I think it’s safe to say we all needed that.
After several consecutive poor performances against Real Madrid, RB Leipzig, Apoel Nicosia, and Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund finally found some semblance of their earlier form with a dominant 5-0 victory against Magdeburg. True, it’s just the DFB Pokal, and true, Magdeburg are a lower division side, but this win was still desperately needed, and is a warm relief to fanbase that has been verging on panic for several weeks.
Despite the final scoreline, for much of the first half it looked like it was going to be one of ‘those nights’. You know, the ones where Dortmund fail to create anything and surrender a garbage goal near the end? Yeah, one of those. Within the first five minutes, Max Philipp missed one of the easiest chances I’ve ever see. He found himself about two yards from the goal with the ball at his feet and the keeper out of the picture. All he had to do was nudge the ball in the general ‘forward’ direction and he would have scored. Instead, he knocked it off the post, and Isak smashed the rebound into the Magdeburg keeper.
Even though Dortmund failed to score for much of the first half, it didn’t look too bad. They created some decent chances that forced more saves, and didn’t surrender much in terms of offense from Magdeburg. If I was to give them one criticism for their first half play, it would be that they looked too timid. They took too many extra passes that should have been shots, and generally allowed Magdeburg to keep up with them. It looked like things would go downhill, too, when Dahoud clattered into a Magdeburg defender and hobbled off the pitch. Gonzalo Castro tore off his training penny, and there was a collective “here we go again,” from the fans.
And within thirty seconds, he scored.
Not an own goal, not a pair of tickets to an Imagine Dragons concert, but a legitimate goal.
The goal was set up by Andriy Yarmolenko, who took on a couple Magdeburg defenders in the corner and managed to whip a cross in to the youngster Isak, who headed the ball into Castro’s feet. He was so close to the goal, and the move had so confounded the defenders, that he couldn’t possibly miss his target. Dortmund went into halftime 1-0 to the good.
BVB came out for the second half and renewed their pressure and were almost immediately rewarded when Alexander Isak scored a beautiful goal, his first for the club. It was quite a pretty finish too. It started from a counterattack off a Magdeburg corner. Yarmolenko had the ball in the center of the pitch and sprayed it out to Max Philipp (who may have been a touch offside.) Philipp poked it into the path of the cutting Isak, who slotted a shot into the bottom corner.
At this point the match was pretty much over, but Dortmund managed to get three more goals to make it a true beatdown. The third goal was a penalty by Yarmolenko. It was given when Raphael Guerreiro crossed the ball into the box, which went off the arm of defender Steffen Schäfer. Yarmolenko stepped up to the spot. His shot was actually rather weak, and Glinker dove the right way, but it managed to trickle right under his arm and into the net.
Magdeburg had been running for a while, and at this point Dortmund completely controlled the run of play. They scored a fourth goal when Marc Bartra, who had been playing at Right Back all night, found himself on the end of a Kagawa cross, and emphatically smashed home a header, leaping over the shoulders of his defender. Kagawa scored another one in the final minute, ending the game 5-0.
- Isak started slow, but he gradually came into the game and got his first goal in a competitive match with the club. I thought he showed his youth at times, but also showed his promise during others.
- I know Bartra scored, but I’m not a fan of him playing at right back. He had several Moussa Sissoko type moments where he would dart forward, realize he was completely outnumbered, and then take a poor touch and knock it into a defender. He’s at his best when he’s a center back, and I’d rather have him there and Zagadou at full back than the other way around.
- Shinji played pretty well today. I’ve thought for a while that he should start over Mario Götze. He notched a goal and an assist today, so I think that’s a reason for him to start some more in the future.
- Both Guerreiro and Schürrle made their first appearances for the club in a long time. By the time they came on it was already over, but they still made some nice plays. It will be a huge relief to have them available for squad selection again.
- Roman Bürki was rarely tested tonight, but when he was he was calm and collected. We’d like more of that, please.
- Nuri Sahin looked great. He did everything that a traditional DM is supposed to do: he distributed the ball, he broke up attacks, and he occasionally took some dangerous long shots.
- The Dortmund fans in the corner were popping flares like it was the Fourth of July. At one point Bürki actually complained to the referee because visability was so low. I understand the pyro appeal, but at some point it has to stop.
What are your thoughts on the match? Leave them in the comments.