Borussia Dortmund went in to yesterday’s game on a great run of form, and facing an opponent that had failed to win in their last 18 league games. For the most part, BVB looked more like a team that should be winning these games than their opponents, FC Cologne. Yet it was Cologne that came away with all three points. I find losses like these harder to stomach than any other kind. BVB were the better team, sure, but they didn’t play well. They were sloppy defensively and lackluster offensively. They deserved to win on paper, but they also got exactly what was coming to them. It’s just an annoying performance and an annoying result. Here’s what we thought of the players responsible for inflicting this irritation upon us:
Burki couldn’t do anything on the first goal, but he arguably should’ve done better with the second once it was flicked on. Other than that, he didn’t have a whole lot to do on the day, other than nearly provide a hockey assist in second half stoppage time.
I thought Akanji was one of the few good players yesterday, even though he was partially to blame for the first goal. He did a good job making up for it.
Man of the match, in my opinion, but a lot of that was cleaning up mistakes from others. Almost got an assist in second half stoppage time to tie the match.
MOTM. I’ve been high on Akanji since he was signed and, aside from that dip in form last season, he has been as good as advertised for BVB.
You could make an argument that Hummels was to blame for both conceded goals. Whether it was a lack of communication or teammates being out of position is unclear, but if he intercepts either of the flicks to the back post, the goals perhaps don’t happen.
Strayed just offside on what would’ve otherwise been the equalizing goal in the first half and forced the best save of the match out of Timo Horn late.
He stunk yesterday. He ducked out of the way on the first set-piece goal and he was offside for the first-half equalizer. He was again in a bad spot for the second goal, frozen in place as Wolf headed it through. It was nice to see him be active in the attack during the second half, but that doesn’t really make up for his defensive lapses.
Generally speaking there has been a clear difference between Meunier the right back and Meunier the right wingback. Yesterday we got a bit of both, despite him playing at right back. He didn’t have a great game.
Look, I’m probably one of Meunier’s biggest defenders because in my opinion, a lot of the criticism he gets is poorly placed. Like Akanji last season, I feel like some BVB fans are using him as a crutch to easily explain why things go wrong, when the actual answer is more complex.
That being said, for someone who’s best position is right back in a back 4, Meunier didn’t play like it yesterday. Partially to blame for the opener, the fact that he had to come off early due to injury didn’t help, which now puts Dortmund in a bit of a sticky situation in terms of depth at the fullback position.
I’m #done with Meunier. He’s definitely not a right wingback, but do we even know if he’s a right back? His crossing was very poor, a constant throughout the season, and his defensive positioning left a LOT to be desired.
Passlack looked like someone who hadn’t played significant minutes in a while at a position he’s not ideally suited for. He tried, but the drop-off between in performance between him and Guerreiro was pretty obvious from the first kick.
Felix Passlack is more suited to playing on the right, which is why he looked poor on the left.
The midfield combination of Witsel & Can did not work yesterday, arguably for similar reasons that the Witsel & Delaney pairing did not in previous seasons. Dortmund badly needed some creativity in central midfield, the kind that guys like Jude Bellingham or Mahmoud Dahoud have provided this season, but neither saw the pitch on Saturday. This was arguably the biggest missed opportunity of the match.
I actually liked Can and his willingness to go forward and provide that spark in the attack. His forward adventures often led to him getting caught out of defensive positioning, so there were some cons to his pros.
I thought Witsel was one of BVB’s worst players. Probably the worst. I think that is partly down to Favre’s decision to play such a passive pivot against a team like Cologne, but there’s no shying away from the fact that Witsel put in arguably his worst performance in a Dortmund shirt.
Anyone remember Witsel doing anything positive out there? No? Ok, me neither.
He was fine, a little below average. We’re reaching the point where these kinds of performances need to be better from Reus.
After having a really good game in the week, Sancho was pretty lackluster yesterday. He had a couple flashes, but we’ve come to expect so much more from him. Unfortunately he’s struggling to reach those heights so far this season.
I thought Sancho played better than others might. Nearly opened the scoring early with a far corner effort that caromed off the bar. At times he tried to do too much on his own, but when you’re not getting the support you need from either the full backs or central midfielders, you have to try something to get your side back into the match.
Oof, that was a very poor game from Sancho. Aside from his first half shot that glanced off the crossbar, I don’t recall him doing much of anything aside from poor giveaways and failed moves to get into space.
By far the weakest of the 4 attackers, he did little to influence the game and was not a threat going forward.
He was invisible. I don’t recall a single thing he did that made him stand out from the others. He also got bodied by Wolf for the header on both goals.
A striker’s life can suck when they’re not getting service, but when they do, they need to convert. Håland didn’t yesterday.
Reyna popped up in spots, providing the assist on Hazard’s goal, but ultimately couldn’t provide the spark that Dortmund needed to pull even.
He had a nice assist right after subbing in.
This guy has a bright future ahead of him.
Brought on for the ineffective Brandt, Moukoko almost made an immediate impact, putting a good chance on the break just wide.
Considering that he’s barely a week past his 16th birthday, the temptation to play Moukoko more will be there given his potential, but Dortmund will need to be careful that the hype and expectations around him do not end up burying this young man.
I was really impressed with what Moukoko was able to do with more minutes. His shot right after coming on the field was a great example of his ability to hold off defender and put himself in a position to score. He also got the secondary assist on Hazard’s goal with showing solid hold-up ability.
I was tempted to give BVB a 5, because I thought they were pretty dominant in the second half, and with a little more luck they would have got something from this game, but I ended up giving them a 4 because conceding two very silly goals and making the same mistakes in the process really annoyed me.
Considering that even with their ineffective play, Dortmund were still arguably the better team on the day, this should be regarded as a missed opportunity.
Giving up one goal on a flicked header sucks. Giving up two on practically the same play is stupid.
We lost to a team that hadn’t won a game in 18 matches. Enough said.