Borussia Dortmund dominated the first half of yesterday’s match against Mainz 05, but couldn’t beat goalkeeper Robin Zentner, who finished the game with six saves. In the second half, BVB didn’t have the same intensity and were soon made to regret their missed chances after a wondergoal by Mainz wingback Levin Öztunali. Despite upping the tempo again, and earning a chance to win the game from the penalty spot, Dortmund lacked precision throughout the second half and were forced to settle for a point.
Here is how we rated the individual performances from the match:
Öztunali’s goal was incredible, but Burki should have done better on it. He was also saved by the woodwork twice.
Burki was nothing out of the ordinary today. He could have helped more to organize the defense when things got chaotic toward the game’s end, but Öztunali’s goal was probably always out of his reach.
Hummels was solid except for a single rash moment. He stepped forward too aggressively in the buildup to Öztunali’s goal and was beaten. He did well to recover, but not in time to prevent the shot.
It would normally be a good game when there is little to say about Hummels’s performance, but unfortunately despite a solid shift from the German, the team in front of him could not pull into the lead. At the end of the game he coped well with the added pressure to keep Dortmund’s chances alive, and was vocal in trying to focus the attackers when turnovers were increasing.
Zagadou didn’t have a lot to do in the first half, and was generally solid. After missing most of the season with injury, being forced off in the first half is a huge disappointment.
Man of the Match for Borussia Dortmund, Meunier scored a goal and earned a penalty. He also created a nice goal in the first minutes that was called back as offsides. He did well in possession and was solid in defense.
It felt like Meunier arrived today. His link up play with Sancho was massively improved and his intense work rate kept the pressure piled on Mainz in the first half. His contributions in the second half came at a time when the team looked lost,
Rapha combined well on the left side with Reus and Brandt today, but it rarely came to anything. He was lively for sure, but not incisive enough to change the course of the game as we have become accustomed to.
Bellingham came back from injury like he never left. He was confident and impactful both going forward and in defense, and his absence in the 2nd half had a clear impact on the game. He earned at least 1 goal but his finishing let him down.
Dangerous and aggressive throughout, Reus will nevertheless be forced to take a lot of the blame for this result. He squandered six shots, including one from the spot that fooled Zentner but missed the target.
Reus’s comments after the game say it all. He knows what he did, and he knows what to do better. He needs to keep his chin up and improve for the next game.
Starting in place of Reyna, Brandt looked lively and creative in the first half. It seemed like he had perhaps shaken off his recent malaise and would stake a claim to more time. But in the second half, he all but disappeared.
Agree with Steve. Just when it seemed like Brandt was starting to find some rhythm, he disappeared in the second half as he has done throughout the season. A better second half from the team may have helped Brandt continue to find his feet, but as ideas dried up, so did his influence.
Like Brandt, Sancho started off well, creating numerous chances. But by the end of the game, Sancho seemed like he was losing the ball every time it went to him. His stats were actually pretty good, with successful dribbles and key passes, but all I can remember are the final minutes.
Sancho’s final 10 minutes on the pitch were very hard to watch. Even Thomas Meunier looked reluctant to pass to him and for good reason; it was almost a guaranteed turnover.
After his early look that was called back for offsides, Erling Haaland went quiet for much of the game. Haaland will need to work on his impact when he cannot run in behind to give the team more support against defensive opponents. In return, the team needs to get him better service in the box.
When Akanji found himself with the ball at his feet after a scramble in Dortmund’s own box, he turned the ball right into the opposition. His spatial awareness in this situation was VERY suspect, but besides this instance, his passing was solid and he helped Hummels prevent further attempts on the Dortmund goal.
With Haaland being marked out of the game, Terzic introduced Moukoko to try and make some space. Moukoko had a few bright moments when he was able to get on the ball, but wasn’t able to physically battle the big center defenders.
Moukoko’s introduction into this game was a bit unfair in the way it came. In his first appearance back from a short injury layoff, he was thrust into a newly losing situation and as a pseudo-winger. He had very little chemistry with Haaland as they have barely featured together. These are not the times to sub on a 16 year-old looking to gain match experience. Maybe have Dahoud on the bench instead..?
Terzic may feel that his team deserved to win this game. Dortmund had the better chances throughout and only missed winning through improbable results at both ends. But in reality, even the goal and penalty earned by Meunier were fortunate. Dortmund’s complete lack of ideas and inability to impose themselves in the final period was disheartening. With the attackers struggling so badly to connect their passes in the final minutes, it was strange that Terzic didn’t introduce Tigges, Reinier or Dahoud (who wasn’t even on the bench).
As good as BVB played in the first half, it is a major letdown to perform as they did after the break. Be it tactics, rhythm or attitude, Dortmund need to work past inferior opponents to be serious contenders for silverware as they intend to be. As Mainz becomes the fourth team south of 10th place Dortmund have failed to beat, BVB must ensure a fifth is not added to the list moving toward the second half of the season.