I’m so happy that Borussia Dortmund won today’s match against Club Brugge the way they did. The last thing I wanted tonight was some disappointing 1-1 draw that needed tons of dissection, and would prompt controversial questions like “Will BVB play better against Bayern?” or “Does Favre deserve to be fired for this?” Instead, we got a straightforward 3-0 victory with which even the most demanding fans should be satisfied. There will be no negative narrative going into Saturday’s match against Bayern Munich at the Westfalenstadion, which in my opinion is the most we could have asked for.
Here are three brief observations from today’s match:
The Simon Mignolet I Know and Love
Tonight was not one to remember for the former Liverpool keeper. All three BVB goals were fairly soft, but Mignolet made absolute messes out of the first two. The first goal came from a routine cross from Thomas Delaney. Instead of authoritatively punching it away, he flapped haplessly at it, deflecting it straight to the feet of Thorgan Hazard, who finished the chance emphatically.
The second goal was arguably just as bad. Gio Reyna delivered a cross on a corner kick. It deflected to Axel Witsel at the far post, who headed it back across goal towards Erling Haaland. The Norwegian striker’s header was fairly soft and directed right at Mignolet’s chest, but instead of catching it, he let it deflect right back into the feet of Haaland, who poked the ball into the net.
Mignolet certainly didn’t cover himself in glory, but I’m not going to complain. It’s nice to be on the other end of some goalkeeping howlers for once.
There’s something strange going on in Dortmund, and a certain mustachioed long-shot-taking trigger-happy midfielder is at the heart of it. This now marks the third straight match where not only has Dahoud played, but he has performed exceptionally well. He bossed midfield the entire night with strong tackles and nifty through balls, but his shining moment was his secondary assist on BVB’s third goal. He picked out a supremely exquisite cross to a darting Thomas Meunier, who only had to serve a tap-in to Erling Haaland.
With about a match every three days, Lucien Favre has had to rotate heavily over the past month or so. The fact that Mahmoud Dahoud has been able to step up and play to such a high level has has been hugely beneficial. I don’t know if he’ll start against Bayern, as he played a full 90 minutes today, but with the way he is playing I could at least see him coming off the bench.
A Second Half in Cruise Control
Being three goals up and in total control of the match, Borussia Dortmund took their collective foot off the pedal in the second half, letting the match glide to its natural conclusion. Given the much more important match against Bayern Munich on Saturday, I’m more than fine with this. In fact, I kind of wish that Favre had made subs sooner; there was no reason for Haaland to play 83 minutes instead of 60, or even 45 minutes. Regardless, I’m glad he didn’t play the full 90 minutes.
Meanwhile, Marco Reus and Jude Bellingham were rotated in for ~20 minute cameos, likely just to keep them fresh for Der Klassiker. Hopefully Mats Hummels recovers from his thigh injury in time for Saturday. If he does, BVB could have close to a fully healthy and match-fit squad to take on Bayern.
What did you think of today’s match? Leave your thoughts below.