Well, that was... not good. But, hey, we’re top of the table!
While Dortmund were far from perfect, the bees showed their ability to pull goals out of thin air when necessary. The first goal developed pretty much out of nowhere, and the second goal was a classic BVB counterattack that came off a turnover from Marcelo.
We’ll get to those.
Before the lineups were released, many here at Fear the Wall (myself included) wanted Tuchel to run out a hybrid back 3-5, with Ginter, Sokratis, and Bartra at CB, allowing Schmelzer and Piszczek to play more of a wing-back role. This was a formation that worked well against Bayern Münich, and would have really helped bolster our defense against a fire-wagon Real Madrid forward corp.
Instead, Tuchel went with a conventional back four, choosing to sit Ginter. This worked... alright. While there were times when Bartra and Sokratis snuffed out RM’s attack effectively enough, there were also times where our back line was in complete disarray. On the first RM goal, Marcel Schmelzer was caught completely out of position, choosing to move forward at an inopportune moment.
The second goal more of your average defensive lapse. Even though neither Bartra or Marcel Schmelzer were marking anybody, Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema still found himself unmarked when James Rodriguez launched a near-perfect cross into the box. It was a free header and mistake that simply cannot happen against a team as potent as Real Madrid.
I thought Tuchel’s subs were decent. I’m not sure what bringing on Rode was supposed to accomplish, but Reus and Mor definitely brought a new dynamic into the match. We’ll get to those two, though.
I know he gave up two goals, but man, did Roman look good. During the first 15 minutes or so he made several key saves that kept the match from getting out of hand, and he robbed Ronaldo with an outstretched fist later in the match to keep BVB within one.
Neither goal was his fault. While I guess he conceivably could have stopped them, but there’s no way he can be blamed for either one.
While he exhibited some excellent control in setting up Aubameyang’s goal, his defense was severely lacking. He was nowhere to be found on Real Madrid’s first goal, and failed to mark Karim Benzema on their second. Except for his assist, he was stifled often going forward.
My friend, who is a Barcelona fan, snapchatted me during the game saying “Doesn’t Tuchel know never to play Bartra against Real Madrid?” Even though nothing as egregious as the “Bale-ening” happened, there were plenty of moments where he looked incredibly shaky. I noted several egregious turnovers in my match notes as well.
My favorite Papa moment tonight was when he and Ronaldo went flying towards a ball near the touchline and Papa just smashed into it with a typical Spartan Slide Tackle, sending Ronaldo
diving flying. He generally contained CR7 tonight, which is a tough task for anyone.
It was a challenging night for Weigl, but I think he handled it decently enough. He was pressed heavily, but managed to dribble his way out of pressure multiple times. I thought his passes going forward left a lot to be desired, until Aubameyang’s goal, which was, in a word, unreal.
He seemed as if he was actively trying to neutralize Dortmund’s attack. He was so ineffectual in midfield in every conceivable way that I think Dortmund might have actually been better off without him.
He tried to run at Real Madrid’s defenders, but they were having absolutely none of it. I can’t really remember him creating pretty much anything at all out of open play. He almost scored off a free kick, but Navas got a hand to it and pushed it wide. Subbed off for Reus at the hour mark.
As much as I want to give him a higher rating, he seemed a little out of his league against Real Madrid. He was snuffed out effectively by Ramos and Marcelo. He had several decent runs, but never managed to put anything together. Honestly, as an 18 year old, starting against Real Madrid was always going to be a challenge. Tuchel subbed him off for Emre Mor at the hour mark.
His touches seemed to be uncharacteristically heavy, leading him to commit several unforced turnovers. His decision-making was reminiscent of earlier in the season, when he would choose to try and dribble past an entire back line rather than making a simple pass.
A week after repeating his desire to eventually play for Los Blancos, Auba showed the fans at the Bernabeu what they are missing.
While it wasn’t the greatest match from Auba, he came through in the end. In reality, this is an important characteristic of a star player- to be isolated for most of the game, and still find time to make a difference. He was practically invisible for the first 60 minutes, but when Reus came in, everything changed. The dynamic duo were in full force, making incisive runs, and almost connecting several times.
He quickly snatched a goal off a tap-in from Schmelzer, and left Sergio Ramos in the Dust en route to his gorgeous, weighted assist on Marco’s goal.
Sebastian Rode: NR
He had maybe 10 touches? Maybe?
Emre Mor: 7
He was actually pretty decent when he came on, almost connecting with Aubameyang with a beautiful cross that flew just shy of the star striker’s boot.
In the 88th minute He went toe-to-toe with Marcelo as he advanced up the left side, stripped the ball away from him, and launched a perfect long ball that found Auba, who found Reus.
Marco Reus: 9
“Overrated,” they said. “Not deserving of the Fifa 17 Cover,” they said. “Washed-up, injured has-been,” they said.
They were wrong.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man. Reus instantly changed the BVB’s complexion moving forward, and provided the nail in the proverbial coffin that sent BVB to the top of Group F.
Thanks for Reading!