clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Three Questions After Dortmund’s Thrilling 2-1 Win Over Zenit Saint Petersburg

Zenit St. Petersburg v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League

Borussia Dortmund closed out the Champions League group stage in nervous, yet overall satisfying fashion with a come-from-behind 2-1 win over Zenit Saint Petersburg to win Grup F.

Let’s get to the questions.

So who do we want in the draw?

With Tuesday’s win, Dortmund top Group F and are placed in Pot 1. Thankfully, we’ll be avoiding plenty of heavyweights, but that doesn’t mean our potential opponents are pushovers.

As things stand now, there’s quite a few teams that can be paired with BVB for the Round of 16:

Atletico Madrid are putting up a legitimate title challenge in La Liga, while Porto are one of the traditional Big Three of Portugal. Barcelona are still Barcelona no matter how much they aren’t playing like Barcelona at the moment, Sevilla are a very strong side, and Atalanta have surprised a lot of people by keeping their European competition alive.

I honestly wouldn’t mind if we were paired against Barcelona. While they still have gobs of talented players like Messi, Griezmann and Dembele, they are still playing well below their standards and, honestly, have looked downright awful at times defensively. Koeman doesn’t appear to be the savior he was hoped to be, and Barca’s long-overdue rebuild looks to be a painful process that could last for a while.

Still, just because they’re suffering doesn’t mean I don’t want to pile it on. I want Bama Barcelona! Or Porto; I think they had the benefit of a very easy group and haven’t done enough to show that they are deserving of their spot in the knockout stages aside from being better than Olympiacos and Marseille.

What the hell happened to Julian Brandt?

I feel like it’s Groundhog Day whenever I see Brandt line up on the pitch. Whether he’s on the wing, at center forward, or in central midfield, it just feels like his performances have ranged from average to outright bad. I can’t recall a single thing of note he did in the win over Zenit.

I can’t tell whether this staff hasn’t developed him, he’s stagnated, or if he doesn’t want to be here anymore, because he just doesn’t look like the kind of player he was last year. 2019-20 Brandt was the kind of player who would take defenders on and was good on the ball while delivering great passes. 2020-21 Brandt? I’m not seeing that drive to attack players and enter the final third with confidence, nor am I seeing that fire he played with all of last season. He just looks lost.

And I’m not only writing this because Favre has this idea that Brandt can play as a false nine at central forward (he can’t), but he hasn’t looked great at all this season regardless of where he is played. Outside of Haaland, and maybe Rayna and Hazard, the rest of our attacking players haven’t looked great this season, so maybe he just needs a break to get his head on straight. I genuinely don’t know why Brandt has taken a nose-dive, but the problem needs to be resolved.

How about Nico Schulz, huh?

Due to injuries at the left and right wingback positions, BVB supporters’ favorite whipping boy Nico Schulz was back in the starting line-up in a very important match. And, for the most part, I thought he played fine. He had his moments where he looked unsure or not particularly effective in the attack, but he defended well and contributed going forward.

Is he going to be the player Dortmund thought they had when they signed him last season? No, probably not. Is he this completely hopeless, waste of a roster spot? No, definitely not. He’s been very serviceable as a back-up LWB, and for now that’s all Dortmund need. Especially considering that our top-line players are apparently either injury prone as hell or our physio staff is a detriment.

Let me know in the comments what questions you’ve got, or even your answers, following the Champions League win over Zenit Saint Petersburg.