There’s a saying that goes “a win is a win,” and that’s all that really needs to be said about Dortmund’s 2-0 win over Slavia Praha in Champions League action. Achraf Hakimi was the hero today with both goals as Dortmund aresecond in Group F with Inter Milan leading Barcelona at the time of publication.
With some of our guys out with injuries (especially Alcácer), Favre decided to play this line-up:
So… no Götze as a false nine but sliding a tired Reus up top? Sure, I guess.
Sancho nearly put the visitors on top early in the half with a low shot towards the far post that the Praha keeper just got a touch on to send it wide. Praha looked like they were up for it for all of the half as they continued to find space between the Dortmund midfield. Their best chance came in the 20’ as Lukáš Masopust received a long throughball down the throat of the defense for a 1v1 opportunity that Bürki snuffed out. A 23’ Piszczek yellow gave Praha a free kick for Nicolae Stanciu and the Romanian rifled a shot that Bürki did well to deny.
Dortmund finally broke the deadlock thanks to a wonderful individual effort by Hakimi in the 35’. Brandt found Hakimi down the right side on a counter attack, and it was all Hakimi after that as he dribbled his way into the box, around the Praha keeper, and into space where he finished expertly.
Slavia Praha came into the second half looking like the much better team as they were able to make it through our defense for quality chances. Stanislav Tacl had a big opportunity in the 52’ when he sprinted past Mats and Rapha for a look on goal that a better forward might’ve finished, but he pushed his shot into the side netting.
Dortmund finally put Slavia Praha away with a goal in the 89’, and it was Hakimi once again. Dortmund forced a Praha giveaway for a counter-attack led by Brandt. The blonde midfielder fed Hakimi down the wing with a perfectly-weighted pass in acres of space. Hakimi charged into the box and scored his second with a hard shot through the keeper’s five-hole.
Hakimi was the clear cut MOTM, and not just for his goals or other contributions to the attack. A runner-up would be Bürki for keeping any shots from finding their way into the net, and Brandt would be a close third MOTM for his two assists and solid play otherwise. The sloppiness from Dortmund continued in the 67’ when a failed clearance turned into a shot on target from distance by Petr Ševčík, but it didn’t trouble Bürki in the slightest.
I don’t know if its exhaustion from minimal rotation, the tactics not working, or not having the players to pull off what Favre wants from his team, but Dortmund look nothing like they did when they were challenging for a title last season or even the first few games of this season. I still think we can turn things around, but we’re entering a very tough stretch of the schedule and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a change at the top if results don’t favor Die Schwarzgelben.
For now, the win and the three points are all that matter, and it’s time to use this positive result to take us through the weekend and into Saturday’s fixture against Freiburg.