Borussia Dortmund came into the Revierderby desperately needing a win, but even more desperately needing to NOT lose to their blue rivals from Herne-West. Mission half accomplished.
Dortmund kept a clean sheet. Granted, the blues prioritized defensive stability over their attack, especially with frequent BVB-killer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar on the bench through recent injury. After a frantic first half in which Dortmund was lucky to string together two passes in sequence, they started to gel and threatened fairly consistently in the second half.
They did not win. Dortmund are genuinely incapable of passing through any kind of press this year. Opponents, Sporting Club of Lisbon aside, have figured out that in order to disrupt Dortmund’s attack, all they have to do is harry Julian Weigl and force him into safe back passes. The midfield, once again, showed no fluidity of movement off the ball in the first half and the team allowed the high-energy frantic nature of the first half to influence their mentality, leading to numerous passing errors.
Tuchel played the cards that he had available. Without Raphaël Gurreiro available from the start and Castro reinjuring himself, his central midfield was kind of forced on him. Wisely, he left Rode out of the middle as his ability to move the ball forward is virtually non-existent. Point deducted for substituting Rode far too late to give Guerreiro time in the midfield. As it occurred late in second half, it virtually sealed the draw.
Roman was sharp most of the match, aside from a heart-stopping moment of misplacing the ball between his feet. Commanded his area better than normal and crucially snuffed out a dangerous cut-back on the ground late in the second half. His first clean sheet since the Darmstadt match over a month ago.
Dortmund’s poor, long-serving Pole isn’t getting younger, and isn’t able to impose himself on matches like he used to be able to. Though he did not show any glaring defensive weaknesses, his offensive passing was pretty awful. Was unable to link well with Pulisic.
Papa was man of the match. In a hard-scrabble derby like this, it really is no surprise. He came out well to snuff out attacks, with one in the first half leading to our only real threatening counter-attack on goal. Had a pretty nasty challenge on Meyer rightfully booked.
Ginter was almost anonymous this match, but in a good way. No defensive screw-ups and solid when needed in the rare aerial challenges. Positively, he played safe with no risks. On the negative side, on a day when BVB were unable to make incisive passes, he played safe with no risks.
Passlack is NOT a left-fullback. With Pisczcek’s offensive limitations on the right side on full display, having Passlack on the left with virtually no-use as a wide crossing threat left him and Dembélé frequently in the same spaces in the first half. Struggled mightily with passes and working the ball through the midfield.
Again, Weigl is the barometer of Dortmund’s performance. If he is shut down, the entire team struggles. While not performing badly, Weigl was unable to influence the match positively. Like other Bundesliga teams this year, the Smurfs knew that to shut down his threat, they had to pressure him before he could turn on the ball and they did just that. The match opened up for him a bit in the second half and it showed.
Perhaps it is a bit harsh, but the young American phenom had a rough match, literally. After Koloŝinac attempted to break his legs with a late tackle that saw his entire body sweep the quicker Pulisic’s lower half, Christian was clearly rattled. Especially when he saw it go completely unrecognized by Germany’s Top Referee Herr Doktor Felix BrychTM. His movements and attempts to provide width were slower than normal and nowhere near as effective. Came alive more in the second half and probably should have had won a penalty when the aforementioned Koloŝinac flung Pulisic, headfirst into the goal post while pursuing a vintage goal-poacher’s tap in. Again, the Serbian villain went completely unnoticed by Germany’s Top Referee Herr Doktor Felix BrychTM.
Kagawa did not do too much poorly per say, but like others on the side, struggled to take control of the match. In a tight game like this, Shinji has historically been able to find that space and create through neat flicks and incisive passes. This ability has vanished this season for whatever reason. Was pulled for André Schürrle at around the hour mark.
If Mario had been able to complete the nifty, very hockey-like five-hole shot on Ralph Fährmann, he would have likely completed his redemption in front of the yellow wall, but was unable to following a great sequence that provoked memories of 2012 and 2013. Still, he had a positive match and showed progress in finding his form again. This writer is still interested in what he would look like in the 8 position, one in which Dortmund clearly struggle with. Götze has all the qualities for that position in a high-defensive line, possession-based system.
This rating is not so much to performance as attempted execution of the game plan. It was manifestly clear that Ousmane had some extensive instructions to pass the ball as he did time and time again. It led to some serious head-scratchers of why pass in that situation, but quite a few of his passes were highly creative and just ever so slightly off the mark. This performance should be pleasing to Tuchel and encouraging to Ousmane’s prospects.
Not really his fault as he had no service, but Auba was pretty much a non-factor in the match.
The German international came on for Shinji and had a few bright moments. Telling that he has just come back from injury as his work was just un-syncopated, exemplified by the comedic loss of possession with Aubameyang in a counter attack.
Had a decent run-out, but far too late to produce any quality. And, as he came on for Passlack at left-back, his presence did not fix the creative hole in the central midfield.
Not enough time for a rating, but his entry should have come earlier. Had one prototypical Rode moment of cavalierly gallivanting through the midfield on a counter attack before launching the ball into touch missing his target on the left wing completely.
Bonus Rating for Germany’s Top Referee Herr Doktor Felix BrychTM: 3
How this official is the best that Germany has is beyond me. Sure, the partisan side of this writer could speculate on bias, but that removed, his base incapacity to control the match and the wild inconsistency of where the line was in fouls led to a chaotic match in which bookings were surprises and vicious fouls unpunished. Koloŝinac should have seen red at least twice and skated each time.