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Borussia Dortmund 3 - 0 Vfl Wolfsburg: Player Ratings

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Dortmund Dominate Tame Wolves

Real Madrid CF v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

The very weird atmosphere of a match played in front of a closed Südtribune had about as much effect on Dortmund as did the anemic performance of the visiting Vfl Wolfsburg who haven’t looked potent since they sold a certain Kevin DeBruyne 18 months ago. Dortmund dominated the match from start to finish and won a deserved three points on the day.

Positives

Our defense was very solid, but they were not really tested.

Negatives

Dortmund’s finishing is still leaving something to be desired. For practically the entire first half, Dortmund’s shots on goal where actually shots on Diego Benaglio, as nearly all did not even force Bürki’s Swiss countryman to move.

Manager: 8

Tuchel’s starting eleven and 4-1-4-1 formation was spot on for this match. With Wolfsburg ceding possession and refusing to press, it allowed Dortmund time in the build-up and made Gonzalo Castro look much better than he actually is.

Bürki: 5

Clean sheet yes, but he really did not have to do anything to keep it so pathetic was Vfl’s attack.

Piszczek: 8

Łukasz put in a man of the match performance having a foot (and head) on all three goals. He has a goal-poaching instinct of a forward to find himself in the right place at the right time so often. Wolfsburg did not test him defensively or pressure him much so his weaknesses were not exposed.

Ginter: 6

Matze played well. He did nothing particularly remarkable but was mistake free. Not like Wolfsburg were postured to punish him for a mistake.

Bartra: 7

The rehabilitation of Marc Bartra is complete. He was rock-solid defensively and Wolfsburg’s passivity allowed him the space to influence the game with his passing, which was a whole lot better than when he first came back from injury late in the Hinrunde.

Schmelzer: 7

Schmelle was a constant thorn in the side of die Wölfe and exploited the width provided him.

Weigl: 8

How to beat Dortmund: Use a high press and harass Julian Weigl. Don’t do that and he will punish you. Weigl dictated play again just as last year when Dortmund’s possession game went unchallenged. He was again the king of BVB’s confidence and composure circulating the ball like the metronome he is. He put in the necessary challenge to break up any turnovers.

Reus: 7

Aside from his customary extended forays into offside positions, Marco performed very well.

Castro: 7

Gonzalo Castro looks great when he has time and space in which to operate. Clearly his best performance of the year thus far. A great selection for the starting eleven by Tuchel as it will surely help his self-confidence. With Raph underperforming recently and Götze’s extended absence, a confident box-to-box Gonzalo Castro is a necessity to perform well. Castro even looked dangerous on his free kick.

Dembélé: 8

The youngster provided the dangerous thrust on attack and took his goal extremely well. His decision-making in the final third left a bit to be desired but one could make the case it was less his fault than the lack of support from Auba and Schürrle.

Schürrle: 4

Dortmund’s record signing showed just how silly a statistic like that is during this game against his former club. Andre could not get in the match at all and provided very little in going forward. Had no chemistry with Marcel Schmelzer on the wing and generally looked like he was just in the way most of the time.

Aubameyang: 3

The disappearance of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has been the narrative of late and today was no different. Early in the match he got in good goal-scoring positions yet meekly hit the ball straight into the arms of a grateful Diego Benaglio. Disappeared later on in the game and was not a factor.

Substitutes

Pulisic: 7

Came on for Reus, who went straight into his bubble-wrap, and put in a very positive performance. Was left kind of on his own on the left wing after switching to that side. Inexplicably either passed the ball to a ten-yard offside Aubameyang or missed an open net with his header from ten yards away. A moment of uncharacteristic madness from the normally composed-beyond-his-years young American.

Shinji Kagawa: 5

Even in a match with this much-afforded space, the Japanese playmaker still managed to find himself in precarious positions with the ball. Showed a lot of rust and did not take a glorious chance to show himself worthy of inclusion into more lineups given the opposition.

Merino: NR

The seldom-used Spaniard showed his talent aside from one inexplicable give-away in the nine minutes he came on. He is the midfielder Zorc thought Sebastian Rode would have been.