Trust Borussia Dortmund to make a blow-out interesting. Die Junge in Schwarzgelb came to the Volkspark Arena having not won there since 2012 and ended up ruining Hamburg legend Uwe Seeler’s 80th birthday. Though Hamburg never gave up, their defense showed exactly why they are mired in last place in the Bundesliga, making mistake after mistake, gifting Dortmund three inexcusable goals, and allowing BVB to walk away with a large win, the score line of which was not indicative of the match overall.
The boys punished Hamburg’s mistakes and quickly put the match out of reach.
Dortmund’s defensive frailties were once again exposed.
Tuchel’s choices from start to finish defied conventional wisdom and were gambles. By and large they worked. His back three with wing backs and two very defensive midfielders in the center against a side set to play park the bus was clearly a gamble, but it payed off. Dortmund essentially denied Hamburg the ball in the center of the pitch, while moving very fluidly up the flanks. His substitutions of Dembélé and Schürrle at a time when the match screamed for a steadying hand and possession seemed sheer lunacy, but it only took the young Frenchman seven minutes to put the match out of reach with a very composed finish.
Roman had a bungler of a match. Though not at fault for the two goals, he could have easily let in three more had Hamburg had any real attacking teeth and ability to pounce on mistakes. I lost track of how many dropped balls, poor passes, and misplaced long balls for which he was at fault. Hopefully, this is a one-off and he finds his composure again before Bayern.
As the wing-back in the system, Piszczek did not have much to do defensively, but never had much to do offensively either. The aging Pole may not have many more bombing, overlapping runs in his inventory any more. Hardly a poor performance, but a rather anonymous one.
Papa put in another solid performance. Was not called upon to dominate like he had to against the noisy blue neighbors, but was reliable as always. In the first half, he even took to taking a few keepy-ups and trying to spring Auba on a long ball over the top.
The disallowed goal aside in which he was a bit fortunate (it WAS a foul, but it is not whistled very often), Matze is showing himself to be the most improved player on the squad. Would have been man of the match were it not for equally impressive performances from Pulisic and the four-goal scorer PEA. Dominant in the air and in the tackle.
Marc struggled again. Seemed confused with the back three formation as well and had difficulty in defensive assignments between him and Guerreiro. Was extremely angry with himself and his failure to shut down Müller quick enough and was punished on the Hamburg player’s excellent shot for his and HSV’s second goal of the match.
Someone needs to find out who decided the Portuguese kid was a fullback and examine his head. It is unclear whether his awful performance was the result of being out for so long or something else, but he put in an absolute stinker. He kept Müller onside for the third goal HSV has scored all season, utterly failed to produce anything offensively, including a comedic, Wayne Rooney reminiscent cross that was blown out of bounds due to its altitude, and had trouble containing a toothless attack. Hopefully it was a combination of lack of match fitness and unfamiliarity with a back three.
Rode did what he needed to do defensively in breaking up the play, but that is about it. Even then, he frequently missed tackles, and often, after winning possession, failed to keep it or passed into bad situations.
Castro was completely absent the entire first half. Certainly this was due to the nature of the formation and Dortmund’s choice to work the ball up the wings rather than the center of the pitch. BVB’s success in quickly moving it on the flanks bypassed him completely. When Pulisic was taken off late in the second half, he became more of a factor offensively.
If it were not for the fact that someone scored four goals on the day, the American kid would have by far been man of the match. He certainly performed better and played with more polish than any other man on the pitch. His first half was a thing of complete brilliance. His ability to see space and occupy it reminds one of Thomas Müller. There was a play in the first half where he left the flank with the ball in the right defensive quadrant of the field. Sprinting to midfield, he called for the ball and became an immediate pressure outlet to bypass a Hamburg press. Seeing that space open from his position on the left, quickly taking it, and receiving the ball is just something 18-year olds are not supposed to know how to do. His quick run and mass to Emre Mor set up Auba’s first tap in. Oh, and he bagged an assist as well. This kid is something special.
Mor had his best game in a Dortmund shirt. Where during the match against Union Berlin, he would receive the ball and wait for his opponents to mark him before figuring out what to do with it, he immediately looked up to a teammate with a vision of passing and moving the ball proactively immediately. It was clear he had received a lot of instruction on decision-making in the past ten days and it showed. It was almost mildly shocking when he played a perfect ball to Auba for his easy tap-in third goal of the match. Still needs to work on controlling his emotions.
Auba was gifted three goals in the first half with two of the easy tap-ins, and one, a howler that Adler let by. His fourth required a bit more class. His best moment came in the gorgeous assist he had for Dembélé’s superb strike.
Came on for Pulisic late in the second half. Did well to run at the defense like he always does. Didn’t have anything of amazing quality, but Dortmund was clearly not as good without Pulisic on the pitch.
Scored an absolute peach of a goal. Made the right decision in taking it on himself and buried it confidently. Harassed the defense a bit late with quick, darting runs on his fresh legs but did not do too much else.
Not enough time for a rating, but his entry should have come earlier… and for a certain left wing-back. Instead, he had to come on for Papa when he could not continue after suffering an injury to his chest. Felix played well defensively, but missed a great opportunity to spring a counterattack after taking too long to pass the ball late in the match.