Borussia Dortmund’s lead at the top of the table has slipped to five points. In moment of abject capitulation, BVB let a 3-0 lead slip away in the final fifteen minutes against TSG Hoffenheim.
Here are our match ratings:
Lucien Favre: 6
There’s probably going to be a rush to blame this defeat on Lucien Favre. While I think that some of the decisions he made could be questioned, I hesitate to place the blame on him. Firstly, we shouldn’t forget that the first half was one of the best that we’ve seen from Dortmund all season. Secondly, If you look at the three goals that Hoffenheim scored, they weren’t results of tactical ineptitude, but breakdowns that resulted from the players’ own mistakes.
In hindsight we can criticize the decision to bring on Paco when the score was 3-0, instead of making a defensive substitution. However, at the moment, it wasn’t nearly as illogical as we see it now. Hoffenheim didn’t look too threatening, and Paco is in a deep slump, so a goal could have easily helped boost his confidence.
He also started the best squad that he could. Delaney was unavailable because of his suspension. Manuel Akanji and Dan Axel Zagadou, two of BVB’s best center backs, were hurt. Marco Reus, Dortmund’s best attacker, was also hurt. Despite this, BVB looked brilliant during the first half, and scored an incredible team goal in the second half.
It’s also worth considering that many BVB players were on the pitch for 120 minutes against Werder Bremen on Wednesday, so it’s not inconceivable that they were simply exhausted in the final 15 minutes.
Overall, while it definitely stinks that BVB blew a 3-0 lead, it’s now in the past. Dortmund still have a five point lead over Bayern. There’s also a crucial Champions League fixture against Tottenham this Wednesday, so BVB will really need to let this one go.
Roman Bürki: 7
Even though he let in three goals, Bürki was overall pretty good for BVB. The only goal where I think he could have done better was Hoffenheim’s first goal. He had no chance on the other two. When the score was still 3-0, he made two impressive saves on Joe Linton and Pavel Kaderabek.
Achraf Hakimi: 5
Along with Diallo, Hakimi was one of Dortmund’s weakest defenders of the day. He struggled to deal with the strength of Joe Linton and Ishak Belfodil, and got absolutely flattened by Kasarabek on the Czech forward’s goal.
Abdou Diallo: 5
Diallo has been one of Dortmund’s brightest young players this season, but he really could have been much better. His botched clearance on Hoffenheim’s first goal was inexcusable.
Julian Weigl: 7
Despite Dortmund’s capitulation at the back, Weigl was surprisingly solid. He wasn’t directly responsible for any of Hoffenheim’s goals, his passing was consistent, and he didn’t commit any grave errors.
Lukasz Piszczek: 7
Piszczek was also surprisingly solid. He assisted Sancho’s goal, so his offensive contribution was on point again. His positioning was pretty good, and he was solid when called upon on defense.
Axel Witsel: 6
Axel Witsel’s pass completion rate was 93%, which is actually pretty low by his standards, but it’s still above average. He helped create Dortmund’s second goal with a silky through ball to Jadon Sancho. Unfortunately he did a rather poor job shielding Dortmund’s weakened back line.
Mahmoud Dahoud: 6
Dahoud was brilliant during the first half. He was an essential part of Dortmund’s buildup, helping the ball move forward and providing a creative outlet that Thomas Delaney hasn’t been able to match. Unfortunately, when Hoffenheim came alive during the second half, Dahoud couldn’t replicate the defensive spine that Delaney usually adds. I expect Delaney to start against Spurs.
Maximillian Philipp: 6
Philipp was probably Dortmund’s least effective forward during his time on the pitch. He had a couple shots, but other than that, he didn’t contribute much. He wasn’t on the pitch for any of Hoffenheim’s goals, so at least he can’t be blamed for that.
Jadon Sancho: 9
Sancho was the best player on the pitch for much of the match, and showed why he’s arguably the best teenager in the world. He ripped Hoffenheim apart with ease. His first goal was an exquisite finish. His powerful shot forced Baumann to shove the ball into the path of Mario Götze for his goal. Finally, his spectacular back-heel helped set up Raphael Guerreiro’s goal. He could have had a second in the 74th minute, but his shot hit the post.
I’ve seen people commenting here that Jadon Sancho bears some of the blame for Dortmund’s defensive collapse. I’m sorry, but that’s just ridiculous. Yes, he gave away a free kick that led to Hoffenheim’s equalizer. Was it an unnecessary foul? Yes. Does this mean Sancho deserves blame for the goal? No. It wasn’t in a particularly dangerous position, and to that point Dortmund had only let up one goal from a set piece throughout the entire season. BVB should be able to defend set pieces, end of story.
Mario Götze: 8
Götze’s production continues to gain traction. He was in an excellent position to tap in the rebound from Sancho’s shot, and he collected Sancho’s back-heel to feed Raphael Guerreiro’s goal. Behind Sancho, he was Dortmund’s best player on the pitch.
Raphael Guerreiro: 7
He finished his one big chance of the day, and had a couple other shots from outside the box. Guerreiro has reallly solidified his spot in the starting XI.
Paco Alcacer: 5
Paco had one chance that could presumably have put the game away, but unfortunately his shot went wide. He needs to get scoring again if BVB are going to win the title.
Omer Toprak: N/A
Toprak came on in the 85th minute, and Hoffenheim equalized off a set piece two minutes later. While this is appears to be circumstantial evidence against him, upon reviewing Hoffenheim’s third goal, Toprak was marking someone else at the back post, and thus wasn’t in a position where he was required to make a play on the ball.
Marius Wolf: N/A
Wolf came on in the final minute of stoppage time (side note: why???), and I don’t think he ever actually had a touch.
Do you agree with my ratings? On a scale of 1-10, how much is the sky falling? Leave your thoughts below.