At the announcement of the lineups, neither fanbase was particularly happy, as Rodri sat on the bench for Atletico, and the combination of Götze and Reus was proposed upfront.
Lars Pollmann, a recognized journalist of most things BVB, said this about the impending lineup:
If Favre sticks Götze up front I riot— Lars Pollmann (@LarsPollmann) October 24, 2018
During the 25 minutes of the match, it was mostly a snooze fest, as Simeone and Favre both lined up their teams to play physically, intent on not letting the opposition beat them. Despite that, both sides managed to get one or two chances a piece, but only with defenders’ interference.
What helped the match pick up was Favre’s substitution of Dahoud for Delaney, in the 35th minute, who picked up a knock to his foot. While Delaney’s presence did help solidify the back line, Dahoud’s contributions offensively helped Dortmund progress the ball forward. Because Atletico was so concerned about marking Reus and Götze’s runs between the lines, Simeone sat deep with two defensive midfielders, who tried to limit their influence. With the addition of Dahoud, Dortmund were able to effectively use their possession in the midfield and push Madrid back into their own 18 yard box for an extended period of time in the first half, giving BVB a sense of control for the first time in the match.
By pushing Madrid’s midfield into their own 18, Witsel’s goal was set up in the 38th minute, as he blasted a low shot off of Lucas Hernandez’s leg into the net. Meanwhile, Oblak stood and watched the ball bounce in, unable to do anything from the deflection.
Following that, Zagadou headed an excellent chance from a corner wide. And while he could have done better on that chance, BVB seemed pretty content to sit on a 1:0 lead going into half-time in-front of their supporters. One got the sense that Favre was more than content to take shots in pressure, in the face of defenders, and see if one would dribble into the net, rather than Simeone’s men play in a style that would suit them the most.
A common theme of the first half was questionable refereeing, as Anthony Taylor managed to book Diallo early, but only gave Thomas Partley after his third offense. On top of that, there was a shout for giving Thomas Lemar a red card, after a high boot to Lukasz Piszczek’s face.
Entering the second half, Simeone made the change of substituting Rodri for Thomas Partley, as the away side were chasing a goal. Early on, Rodri’s presence was felt, as BVB were pinned deep into their own half, almost playing a 4-4-2. As a result, Atletico looked primed to grab a goal, with Saul curling an effort off of the far corner of where the post and crossbar meet, as Bürki was left scrambling to that side of his net.
The game mostly stayed like that until Guerrero came in for Jacob Bruun Larsen in the 63rd minute, which opened game up. Guerrero’s ability to drift inside and create for others meant that Favre was able to open up the left side oof the pitch for Hakimi to run down, all while overloading the center of the pitch with Guerrero.
Following Saul’s substitution for Correa in the 70th minute, the game really started to open up for BVB to exploit. All of that paid dividends in the 73rd minute, as Guerrero scored off of a cutback from Hakimi into the box, coming from some fantastic play in the midfield, as four Madrid players were left standing after being easily bypassed.
Despite the lead, the opponent failed to give up, as Correa hit the woodwork mere minutes later. Fortunately, Bürki redirected his shot into the post with his fingertips, saving Dortmund’s clean sheet with an incredible reaction save.
After Sancho’s substitution for Pulisic in the 79th minute, Atletico somewhat capitulated. A combination of frustration and tactical unbalance from chasing goals all second half brought about a crop of goals and yellow cards.
First came Sancho’s goal. A shout for offside was there, but it would not have made a difference anyway, with the score being 2:0 already in the 82nd minute. Götze played an amazing through ball with the outside of his foot into Hakimi at the edge of the box, and he squared it to Sancho for the cool finish.
After that, Guerrero pounced on a poor ball by Filipe Luis, across the face of his own goal, and finished it into the bottom right corner. The goal came from Luis intercepting Reus’s ball for Götze, who tried to make a run to the corner, but Luis’s ball was very poor and was played in-between three reactionary Atletico defenders, while Guerrero spotted Luis’s mistake immediately.
Before, in-between, and after the goals by Guerrero and Sancho, tensions starting to heat up on the pitch, with Götze staring down Juanfran, and Correa and Zagadou letting words fly towards the end too.
All in all, a classy result, as Dortmund’s midfield and backline were able to soak up pressure for extended parts of the game and exposed Madrid’s resulting weaknesses. A tactical masterclass by Favre, and while the inclusion of Götze as a forward in the lineup was questionable, his playmaking and pressing were a valued contribution during the game.
A cool statistic that was found after the match from Opta’s twitter page.
In 12 competitive matches, BVB has 16 goals from substitutes.
And while Favre might be slightly pragmatic, safe, or even just flat up wrong about his starting lineups, his substitutes perform.
A couple other cool tidbits: Reus had more tackles in the first half than the entire Atletico Madrid back line, Witsel completed 44/45 passes in the first half, and Jadon Sancho setting history this season.
Jadon Sancho is the first player born in 2000 or later to score a goal in the UEFA Champions League.— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) October 24, 2018
On top of that, Statman Dave had an amazing dig to Hakimi’s parent club on twitter:
Hakimi’s game by numbers vs. Atlético:— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) October 24, 2018
4 chances created
6 ball recoveries
58 passes completed
Real Madrid could do with a FB like him... ♂️ ♂️ ♂️ pic.twitter.com/OZUzCEVYhy
Hakimi is the only other player to have a hat trick in assists other than Jordi Alba this season in the Champions League.
What a game!!!!
What are your thoughts on the high flying side in black and yellow, or the performance in general?