Despite missing multiple key players to injury, Borussia Dortmund started the second half of the season by traveling to Leipzig and took three points from one of the best clubs in the Bundesliga. BVB were victorious thanks to players like Mario Götze and Julian Weigl, who have struggled to get consistent minutes this season, but rose to the occasion.
Here are our match ratings:
Lucien Favre: 7
Despite missing his best center back and his best attacker, Favre fielded a strong defensive side that managed to keep a clean sheet against one of the best offensive sides in the Bundesliga. The fact that Dortmund were able to counter-press so effectively is a testament to how well he’s drilled his players.
Roman Bürki: 8
Bürki started the second half of the season where he left off during the first half. He made several key saves towards the end of the game, including a one-on-one with Marcel Sabitzer.
Achraf Hakimi: 6
Hakimi made some good darting runs down the left side, and had some good moments on defense. All-in-all, though, it wasn’t the best performance from the young full back.
Julian Weigl: 7
If you take into account the fact that Weigl was playing out of his natural position as an emergency center back, then what Julian did yesterday was very impressive. He had some great moments, and his passing ability allowed him to play the role of a ball-playing CB very well.
THAT BEING SAID...
I’ve seen people say things akin to, “You’d never know Weigl wasn’t a natural center back.” Although I really like Weigl, it was plainly obvious, at least to me, that he’s not a natural center back, and that he should only play in that position insofar as he absolutely has to. He flew into several tackles that he might be able to get away with as a DM, but absolutely not as the last man back on defense. Were it not for several saves from Roman Bürki, the score easily could have been 1-1 or 2-1 for RB Leipzig.
Abdou Diallo: 7
Diallo did a good job marshaling BVB’s back line. He also had a great chance to score off a corner, but his header went wide.
Lukasz Piszczek: 7
Piszczek didn’t venture forward as much, but he was once again solid in his own end. He does lack pace, but his positioning and decision-making continue to be excellent. (This has prompted a ‘Piszczek as a sage old veteran’ aesthetic on Twitter, which I believe deserves further use.)
He may be the GOAT of wise old men tbh— Fear The Wall (@FearTheWall) January 19, 2019
Axel Witsel: 9 (MOTM)
His game-winner was a beauty, of course. Equally, important, though, was his ability to consistently shield the back line by constantly interrupting RB Leipzig’s buildup. His passing was as excellent, which we’ve just assumed to be a given at this point.
Thomas Delaney: 7
Delaney’s performance wasn’t flashy, but it was exactly what Dortmund needed to protect their patchwork back line. The match turned pretty chippy in the second half, which perfectly suited Delaney’s tenacious playing style.
Jadon Sancho: 6
Sancho had some decent moments where he dribbled by defenders, but unfortunately couldn’t create any concrete scoring chances.
Mario Götze: 7
Götze seems to have gotten a lot leaner and a lot quicker over winter break. He wasn’t nearly as behind the pace as he frequently was during the first half, and actually had some dangerous moments. He never found the back of the net, but he demonstrated clear progress.
Maximilian Philipp: 5
Philipp struggled again as a center forward. He didn’t benefit from much service and he was defended well by RB Leipzig’s two center backs, but he still didn’t do much to improve his situation.
Raphael Guerreiro: 6
Guerreiro started the match well, looking very dangerous down Dortmund’s left side, winning several one-on-one dribbles. He fell off the pace, though, and couldn’t contribute much past the 30 minute mark. He was eventually subbed off for Christian Pulisic.
Christian Pulisic: N/A
Pulisic only played for 14 minutes, and only had a handful of touches.
Paco Alcacer: N/A
Paco also had a very short cameo. While he did manage to brush the crossbar once, he didn’t have time to do much else.
Marius Wolf: N/A
Wolf didn’t have time to do much of anything either.