I wasn’t quite sure how Dortmund would come out of the gates today. Part of me thought that they would be determined to return to form, while another part of me questioned whether or not they have had enough time since Tuesday’s events.
Fortunately, with veteran Marco Reus leading the charge, Dortmund came out firing. Three minutes into the match, Christian Pulisic, after a terrific run through the center of the box, found Marco Reus near post, who finished with a sublime backheel to put Dortmund ahead.
For the next thirty minutes, Frankfurt looked threatening. Striker Marco Fabian wasted a golden opportunity to score for Frankfurt when a through ball found him one-on-one with Roman Bürki. Choosing to take the shot first-time, he mis-struck the ball and sent it wide.
Fabian would make up for it, though, when in the 29th minute he scored a screamer of a goal. Finding himself in space 25 yards out, he struck a beautiful shot that deflected off Sven Bender and found the top corner.
Dortmund would respond before the half was over, though, with an equally impressive strike from an unusual source. Stonewall defender Papa Sokratis found the ball in midfield, and rather than pass it forward, decided to “Battle of Marathon” Frankfurt. After breaking defender Taleb Tewatha’s ankles with a killer fake, Sokratis unleashed a hammer of a shot that needed no deflection.
In the words of FOX commentator Mario Melchiot:
The second half started with Dembélé coming on for Reus and Ginter coming on for Sven Bender. Dortmund did a good job slowing the match down and preventing Frankfurt from getting many chances. With the score still close, Frankfurt could theoretically have tied it, but Aubameyang sealed it in the 86th minute with a beautiful chip off a classic BVB counter.
The match ended 3-1. I thought it was a good win to restore the club’s psychological state, and give them some confidence going into Tuesday’s crucial match against Monaco. Tuchel’s lineup of a back-three with a Weigl-Sahin pivot in midfield worked fairly well, except for a few lapses in the first half that led to Frankfurt chances. I really liked how Marcel Schmelzer played: his role as a wing back allowed him to get forward several times and create scoring chances. Christian Pulisic started on the other side as a right wing back, and I’ll let Josh handle that one:
Pulisic is NOT a wingback.— Joshua Hall (@BVBCambridge) April 15, 2017
Unfortunately, Borussia Mönchengladbach lost to Hoffenheim 5-3, which means Dortmund fail to pick up any points on the third-place club. Either way, this was an important win for Dortmund. They showed a lot of character, and showed that they’re ready to take it to Monaco this Tuesday.