played extremely poorly in the first 10 minutes, and Guerreiro had to be levied to play as Left Back for the first half. It was just awkward to watch.
Meanwhile, Weigl, Ginter, and Sokratis looked like they had no chemistry at all. Their passing was off, and they committed many more turnovers than we’ve been used to lately.
I have no idea why Rode started today. He should have been taken off at the half: it should have been apparent to Tuchel that he was having no impact on the match at all.
Men and Women of the Match: The BVB Away Fans
Usually I give a 10 and Man of the Match to BVB’s best player. Today, though, nobody really deserved it, so I thought I’d give it to the BVB fans, who at times were making more noise than the rest of the BayArena. Great job representing the club, Borussers!