Borussia Dortmund propelled themselves into second place this weekend with a narrow 1-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach. There was only one story on everyone’s mind leading up to the match:
Yes, folks, that is the pitch of a top-tier Bundesliga club. That pitch, which looks like it was used to film cavalry charges for game of thrones, was the site of a match from one of the prestigious leagues in the world. The conditions were beyond terrible, and the level of play on the pitch really showed.
Nobody could pass. Nobody could dribble. Nobody could contain the ball. It was one of those matches you’d expect to see in an early round of the DFB Cup: passes careening off target, first touches thumping the ball twenty feet. It’s no wonder that neither team could create anything resembling possession.
Due to the field conditions, the game was light on finesse and heavy on tackling. I though Gilles put it best on twitter:
This is the kind if game where we really miss guys like Bender and Großkreutz— Gilles (@gillesftw) February 18, 2018
Tackles were flying, and as a result, little offense was generated. The only moment of magic came from Marco Reus, who stamped his return to the Bundesliga in style:
It was a rare moment of precision in an otherwise haphazard match.
Man of the Match: Roman Bürki
For some reason, Roman Bürki, who has struggled so mightily throughout the season, decided to crank it into god-mode today. He made several key saves: he saved a goal one-on-one against Lars Stindl in the first half, and robbed Stindl again in the 54th minute with this sprawling save:
This was by far Bürki’s best match of the season. Dortmund’s defense continued to look shaky, but whenever they messed up, Bürki was there. He was the biggest reason the match ended 1-0. It was a well-deserved clean sheet.
- Manuel Akanji and Sokratis were both beasts tonight. While neither was perfect, they both made tackles at key points, and Sokratis stopped a goal with a goal-line clearance in the final minutes of the match.
- Schürrle, Götze, and Reus were all phenomenal, especially in the first half. There were several sequences of touches between them that brought me back to the glory days of Klopp’s BVB and the 2014 German National Team.
- It was a quiet match for Batshuayi, which is more or less understandable. The pitch made it almost impossible for him to receive quality service.
- Marco Reus survived without an injury. That’s good, because with all the crevices in the pitch, he was a rolled ankle just waiting to happen.
What did you think of the match? Who impressed, and who didn’t? Leave your thoughts below.