Borussia Dortmund continued their good form with a solid 4-0 win over VFB Stuttgart.
Lucien Favre: 8
Favre chose to field a strong starting XI, with Paco Alcacer, Jadon Sancho, and Jacub Bruun Larsen leading the line. His aggressive lineup paid off within minutes, as BVB’s electric forward corps found the back of the net three times within 30 minutes. With a lead secured, and a Champions League against Atletico Madrid on the horizon, Favre chose (wisely) to pack it in, and subbed off most of BVB’s most important attackers.
Tactically, there wasn’t much to this match. Stuttgart were pretty unorganized defensively, and by the time they had straightened themselves out they were 3-0 down, and BVB were in cruise control.
Roman Bürki: 7
Believe it or not, Bürki actually made 5 saves this match. None were particularly difficult, but it’s still good that he didn’t make any errors that could have let Stuttgart back into the match.
Achraf Hakimi: 7
Hakimi started at left back for the first time this season, and he managed to assume this role flawlessly. He played in Jacob Bruun Larsen on BVB’s first goal, and had 100% accuracy in both crosses and long balls.
Dan-Axel Zagadou: 7
While Stuttgart were not too threatening, Zagadou looked more than capable of filling in for Manuel Akanji. He was defensively solid, and managed to navigate Stuttgart’s pressing with ease. We’ll learn a lot more about Zagadou’s abilities this Wednesday, because I expect Diego Costa and Antoine Griezmann to be more demanding opponents to face.
Abdou Diallo: 8
He led Dortmund’s back line, and was absolutely dominant. Not only is he an anchor defensively, but he also has an uncanny ability to drive possession forward and jumpstart attacks. In this regard, his play reminds me of vintage, 2015-16 Mats Hummels.
Lukasz Piszczek: 7
He combined well with Marco Reus to create Dortmund’s first goal. While he wasn’t involved much in any other attacks, he was reliable on defense whenever necessary.
Axel Witsel: 9
The Belgian midfielder was masterful. His consistent forward distribution of the ball is something we haven’t seen since Julian Weigl paired with Ilkay Gündogan in 2015. He had an excellent 91% pass completion rate, a perfect long ball completion rate, several key passes, and was a rock in his defensive role.
Thomas Delaney: 7
Delaney lived up to his billing as a physical, defense-first midfielder. He led the squad with six interceptions, and his passing statistics (88% completion, 5/6 long balls) were strong as well.
Marco Reus: 8
Another day, another strong performance from Mr. Rolls Reus. He notched a goal and an assist to add to continue his stellar form in the Bundesliga. His goal was an impressive milestone, because, in case Fox Sports didn’t stress it enough, he’s now scored on every Bundesliga match day.
Jadon Sancho: 7
The young Englishman continues to produce results. His goal was the result of a rather fortunate deflection, but it was a goal nonetheless.
Jacob Bruun Larsen: 7
JBL wasn’t Dortmund’s flashiest player, but he still got the job done while he was on the pitch. As I described in my match recap, he was a significant contributor to Dortmund’s first goal, even though he didn’t register a goal or an assist. He was eventually subbed off for Christian Pulisic.
Paco Alcacer: 8
The man can’t stop scoring. His goal resulted from an awful giveaway by Benjamin Pavard, but it was still a breathtaking chip that made Ron-Robert Zieler look foolish.
Maximilian Philipp: 7
Philipp finally got his goal! The proverbial monkey is off his back. Hopefully this goal proves to be a confidence-booster for Philipp. While he may have lost his starting CF role to Paco Alcacer, he’s still a quality player and should have a role to play in the coming months.
Christian Pulisic: 7
Pulisic assisted Max Philipp’s goal; considering he’s been criticized recently for his lack of production, this was good to see. He only played 25 minutes, and by the time he was on the pitch, the match was effectively over.
Mario Gotze: n/a
Mario only saw 11 minutes, and didn’t have enough time to impact the match in any way.