Dortmund continued their impressive recent form, in particular their ability to turn it on in the second half, with a 3-0 win against Monaco on Champions League Match Day 2.
Entering the game, there were a couple of things to note in Favre’s lineup. Most prominently, Christian Pulisic was nowhere to be found in the starting eleven or on the bench, and a short time after it was announced by the team he had suffered a calf muscle tear. It is still unclear as to the extent of the injury. A tear sounds severe, but the team was rather casual about the news so hopefully they will clarify in the next day or so.
The inclusion of Marius Wolf was also interesting to see. Somehow he managed to sneak his way back into the lineup when he has yet to show any signs of deserving a spot. Meanwhile, Bruun Larsen sat on the bench to start.
Paco Alcacer’s inclusion in the starting lineup marked his first start for Dortmund in his third game played. It was a welcome sight to see a natural striker start up front for the first time this season.
The game was back and forth the entire first half.
For Dortmund, Marius Wolf continued to show why he shouldn’t be playing. He had two ridiculous long distance efforts on goal that went well over the bar. To be fair to him, he did have the best chance for BVB of the half that required a great bottom corner save from keeper Diego Benaglio.
Roman Burki made a great diving save from a Tielemans shot, and the defense held relatively firm. They were beat on a couple through balls, but none that amounted to great chances from Monaco. At one point Moussa Sylla appeared to break free, and immediately four yellow jerseys swarmed him and the ball was cleared. This team has been very consistent in their defending and always seem to recover quickly and confidently when they get beat. Piszczek did struggle some and certainly does not seem like the better option at this point when compared to Hakimi.
At one point, a great combination between Delaney and Reus led to an Alcacer shot just wide. It was one of the few chances of the half for Dortmund outside of Wolf’s near goal.
Tielemans and Golovin were very impressive in the first half for Monaco. They were consistently putting pressure on the Dortmund defense with their through balls. As mentioned, Tielemans had a great shot from just outside the box saved in the top corner by Burki.
Benaglio had to be subbed off before the end of the first half due to injury, and Croatian hero Danijel Subasic replaced him in net.
Marius Wolf was subbed off at halftime, and Jacob Bruun Larsen came on in his place. It was a strange decision to start Wolf, but perhaps Favre wanted to ensure he had a strong spark off the bench because Bruun Larsen immediately made an impact on the game with a goal in the 51st minute.
A strong effort from Witsel to win the ball back in the corner kept possession. The ball found its way to Jadon Sancho just outside the box and he played a great pass through to Bruun Larsen who caught the defense napping. With just the keeper in front of him, he put it in the back of the net, and Dortmund wouldn’t look back.
The momentum fully shifted in the favor of the home team, and they really began to put the pressure on Monaco. A counter attack led to a near Alcacer breakaway if not for an incredible recovery from Monaco’s Djibril Sidibe.
At this point Sancho and Reus really started to heat up. They were consistently the best two players on the field, and seem to have great chemistry playing together. Both had great chances in the second half go over the bar, and Reus was able to draw a penalty kick after burning one defender and getting tripped in the box by another. Alcacer proceeded to take the penalty for himself and belt his shot into the crossbar.
He quickly made up for his mistake with a goal in the 72nd minute. He forced the keeper to commit, made a move to the side and crushed the ball past two defenders standing in net. He had an up and down game, but it is certainly nice to have a striker. Dortmund really need to find an acceptable backup for the position this winter.
To put the icing on the cake, in the 92nd minute Bruun Larsen made a move to get himself open and passed a ball across the mouth of the goal where Reus was waiting on the other side to complete the 3-0 win.
- Sancho left the game with an injury, but it appeared to just be cramps and he should be fine
- Burki is quietly having a great season, it was not long ago when Hitz was considered a legitimate option to replace him, but he has quieted any doubts
- Atletico Madrid pulled away from Brugge in the second half, winning 3-1, but Dortmund leads the group on goal differential
- In the past three games Dortmund has scored 12 goals in the second half, and 2 in the first half
- In the Champions League, Dortmund play Atletico Madrid on Oct. 24, meanwhile they return to Bundesliga action against Augsburg this Saturday at 3:30
What impressed you the most with this Dortmund performance? Who was your man of the match?