clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Match Ratings: Zenit St. Petersburg 1-2 Borussia Dortmund

New, comments

Who put in a game-winning performance to help BVB top their group in the Champions League?

Zenit St. Petersburg v Borussia Dortmund: Group F - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images

Top of the group with 13 points and 12 goals scored to 5 conceded — not bad! It initially looked like Borussia Dortmund’s run of poor form and bad luck was going to continue after a poor first half performance and a heavily deflected shot beat Marvin Hitz at his near post, but Lucien Favre pulled out all of the stops and sent everyone forward in search of a goal. Dortmund went on to grab an equalizer and a go-ahead goal as well, coming from two unexpected sources, the veterans Lukasz Piszczek and Axel Witsel.

It was another mixed performance with a sharp contrast between the two halves, but the main thing is that BVB’s victory secured their place at the top of the group, guaranteeing that they will be drawn against one of the runners up from one of the other groups.

Here’s our verdict on the individual efforts from yesterday’s game:

Starters

Marwin Hitz

Paul: 7

Hitz was a little unlucky to concede on a heavy deflection, but he was solid throughout the game, making some important saves in the second half.

Steve: 6.5

Nick: 6.5

I don’t put the goal Dortmund conceded on Hitz. He was in the proper position to stop it had the ball not deflected off of Hummels. Otherwise, he was very good in the second half.

Mats Hummels

Paul: 6

Steve: 7

Nick: 7

He was at fault for the goal, but after that he and the rest of the defense rebounded nicely.

Emre Can

Paul: 6

Steve: 6.5

Nick: 6.5

He was fine on both sides of the ball. I absolutely loves the fight that he brings to this team.

Lukasz Piszczek

Paul: 7

Steve: 7.5

Everybody’s favorite Polish striker (turned defender) scored a poacher’s goal to even the game.

Nick: 7

His status as a club legend continues to grow with his goal yesterday and celebration on Witsel’s winner.

Felix Passlack

Paul: 6

Steve: 5

Passlack showed us why Meunier has received so many chances despite struggling since joining BVB. Felix is just a very limited player. He worked very hard for the team yesterday, but he didn’t contribute much of note and his passing was a bit off.

Nick: 5.5

I think Passlack had an opportunity to lock down the RWB position with Meunier and now Morey out with injuries, and unfortunately he failed to make his case. He’s a tough player who works hard, but that can only go so far when he hasn’t developed parts of his game that are necessary for consistent minutes with Dortmund.

Nico Schulz

Paul: 4

Schulz struggled with the final ball yesterday, making too many mistakes when in possession. After putting in a solid performance in the previous game, this was a bit of a setback.

While I thought he struggled a little yesterday, I am giving Schulz some leeway because I felt that a lot of the mistakes came as the result of miscommunication and not being on the same page as his teammates. That’ll happen when you rarely get any minutes.

Steve: 5

Nick: 5.5

Axel Witsel

Paul: 5

Based on comments after the game, it seems as though my view of Witsel’s performance is significantly different from everybody else’s, which leaves me wondering what I missed. His goal was brilliant, and obviously made the difference for BVB, but I felt like he was otherwise poor.

But like I said, I’ve seen a number of folks that saw things differently, so it seems possible that I missed something.

Steve: 7.5

The killer blow against his old team. I really value what Witsel brings to Dortmund’s midfield with his calm and reliable passing, solid defensive work and physical presence. His goal was, to my mind, the opportunism of a veteran noticing the Zenit defense out of position.

Nick: 6.5

Game-winning goal aside, Witsel hasn’t looked like himself this year. Perhaps, like Sancho, this was a step towards the Witsel of old. He was very lively in central midfield with his distribution and defensive presence.

Jude Bellingham

Paul: 8

Bellingham was absolutely everywhere. He was brilliant yesterday. It is starting to feel like he’s putting a bit of distance between himself and the rest of the midfield.

Steve: 8

Jude Bellingham, Dortmund right back. Now that it has happened, it is just a matter of time until he makes that position his on a permanent basis. It is his destiny as an Englishman (and we really need a good right back!). Add him to that starting 11 of all right backs for England that you see on Twitter every international break.

Nick: 8

I don’t care that he’s 17 years old, Bellingham plays like grizzled veteran with a silky-soft touch in tight spaces and the drive to not let anyone come away with the ball around him. He’s been the signing of the season, no doubt about it, and I can’t wait to see what else he can do with more opportunities to start.

Julian Brandt

Paul: 4

Steve: 4.5

Julian Brandt has all of the talent in the world. It’s a shame he can’t seem to put that together with a bit of effort lately.

Nick: 4

Marco Reus

Paul: 6

Steve: 6

Damn... he was so close to scoring a great goal. On the other hand, I believe it was the first half that Passlack sent a ball in behind for Reus and Marco just stopped and seemed to glare at Passlack. He’s starting to remind me of late career Michael Owen.

Nick: 6

He played well, but he still needs to be better. Maybe age and all his injuries are finally catching up with him.

Thorgan Hazard

Paul: 7

Steve: 7

Hazard works hard for the team. He had a couple decent shots today, then moved to wing back and then full back. That last move was probably asking a bit too much and just like the last time he played defense, he appeared to get another injury.

Nick: 7

Substitutes

Youssoufa Moukoko

Paul: 7

Steve: 6

He tried to make things happen, but his touch and his timing were just a bit off.

Nick: 6

Became the youngest to ever play in a Champions League match. Otherwise, he was serviceable out there.

Gio Reyna

Paul: 6

Steve: 6.5

Gio nearly fed Moukoko his first goal and made an important clearance at the goal line in the dying minutes.

Nick: 6.5

Jadon Sancho

Paul: 6

Steve: 6.5

Nick: 6.5

Only had one giveaway that I noticed. Hopefully it’s the start of Sancho turning back into his 2019-20 form.

Dan-Axel Zagadou

Paul: 7

Made some important challenges to keep Dortmund ahead at the end.

Steve: 7

Nick: 7

Massive, massive performance by Zagadou fresh off his return from a lengthy injury.

Ansgar Knauff

N/A

Overall

Paul: 6

It was another poor first half rescued by an improvement after the break. Favre must give some very rousing team talks at half time...

It wasn’t a great performance, but it was enough to get BVB over the line. Hopefully this will help the team build some momentum and get things back on track in the coming weeks.

Steve: 7

We left it late, but got the job done. First in the group with a chance to progress in the Champions League. Our form will have to improve if that is going to happen, but I’m confident that our attackers will soon start scoring again. Just pull up some video tape of some of the games before Haaland joined. We scored goals then too!

Nick: 6.5

It was fine, they looked like they were the superior team for most of the match. It took two goals from the unlikeliest of players, and some second half heroics by Hitz, but BVB escaped Russia with all three points and at the top of Group F. Favre and the coaching staff needs to fix our attack, though, because they need to start contributing again.