Dortmund started the game of with a lineup of Bürki in goal, a back line consisting of Piszczek, Akanji, Diallo, and Schmelzer, a midfield of Witsel and Wiegl, and a forward line of Wolf, Götze, Reus, and Sancho in a 4-2-3-1 shape.
Half by half summary:
First half: Boring and uneventful
Second half: Boring, uneventful, bar a really lucky Pulisic goal
One of the story lines going into the game were Götze, Weigl and Sancho all in the starting line up to accompany some lineup reshuffling to replace the injured Delaney and Alcacer, who picked up small knocks against Frankfurt on Friday.
Brugge lined up in a 3-5-2 shape, and looked to take control of the match early, attempting to spread a somewhat compact BVB side apart and exploit the middle of the park. It took until after the 10th for Dortmund to start to control possession in the game and start to work it into Brugge’s half.
Bürki played stellar, and continues his strong form from the beginning of the season. He had two or three quality saves, including one that will probably make a highlight reel at some point. His distribution was alright, but he did everything he needed to do in order for BVB to win this match. Bürki gets my man of the match award, for keeping BVB into the game (yet again) until Favre-ball could take full effect in the 85th minute.
Diallo and Akanji did well all game, having only one or two shaky moments, while Brugge forward Wesley attempted to use his superior size and strength against both of them. That aside, they did well to control the game from the back and move the ball forward throughout.
Schmelle and Piszczek did alright throughout the match, continuing with the general trend of being consistently inconsistent throughout the match. They each had their moments- defensively and offensively. They also had a couple blunders a piece, but they both played alright for greater portion of the match.
Moving into the offensive side of the pitch, it’s clear that Favre still needs some time to make everything click going forward. The combination of Weigl and Witsel was not bad. It was defensively solid, but lacked going forward. In Favre’s ideal world of having a defensive block of 5 that sits back at all times, it did its job. Witsel seemed a bit rhetorical going in possession at times, playing next to a very similar player in Weigl. Their double pivot controlled the match very well, but it lacked that bite to make something happen. Weigl seemed a bit rusty for the first 20 minutes, and then was solid for the rest of the game.
I think that Götze is a rather big, but sensitive topic, so I’ll try to keep this simple. He played very well for 20 minutes in the first half, when he was able to get in the spaces in-between Brugge’s midfield and back line. He pressed very well for that time period, and his movement was really good. As is the common theme with playing Reus up top, the pass in order to go in on goal was always lacking and nothing really clicked there. For the rest of the half, he resorted to flicking the ball on to Wolf and Reus, which was rather frustrating to watch.
Wolf is the new Castro. He’s not being used correctly, he's being blamed for his efforts, and he's honestly not that good. The idea is that play is being built through the left side of the pitch, through Reus, Sancho and Pulisic, and that Wolf will be on the opposite side of the box in order to finish (see: Sancho assists and Wolf scores against Frankfurt). But his decision making is poor, he’s not creative offensively, and it is really frustrating to watch him play without beating one defender all game in order to create something for someone else.
Ultimately, it was the subsitution of Dahoud for Weigl that brought about Pulisic’s goal, as he was able to create something from deeper, complementing Witsel in that double pivot, which we might see going forward.
What did you notice during the game that you found really interesting, from Favre or just a player in general?