Borussia Dortmund celebrated two years of undefeated Bundesliga play in the Westfalenstadion with a 3-0 win over former (It’s-Not-A-Trap-Game! –Matthias Suuk) bogey club, the Dino, Hamburger SV. The match should have been sealed in the first half with Dortmund dominating possession and chance creation but Auba spurned two glorious opportunities and the match slipped into the familiar chaos that has marked a lot of Dortmund’s recent performances.
We won and we did not give up. While the performance in the later stages of the second half was pretty dreadful, BVB did not give up and continued pressure which paid off with Kagawa’s clincher late in the game.
Thankfully Bobby Wood had an off game finishing as he should have had a brace on the night.
Similar to the weekend’s derby, Tuchel’s lineup was mostly chosen for him due to injury and suspension. He chose Mor over Pulisic which proved to be an inspired choice. Ginter over Bender remains a head scratcher, but Tuchel may not think Manni is ready for a return from injury.
Roman showed his value in stoning Bobby Wood’s breakaway attempt. Aside from that wasn’t overly troubled as HSV was even more wasteful on their shots than Dortmund.
A relatively quiet night for the Pole. Solid defensively.
Embattled Matze Ginter did not have a catastrophic night but was fortunate to not get punished by his mistakes. He is not a reliable center back to take the place of Sokratis and will very likely fall under Bender in the depth chart as soon as Sven is ready to take it on.
Bartra plays so much better and freer in a back three which allows him the freedom to venture forward from time to time and exploit space left to him. Having to sit in a back two alongside a careless and unreliable Ginter takes those opportunities away and maximizes his own weaknesses.
The Portuguese left-back plays better as a midfielder as he had familiar issues with defending the flank. Going forward, he seemed to play better than he had recently.
Weigl had an imperious match. Played superbly in protecting his back four, dropped back into the slot between center backs to start the build-up, and sprayed crisp, sharp passes all over the field. Julian was wisely taken off and placed in a Pelican case for safe transport to Munich on the weekend.
His first 60 minutes of the match earned him a four rating as he played little to no part except for trying to outsprint the Hamburg fullback. As other analysts noted, Ousmane is far too one-dimensional on the wing and is easily shut down without a fullback (in back four) or wing-back (in back three) to overlap and allow him to exploit the half-space. With the aging Piszczek playing behind him in the first half, he was unable to do this. He came alive though in the second half as Tuchel wisely swapped him to the left side and Guerreiro supported him far more ably.
#GoodCastro had an appearance especially in the first half. Played his usual frenetic work-rate and the close attention Hamburg’s defense placed on him actually played to his advantage. Castro would frequently receive the ball with his back to goal and a HSV player draped on him. This allowed him to turn quickly and exploit any space left him. Hamburg eventually figured out the best way to stop Castro is to grant him enough space to dribble into trouble and misplace a pass and his influence fell in the second half. Played well defensively.
Shinji with the man of the match performance. He should have had three assists on the night as he created chance after chance. Was rewarded for his hard work by getting on the end of Auba’s cross for an easy tap-in. Further rewarded with an assist of his own with a great through ball to Auba in stoppage time.
Most Dortmund watchers were concerned with Mor starting over Pulisic but those doubts were well put to rest as the young Turk showed far more maturity than his other performances this season. He was instrumental in breaking through a mild high-press with his dribbling ability and made a great many more wise decisions than in the past. Hamburg adapted to his dribbles and began to neutralize them more with a trap as the match went on.
It is a strange phenomenon when a striker plays an outstanding match but is only remembered for his misses. Auba did everything right today through 80 minutes, except put the ball into the net. He was 0-3 on one on ones with Rene Adler but his intelligence and speed put him into those situations. He single-handedly created the game-sealing goal as his sprint pulled Ekdal’s hamstring, then his quick turn put Ekdal on the floor leaving an easy cross to Kagawa for the tap-in. Scored the garbage time pay-off as he decided to round Adler rather than attempt to place a shot or chip.
Came on for Mor and had an off night. Played well but made some bad decisions with final few touches. Had a couple of inexplicable give-aways. Perhaps a hard rating, but he did not play up to the usual high standards he has set for himself.
Came on for Guerreiro for some defensive stability. Played well and made no mistakes.
Nuri returned and brought a level of calm when needed.