What a night! What a game! In an enthralling, up-and-down showdown against Bayern Munich that saw the lead change three times, Borussia Dortmund narrowly defeated their rivals from Bavaria in a dramatic 3-2 victory that pushed BVB four points ahead of Borussia Mönchengladbach in second place, and seven points ahead of Bayern Munich in third.
Part of me just wants to give everyone a 10, but in the name of objectivity, I shall not. Here are our match ratings:
Lucien Favre: 8
Yes, Favre’s starting lineup was a bit baffling. The decision to field Julian Weigl, who has barely played throughout the season, was the first in a list of several questionable decisions. Borussia Dortmund started on the back foot, and went into halftime thoroughly outplayed and deservedly 1-0 down.
Favre clearly recognized that Weigl was struggling, and promptly replaced him with Dahoud at the half. This decision immediately improved Dortmund’s fluidity in midfield. He must have given one fiery half-time speech, because BVB came out flying, pressing much harder than they had in the first half. BVB were able to expose Bayern’s porous defense much more, and began cutting Bayern apart in transition.
He also brought in Paco Alcacer as a super sub, which again worked to devastating effect. He could have panicked and pulled Lukasz Piszczek off the pitch after his shaky first half, but he didn’t. Piszczek rewarded him with one of his best second halves in years.
All in all, Favre fully deserves his glass of red wine.
Marwin Hitz: 6
There was nothing Hitz could do on Lewandowski’s first header, as it was a free header from the six-yard box. On Bayern’s second goal, Hitz could have gotten in front of Kimmich’s cross. It wasn’t all bad, though, as he made one strong save on Franck Ribéry in the first half.
Achraf Hakimi: 7
Bayern mostly tried to attack down the right side, so Hakimi didn’t have an extremely high work load. He did a decent job containing Serge Gnabry, although the Bayern winger was able to get off a couple dangerous crosses, including the cross that set up Lewandowski’s first goal.
Manuel Akanji: 7
Akanji was solid, if unspectacular. The fact that Lewandowski won two headers in the six-yard box indicated a lack of understanding between Akanji and Zagadou, who have not had much playing time together this season.
Dan Axel Zagadou: 7
Like Akanji, Zagadou was at the center of two defensive breakdowns that led to Bayern’s goals, but was otherwise a strong defensive presence. He and Akanji ensured that Marwin Hitz wasn’t tested too much.
Lukasz Piszczek: 7
Piszczek really struggled during the first half, losing several one-on-ones against Franck Ribéry. He struggled so much that many were calling for him to be subbed off at the half. Instead, Favre kept him in, and Piszczek rewarded him greatly. While Ribéry had abused him during the first half, Piszczek turned it around and housed the Frenchman during the second half, and fired back with offensive contributions of his own. He was rewarded with an assist, with a beautiful low cross that created Marco Reus’s second goal.
Axel Witsel: 9
Another day, another brilliant performance from Witsel. He carried BVB’s midfield on his back during the first half, and unleashed his brilliance in the second half. I don’t usually put highlights in these ratings, but here are two examples of his defensive and offensive contributions:
And how about this pass to Paco Alcacer?
ALCÁCER PUTS DORTMUND AHEAD!— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 10, 2018
What a counter attack by Dortmund pic.twitter.com/BU5QMplxpr
Julian Weigl: 4
The decision to start Weigl was pretty baffling, as he hasn’t seen much time on the pitch this season, and the Weigl-Witsel pairing has struggled in the limited time it’s featured. Weigl had several poor turnovers, and generally struggled to deal with Bayern’s high press.
Marco Reus: 10 (MOTM)
Masterful. There’s a reason he wears the captain’s armband. He led Dortmund’s attack during the second half, winning and converting a penalty, and scoring on a beautiful volley. He constantly hounded Bayern’s defenders, to the point where he could have had several other goals had his finishing been on point.
Jadon Sancho: 8
Bayern did a good job containing Sancho during the first half, but the young Englishman turned on the jets in the second. He threaded a brilliant through ball to Marco Reus, which led to Marco drawing a penalty. He might not have found himself on the score sheet, but he was a constant threat on the counter attack.
Jacob Bruun Larsen: 4
JBL was mostly invisible throughout the evening. The only times I noticed him were when he committed turnovers, or when he failed to close down players he should have been marking.
Mario Gotze: 4
Like Julian Weigl, Götze was given the start despite having rarely played this season. Also like Weigl, he struggled with the pace and ferocity of the match. There were several points where heavy touches or slow runs by Götze took the bite out of Dortmund’s counters. Favre brought him out for Paco Alcacer in the 60th minute.
Mahmoud Dahoud: 8
Dahoud’s brilliance may have been lost among some flashier moments from Reus, Witsel, and Alcacer, but his introduction was one of the main catalysts of Dortmund’s turnaround. He was masterful in midfield, playing critical roles in all three BVB goals. For once, every decision he made seemed to be the right one, and he had none of his characteristically poor turnovers.
Paco Alcacer: 8
Paco Alcacer did blow one easy chance when BVB were down 2-1, but he made up for it by gloriously chipping Manuel Neuer and putting BVB up for good. Plus, he did this:
Thomas Delaney: N/A
Delaney was brought on for JBL towards the end, mostly to help BVB defend their one goal league. He won a couple aerial duels, but not much else.