One of the greatest World Cups in recent memory is over. France are World Champions, and there’s no shortage of narratives to be taken away from what was a simply amazing tournament. That being said, with the Bundesliga 5 weeks away and preseason friendlies just around the corner, it’s time to get back into the BVB mindset. Today, we’re going to rate each BVB player based on their performances at the world cup, and evaluate who seems poised for a breakout year.
Manuel Akanji: A
Alex already devoted a full article to Akanji, so I won’t go into too much detail, but the young center back was absolutely fantastic for Switzerland. He played every minute for Switzerland during the tournament, and was a total rock on defense. His positioning, passing, and long-balls were superb. He was able to demonstrate some offensive flair as well, often shifting to left-back when Switzerland were in possession. While he had an unlucky own-goal against Sweden during the round of 16, he was almost perfect the rest of the tournament. Next season will be Akanji’s first full one with Borussia Dortmund, and he looks ready to bring defensive stability back to the BVB back line.
Roman Bürki: N/A
Roman Bürki was called up for the Swiss National Team to play backup for Yann Sommer, but he did not appear in any match.
Thomas Delaney: B+
While much of the hype surrounding Denmark was justifiably centered on Christian Eriksen, Thomas Delaney did his part in helping Denmark to the Round of 16. He’s known primarily as a destroyer/defensive #6, and showed this throughout the tournament, helping maintain Denmark’s defensive structure. His passing was decent, but I didn’t see anything spectacular in that regard. He didn’t score, but he did have a very bizarre against Croatia.
Raphael Guerreiro: C+
It’s unclear whether Raph was fully fit during the tournament. Regardless, it was far from the best that we’ve seen from the Portuguese full back, who seems to still be recovering from a botched surgery earlier in the year. He struggled defensively at times throughout the group stage, especially against Spain and Iran. While his movement in the final third was okay, his final product was not, with only 5 of his 21 crosses finding their mark (whoscored). Hopefully Raph can find his form before the season begins, because if BVB are to do well this season, he will need to contribute.
It was not all bad for Raph, though. He did have this quality assist against Uruguay in the round of 16:
Shinji Kagawa: B
Shinji only played in three matches, but he was still decent for Japan. He scored one penalty and did register one relatively mundane assist, but he also did a good job setting up scoring chances and generally looking dangerous in attack. He still has plenty to offer BVB, and if he can stay healthy, he should be able to contribute to BVB’s attack during the season.
Lukasz Pisczcek: D+
Poland as a whole were disappointing during the 2018 World Cup, and unfortunately, Lukasz Piszczek was no exception. Poland’s right side was eviscerated by Colombia, Piszczek struggled against Senegal too, and failed to help Poland make it out of the group stage. He didn’t generate much offense, although he did a good job setting up what should have been a tap-in for Arkadiusz Milik in the match against Senegal. Hopefully Lukasz can have a better showing during the Bundesliga season, because BVB don’t seem interested in buying another right back.
Marco Reus: A-
Even though Germany had arguably the most disappointing performance during the 2018 World Cup, Marco Reus still registered an excellent performance. His goal against Sweden was a deceptively difficult finish, and played a crucial part of Toni Kroos’ winner against Sweden, first drawing the foul and then setting up Kroos’ spectacular free-kick. When he came onto the pitch against Mexico he immediately became the most dynamic player on the pitch, even though he was unable to turn the match around. It’s unfortunate that the rest of Die Mannschaft couldn’t match Reus’ performances.
(Bonus) Michy Batshuayi: LOL
It doesn’t look like BVB will be purchasing Michy Batshuayi, so I won’t include him among the rest of the BVB players. I’d be remiss not to mention, however, Batshuayi’s incredibly bizarre World Cup. He generated 2.05 xG for Belgium, but completely botched several sitters, and ended up scoreless. Most notably, however, was this:
Bats was, predictably, eviscerated on Twitter for this. In typical Batshuayi fashion, he was light-hearted about it, and has been joking about it ever since.
I dont know but I deserve the Golden Post https://t.co/FJvhcV6Vzp— Michy Batshuayi (@mbatshuayi) July 14, 2018
Who do you think stood out for BVB during the World Cup? Who do you think could have been better? Leave your thoughts below.