After poor performances against Werder Bremen in the DFB Pokal and Bayer Leverkusen in the league, Dortmund finally turned in a performance befitting a team attempting to challenge for the title against Eintracht Frankfurt. It was a relatively uneventful first half, and Dortmund went in at the half one goal up, but in the second half BVB turned up the heat, eventually finishing with a 4-0 win. In total Dortmund’s xG for the game was 1.3, while Frankfurt’s was 0, as they registered only 1 shot, and 0 on target. It was a perfect confidence-booster ahead of the PSG game on Tuesday. Here are our player ratings for the game:
Jack: After a few dangerous Frankfurt crosses within the first 20 minutes, Bürki was practically useless, as the Dortmund defense held Frankfurt to only 1 shot, which they didn’t even place on the frame of the goal. That said, Bürki was still credited with a clean sheet, which I am sure he is ecstatic about.
Jack: For me, this was the most assured and composed performance I have seen out of Zagadou this season from both a defensive and offensive standpoint. When Frankfurt went to their defensive press, Zagadou was able to dribble into midfield and facilitate the ball forward to spring attacks.
Paul: Hummels wasn’t at his best in the first half, but I’ve ultimately given him a solid rating because his passing was sublime in the second half. He kicked the move off that led to Sancho’s goal, and his lovely dinked pass over the Frankfurt defense into Hakimi eventually led to Guerreiro’s goal. His passing is vital in this 3-4-3 system.
Paul: Piszczek’s opening goal came at an important time, and allowed Dortmund to breath a sigh of relief and start to play a little more football. He was solid throughout, and showed that while he is clearly feeling his age, he still has plenty to offer this team, if not quite as regularly as in previous seasons.
Paul: Guerreiro has definitely been the main beneficiary of the switch to 3-4-3, putting in some quietly excellent performances ever since, but on Friday he was making a ton of noise. His goal was a brilliant finish from just outside the box, but beyond that he also hit the post from a freekick, led the team in progressive passes, contributed 3 key passes, was excellent in BVB’s buildup play, and made 6 successful dribbles, one of which was pivotal in creating Håland’s goal. He was also really active in defense, with 2 successful tackles and 4 interceptions. Guerreiro was the best of a number of brilliant performances.
Jack: This has to be Hakimi’s best match since the away win against Slavia Prague in the Champions League. He made himself a threat down the right side of the pitch all night and bagged two assists to prove it. He certainly could have had more, but chose to try his luck himself on two counter attacks, rifling both shots over the crossbar. The right decision to shoot? Maybe, maybe not. But what is good to see is Hakimi playing with confidence again, which was lacking towards the end of the Hinrunde.
Paul: If it wasn’t for Raphael Guerreiro’s performance, Hakimi would have been a very deserving man of the match. He chipped in with two assists, and potentially could have had more. He was Dortmund’s most involved player, with 119 touches, and the greatest number of passes. Further, he was quality in possession, producing 0.7 npxG + xA and 0.86 xGBuildup (2nd only behind Sancho). Now if only we could get him to defend...
Jack: Talk of making defensive improvement and playing a more physical brand of football is a rather cheap thing to do. We have heard the BVB camp going on and on about these team-wide issues all season long, perhaps never more so than in the past week. Not only was Emre Can the most vocal about these issues, his play against Frankfurt proved he is ready and willing to muck play up and get into physical duels. Can made two of the most beautiful chance-preventing tackles I have seen out of a Dortmund player this season, and he was a real asset in the build up play throughout the game.
Paul: Can was one of Dortmund’s best players as well and, as with Hakimi, would have been a worthy man of the match. He was extremely active in defense, making 5 tackles and 3 interceptions, and the good shift he put in created space for Witsel to make things happen in offense. The Witsel/Can pairing seemed to work really well.
Jack: Most notable for me about Witsel’s performance was his insistence to get forward and help aid BVB’s attack. With Can holding down the defensive midfield duties behind him Witsel routinely sprung forward, at times even dribbling the ball deep into the Frankfurt defense to begin an attack. It was very nice to see Axel in a more versatile role, something we may need from him with injuries to key attacking players.
Paul: Tidy work by Witsel. He picked up the assist for Sancho’s goal, with a lovely through ball into space, and he spent all night long floating into open space in the middle of the pitch. He was back to his normal, dominant displays.
Jack: Hazard has had a difficult time finding regular starts, but with injuries to Reus and Brandt he should have no shortage of them coming his way. In offense, he didn’t exactly cover himself in glory, scuffing a few chances on goal and missing an open pass to Håland for what should have been another goal. But given these mistakes, he did work extremely hard on the defensive side of the ball. More will be needed from him against top teams.
Paul: It wasn’t really Hazard’s night, but the good thing about Hazard is that even when it’s not really coming off for him, he still puts a shift in. That helps everyone else around him, even when he is struggling.
Jack: Whereas last year he rotated frequently between left and right wing, Sancho has made the left wing role his own this season. This was another brilliant performance from the young English star, providing a goal, 2 key passes, and a host of dangerous dribbles throughout.
Paul: Sancho scored a lovely goal, and had a helping hand in another, providing some excellent link-up play with Hakimi for Håland’s goal. His passing in the final third is incredible. Every pass is so precise, and so perfectly weighted, and his decision-making and timing are both excellent.
Jack: Upon first glance at the match summary one may jokingly say, ‘Ah just one goal for Håland? Must have been on off game.’ With all the attention on his goal scoring, what has gone under-appreciated about the young Norwegian is his intelligence. He frequently makes runs that free up space and create scoring chances for his teammates. Although these runs didn’t always result in goals on Friday, they were the right movement to make and are further proof of the young man’s intelligence well beyond his years.
Paul: I thought this was a bit of an off night for Håland, as his passing was a little wayward and his linkup play a little disconnected. Nonetheless, he was still lively. You can see how valuable he is in a game like this, because despite looking a little sub-par, he kept the Frankfurt defense occupied with some probing runs into space, and that allowed others to do the damage instead. All while picking up yet another goal too.
Jack: He facilitated and distributed the ball nicely but unfortunately the most memorable imprint he left on the game was sailing a shot over the cross bar from a shot taken outside the box.
Paul: Dahoud’s playing time has been limited, and sometimes he doesn’t make the most of the few opportunities he gets, but on Friday I thought he did a decent job. He was busy, made some nice passes, and even took the time to blast a shot into the atmosphere, just to keep up his reputation.
Do you agree with our ratings? Leave your thoughts below.