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Match Awards: Borussia Dortmund 5-0 Union Berlin

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1. FC Nürnberg v SV Sandhausen - Second Bundesliga Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund have started the Rückrunde at a blistering speed, scoring 15 goals in just 3 games. Of those 15 goals, Alf Inge Erling Braut Håland and Jadon Sancho have contributed 10, and when you factor in assists, Håland and Sancho have contributed 12 of those 15 goals. Given this, you’d think that I would be giving all of the match awards to the nippers that have spearheaded this excellent run of form. YOU WOULD BE WRONG.

The Jim Magilton Impersonation Trophy

The Man of the Match/The MVP/The Best That Ever Lived/The GOAT

Julian Brandt — Brandt put in a brilliant all-round performance. He contributed an assist, as well as four key passes (equaling the total key passes the rest of the team produced), and he tallied the joint highest xA total (0.4, tied with Sancho). Beyond his contributions in the final third, he registered 93 touches (2nd behind Guerreiro), and he also chalked up 0.78 xGBuildup (2nd behind Guerreiro) and 0.91 xGChain (2nd behind Sancho). He was vital to Dortmund’s dominance all over the pitch.

.@JulianBrandt vs Union Berlin:

Assists: 1
Key Passes: 4
Succ. Dribbles: 2
Long Balls: 5
Duels Won: 3
Clearances: 2
Interceptions: 3
Tackles: 1
Passing Acc: 88%

Imperative. pic.twitter.com/YFN3zmf2iR

— Borussen ✍ (@BorussenEdits) February 1, 2020

But it comes as no surprise that Brandt was brilliant in possession and key to unlocking Union’s defense. Where he impressed me most was his contributions on the defensive end. He was extremely active in defense, and I thought he was making a number of really positive contributions. He is never going to be as effective as someone like Witsel or Can, but he lightens their defensive load by working hard on this phase of the game.

Jordan Henderson’s Award For Going Unnoticed and Feeling Sad

The Most Underrated but Still Very Good Performance

Raphaël Guerreiro — I don’t think Guerreiro is getting enough credit for his performance at the weekend. In the match ratings I gave him a 7, because I felt that he played well but was relatively quiet. Looking back over the numbers from the weekend, it is clear that he played really well.

He led the team in touches and xGBuildup, was among the leaders in terms of forward passes and ranked 3rd in xG, and he contributed 1 tackle and 3 interceptions. He was quietly excellent.

The Mr. Motivator Trophy

Sometimes You’re Just Not in the Mood for this Nonsense

Marco Reus — Reus had a little strop after being substituted mid-game, which drew a lot of attention to his attitude, rather than to his pretty solid performance before the substitution.

I don’t think we should make a big deal about his reaction. It’s not a great look for the captain to be throwing a wobbly, but it is good that Reus is so eager to play. Nonetheless, I think Reus needs some personal sessions with 1990s British Icon, Mr. Motivator:

Patrick Star’s ‘Doing Absolutely Nothing Longer Than Anyone Else’ Award

The Award for the Player that Could Have Taken a Seat in the Stands Without Anyone Noticing

Roman Bürki— He didn’t make a single save and he touche the ball a total of 29 times in 90 minutes. Zagadou surpassed that in under half an hour on the pitch. I honestly don’t think anyone could definitively prove he played on Saturday. I think it might have been a cardboard cutout of Bürki.

The Big Bag of Cans Welcome Gift

For the New Player with a Wonderfully Punny Name

Emre Can — It’s rare that teams make signings based purely on their meme potential, but in this era of shorter attention spans and online media, Dortmund are leading the pack with the signing of the perfectly named and incredibly beautiful Emre Can. Can I make jokes about his name with reckless abandon? Yes I Can.

For the non-British and Irish among us (so basically all of you), a bag of cans is the weapon of choice for all the weekend warriors that are feeling like getting loose and enjoying themselves with the lads. If the weather is nice, then a bag of cans is best enjoyed down the park with no shirt and no sense of shame. Just as long as you’ve got a great big bag of cans and a great big group of lads, all your needs are met. Some deep-thinkers have even written philosophical essays on the cultural significance of a big bag of cans with the lads in the park.

So what better way to welcome our new signing, but with a great big bag of cans? See you in the park.

A Great Big Bag of Cans, Preferably with All the Lads