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UCL Player Ratings: Tottenham 3-1 Dortmund

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It was not a good start to the Champions League group stage for BVB

Tottenham Hotspur v Borussia Dortmund - UEFA Champions League Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Dortmund did not get off to a good start in Champions League play yesterday. An injured BVB squad lost 3-1 to Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley, a loss that could be very damaging to their chances of advancing from the Group of Death.

Coach

Peter Bosz: 5

I’m not sure that much of the blame for this loss should fall on Bosz. Dortmund dominated possession and had their chances. Spurs deserved the win, but on another day the refereeing decisions could have swung the game in a different direction. Plus, there were plenty of injuries keeping key BVB players out of the side.

Bosz’s biggest failing was not recognizing the way in which Spurs were most threatening to Dortmund. BVB were undone on the counter-attack, usually as a result of a bad giveaway while passing around in defense. Mauricio Pochettino had his side sit-back and wait for their opportunity to fly forward. Bosz should’ve noticed that and made adjustments much earlier.

Starting XI

Roman Burki: 3

It’s true, Burki had a rough game. The first two Spurs’ goals beat him at his near-post, and then his hand wasn’t strong enough to keep out their third goal. Son’s goal and Kane’s first were laser-beams, but the Swiss keeper should be more courageous at his near-post. He kind of just fell backwards and flapped at both goals.

The defender’s in front of Burki didn’t provide much help on the goals, but even Burki himself recognizes that he needs to do better.

Omer Toprak: 5

Toprak was effective in the parts of the game when BVB were able to press and keep Tottenham trapped in their own half. He was often there waiting to deny players like Kane and Eriksen from turning up-field for a counter-attack.

But Toprak’s lack of pace was more evident than it ever has been in a Dortmund shirt. Harry Kane isn’t that fast, but he left Toprak in the dust on his first goal.

Sokratis: 3

Going into the game, I figured that Toprak would be the liability in defense. Sokratis is usually a rock, but he wasn’t himself yesterday without Marc Bartra. He was caught out of position on Tottenham counter-attacks, and he failed to close Son down on his goal.

He’s a much better defender than he showed yesterday.

Jeremy Toljan: 7

Toljan did quite well in his first start for Dortmund. He showed versatility in being able to play left back, and was a key part of some of BVB’s most dangerous attacks from out wide. It didn’t cost him, but he did drift offside on the run-up to Yarmolenko’s goal.

Lukasz Piszczek: 4

Tottenham’s third goal was pretty much all Piszczek’s fault.

Look at that positioning. Giving Kane that much space is inexcusable, and he made Dortmund pay.

Nuri Sahin: 5

Sahin was brushed aside pretty easily on Kane’s first goal, but it could’ve probably also been given as a foul. Elsewhere, Nuri gave the ball away quite a bit. Not his strongest game, but he was hardly Dortmund’s worst player. He could’ve used a DM like Julian Weigl playing alongside him.

Shinji Kagawa: 6

Kagawa’s assist to Yarmolenko will get lost in the chaos of the match, but it was a very smart pass. Shinji did his typical job of distributing, and did it quite well in the first half. He was a big part of Dortmund shifting the ball wide to start dangerous attacks.

In the second half he was a bit of a passenger, and was ultimately replaced by Gotze.

Mahmoud Dahoud: 5

Bosz didn’t have a ton of options, but a Dahoud-Sahin midfield is very soft. They were always going to struggle to break-up Spurs’ attacks, because they’re not really DM’s. It might have been a different story had Julian Weigl been available.

Dahoud was also unlucky not to have an assist. Aubameyang finished a delicate cross of his, but was wrongfully flagged for offside.

Christian Pulisic: 5

Pulisic started the match brightly, but faded as the game went on. He missed an opportunity in the box when a ball Auba played for him was just a bit too far away. If Puli was a bit taller he might’ve been able to redirect it into the goal.

There were also a couple times where American Messi could’ve been more selfish and taken a shot instead of trying to square a pass for PEA or another forward.

Andriy Yarmolenko: 7

Despite the result, Dortmund fans won’t soon forget Yarmo’s goal. His signing this summer was clearly a quick-fix replacement for Ousmane Dembele, but if he continues like this he’ll be a quality addition to Peter Bosz’s team.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 6

If VAR had been in play for this game, Aubameyang would’ve had a goal. He was 100% onside when he volleyed Dahoud’s cross into Hugo Lloris’ net, but the assistant referee flagged anyway. He didn’t score, but he caused plenty of trouble for Spurs’ defenders with his pace.

Substitutes

Mario Gotze: 6

The game had already been decided by the time he came on, but Gotze still showed well. He was able to string passes together, and also managed to get Jan Vertonghen sent off. Maybe he should’ve started?

Dan-Axel Zagadou: N/A

Zagadou came on late for Toprak, at which point the game was already easing to its finish. Good for DAZ though in that he is a promising youngster seeing time in the Champions League.

Gonzalo Castro: 3

Castro came into the game and it was immediately evident that he was trying too hard. His passing was loose, but his tackling was even worse. He put in a couple late challenges, and then was quickly shown a yellow-card after a colorful discussion with the referee.