For the second time in a week, Borussia Dortmund took on an opponent from Berlin. This time, it was 2. Bundesliga side FC Union Berlin, who, like Hertha did earlier in the week, managed to hold BVB to a 2-2 draw after 90 minutes. In the end it was Dortmund who prevailed, although it was much more difficult than it perhaps should have been. Here are our individual match ratings:
Lucien Favre: 7
As could be expected against an inferior opponent, Favre basically fielded the Dortmund B squad. With the exception of Abdou Diallo and Achraf Hakimi, none of BVB’s signature Starting XI were on the pitch at kickoff. As the match went on, Favre gradually subbed on several key players, although Union Berlin generally held their own through the first 90 minutes. During extra time, BVB showed their true quality, and managed to grab a match winning penalty.
Marvin Hitz: 4
For a while, Hitz was actually doing okay. He made some nice saves, although Berlin’s first goal was a bit soft. Then, with BVB up 2-1 and with the match winding down, he decided to hurl the ball down the pitch right at a Berlin player, who headed the ball down to an open teammate, who set up the match-tying goal. It was a pretty bad moment from Hitz, who did little to make a case for him starting over Roman Bürki.
Achraf Hakimi: 5
The highlight of Hakimi’s night was when he was booked for a pretty flagrant dive. He didn’t do much to create any offensive chances either.
Abdou Diallo: N/A
Diallo had to be subbed off after 14 minutes because of a groin injury. Thankfully, it seems as if he will only be out for several more days.
Dan-Axel Zagadou: 6
Zagadou had a decent bounce-back performance from his shocker against Hertha last weekend. He was calm and composed on the ball, won several aerial duels, and almost connected on a header in the 63rd minute.
Omer Toprak: 5
Considering Toprak was coming off of a long-term injury and hasn’t featured for BVB in ages, it was understandable that he was a bit rusty. He wasn’t directly at fault for either of Hertha’s goals, so his performance was nothing too bad.
Julian Weigl: 6
Although Weigl has lost his starting spot to Axel Witsel, he was given the captaincy. He had a solid, if unremarkable evening in the holding midfielder role, generally doing a decent job distributing the ball.
Mahmoud Dahoud: 7
When Dahoud isn’t blasting shots from outside the box into the stands, he actually has some decent end product. In the 40th minute, he sent a peach of a cross into the box that set up Dortmund’s first goal. He made some typical boneheaded turnovers, but other than that he was a positive attacking force. He was subbed off for Axel Witsel in the 86th minute.
Christian Pulisic: 8 (MOTM)
The young American was without a doubt Dortmund’s most effective player, running at Berlin’s defenders with tenacity, and making much better decisions than he has in recent weeks. He played a key role in all three BVB goals, scoring the first, assisting the second, and drawing a penalty on the third.
Shinji Kagawa: 6
Shinji was much more quiet than usual, although he almost scored in the 40th minute with a strong header from Dahoud’s cross. Although Gikiewicz managed to save it, Pulisic was there to put in the rebound. Other than this, looked off the pace throughout the match, which could also be a result of rust.
Marius Wolf: 5
Wolf again failed to generate much in terms of... well, anything really. The difference in attacking quality between him and someone like Jadon Sancho, Christian Pulisic, or even Raphael Guerreiro is striking.
Max Philipp: 7
This was arguably Philipp’s best performance of the season. His goal was superb: it was a laser of a first-touch shot from a difficult angle, that came off of a well-timed run. He almost notched another moments later, with another cannon of a shot that forced a difficult save from Berlin’s keeper.
Raphael Guerreiro: 6
Guerreiro was back in his old left-back role, coming on for the injured Abdou Diallo early in the match. Defensively he was solid, and he did create several shots on goal, although nothing ever came of them.
Marco Reus: 7
In a perfect world, Reus would have spent the duration of the match recuperating on the bench. Instead, he had to play a bit longer than he probably expected. He ultimately scored BVB’s match winner on a well-taken penalty.
Axel Witsel: 7
Watching him assert himself on a match is like watching a master craftsman do his work. If you want to see a textbook performance from a holding midfielder, go watch Witsel during the lead up to Christian Pulisic drawing his penalty. Witsel allows the play to flow seamlessly down and across the pitch.
Jadon Sancho: 6
Sancho was brought on in extra time to use his pace and directness to break apart Berlin’s defenders. He wasn’t as threatening as he has been in recent performances, failing to create many offensive chances.