In the 150th edition of the Revierderby, we saw a typically cagey affair with both sides having equal rights to claim misfortune. Dortmund, for having come centimeters from at least one goal that would have likely sealed a 2-0 win, and the diminutive blue persons with a rightful claim to a Marc Bartra handball in the penalty area in injury time that Felix Zwayer inexplicably let slide. All told, both sides seemed content with a point though for Dortmund supporters, the seething rage displayed at the end by the inhabitants of the cute, little arena in Herne-West was more than enough succor to atone for dropped points to hated rivals. And the episode at the end of the Ruhr-region’s equivalent to the I-Don’t-Know-WHAT-That-Is Philly Fanatic mascot of the Smurfs handing Zwayer his own red card he lost on the pitch was priceless. Lengthy ban upcoming no doubt by the German No-Fun-League
Dortmund did well considering the timing of the match. An international break that damaged several players and fatigued others forced Tuchel into a non-first choice lineup. This and the heavy April schedule made this match crucial to get points from. And, after very sketchy decisions against Dortmund in the Hinrunde, the good fortune to have a major decision go wrongly for BVB was welcome.
Dortmund lost the plot defensively on two plays and paid for it once.
As previously mentioned, Tuchel’s lineup was largely chosen for him. He stayed with the 3-4-2-1 formation that has had so much success in the Rückrunde and that meant the inclusion of out of favor Felix Passlack as right wing-back. Arguably should have put Pulisic in before Mor, but the American’s level of fitness after playing two full World Cup qualifiers in the physically brutal CONCACAF is unknown.
Played well. Saved all the balls he should have. The Smurfs did not threaten very much throughout. Made one fine reflex save off a bullet header from Höwedes from ten yards out.
Piszczek’s right wing was clearly the favored side of build-up for the home side. Struggled at times with his defensive duties but played adequately well. Had a bad giveaway early on but settled in for the remainder of the match.
Sokratis was made for derbies. The Dortmund hard man played hard, and played well. Made several key tackles to stop threatening counterattacks. As typical in derbies, the unflappable Sokratis refused to be drawn into any post-challenge shenanigans. Made crucial and intelligent professional fouls to break up play.
Marc did pretty well defensively and the three-back system allowed him again to romp forward at times to exploit defensive gaps. Was missing a bit in his passing in the final third like many of his teammates. Was very fortunate not to be the goat of the match as his handball probably should have been penalized in stoppage time.
Those of us who have been wondering if the youngster was still alive while Erik Durm had been receiving all the playing time now have an idea why Tuchel has gone with one and not the other. Felix had a rough time out there. He was quickly trapped on the ball during build-up and his rough touch led to turnovers.
Julian did his best to bring calm to the chaos of the derby but didn’t have as much success as most games. His timely interventions early in the game saw him rightfully booked and forced him to play more careful defensively the rest of the match. Got distracted on the Smurf equalizer.
#GoodCastro helped a lot in the build-up play from the back and put in a solid defensive display. But #GoodCastro morphed into #BadCastro as soon as he approached the offensive third and brought down the wrath of Tuchel with careless passes that were easily intercepted.
The captain had a man of the match performance up until a back injury took him out of the game. He tirelessly ran down the opposition, broke up play, was a threat on the counter, and provided the kind of leadership-by-example a derby requires. The fight and spirit tailed off significantly when he left.
Despite Shinji having a great run of form recently, he ALWAYS shows up for the derby. Today was no different. He struggled to find any impact on the match in much of the first half but on the few times he and his mates in the attack found space, he exploited it like a genius. The counter attack in which Dortmund scored was due to his great diagonal run the split the centerbacks and as Auba’s later failed assist attempt can testify, did very well on the pass to the Gabonese striker who had an easy tap-in.
It is testament to his remarkable growth this year that I do not rate him higher. He had an on and off performance sprinkled with errors but marked by that brilliant pass that broke Kagawa through on goal. Came within centimeters of having a match-winner.
Had his customary tap-in. Should have been more selfish as his attempt to feed Dembélé was intercepted by Höwedes.
Came on for Passlack and did not make a difference.
Got a taste of the derby. To the great shock of no-one, during his first dribble, decided to take it directly into the middle of three blue jerseys. Lost the ball.
Not a factor unfortunately as he came on far too late.