With their win yesterday, Borussia Dortmund put another 3 points on the board to stay level with Bayern Munich at the top of the table, trailing only by goal difference, and to stay 2 points ahead of RB Leipzig, who lost 1-0 to Borussia Monchengladbach yesterday. After 6 games, we are starting to see a top 5 forming, with Bayern, Dortmund, Leipzig, Leverkusen, and Gladbach, gradually creating distance between them and the rest of the league.
For BVB, it is most important to keep up with Bayern. Bayern don’t make a lot of mistakes, so Dortmund have to be there to capitalize whenever they do. As has been discussed at length in recent weeks, beating teams like Arminia Bielefeld is important. Dortmund looked comfortable, and the win felt routine. They just need to make a habit of these kind of victories. Here are our player ratings from yesterday’s game:
Maybe Burki will never have to make a save again?
Akanji continues to be a stabilizing force on Dortmund’s back-end. His aggressive upfield tackling, great distribution, and intelligent reads have shut down opposing attackers in style. Bielefield had to sit deep yesterday to avoid Dortmund’s counters, but on the few chances they did try to create, Manny continued his stifling form.
The first half was one of those team performances where, as a whole, it was pretty good, but there were few standout individual displays. Hummels was one of Dortmund’s better players in the first half. He was solid in defense, though he didn’t have much that much work to do. Offensively, meanwhile, he was brilliant in the buildup, and even delivered a beautiful cross that, had it been a touch lower, Sancho might have converted to put Dortmund ahead.
And then the second half came, and Hummels scored both goals to help Dortmund to victory. He was brilliant.
I saw quite a few complaints about Meunier’s performance yesterday. I felt like I must be missing something. He didn’t have an incredible game, but I think he did pretty well. He was busy up and down the right flank, was heavily involved in Dortmund’s offense throughout the game, and even provided the assist for Hummels’s first goal. He has looked infinitely better since switching to the back four.
Passlack had a comparatively quiet game in comparison to some of his other performances, but quiet is certainly acceptable. He made smart passes, didn’t over commit on his reads, and made good runs along the left flank.
I liked the physicality that Delaney brought to yesterday’s game. He is the most limited of our midfielders, but sometimes he is exactly the kind of player that this team needs. He disrupted Bielefeld whenever they began to get in to the game, and his efforts freed up Bellingham to roam a little more.
Delaney was fine. I think his best attribute is being a defensive safety valve for his teammates because his distribution still lacks a bit of finesse. He did have a comedic near-goal that deflected off of an opposing defender and hit the post. Other than that, the typical bearish tackles and associated yellow card we’ve come to expect with Thomas Delaney Szn.
For anyone that still had doubts about how incredibly talented Bellingham is, yesterday’s performance should have addressed them. Bellingham put in a complete box-to-box display. He touched the ball more than anyone else on the pitch, contributed to BVB’s defensive efforts every time the team lost the ball, and was vital in transition. I think that was his best game so far for Dortmund, and there’s so much more to come.
Jude was everywhere on the pitch, creating offensive routes and tracking back to harass opposing ballcarriers as need be. Though he didn’t land on the scoresheet, Bellingham was an absolute force in transition against Bielefield. This was probably one of his most complete matches in a Dortmund shirt. At the tender age of 17, ridiculous things are in store for Jude.
Sancho has been receiving some criticism as of late, some of which might be warranted. I think a lot of folks tend to miss what Jadon is up to, though. While Sancho isn’t putting up video game numbers like he used to, defenders are aggressively marking him en masse. This is opening space for his teammates in other areas, and if Dortmund’s distribution speeds up, should lead to more team goals. He was engaged heavily against Bielefeld’s defenders yesterday, even though space was at a bit of a premium.
Brandt continues to try stuff, even though some of it isn’t working out that well. He wasn’t bad yesterday, but did miss a clear shot attempt he needed to take. He had another shot that would have been a goal, were it not for Ortega’s sterling save.
The game played out in a similar fashion to the last few Dortmund matches, with Dortmund never really feeling like they were in danger, but taking a little while to break down their opponent. In previous games, Dortmund have looked comfortable, but not to the point that victory was never in doubt. Yesterday, it felt inevitable. I’m just not sure whether we should be giving credit to BVB for that, or if it was because Bielefeld simply weren’t up to the task of posing a threat.
What do you guys think? Who was your man of the match? How would you rate the individual performances?