Coming out of the shortened winter pause, Borussia Dortmund desperately needed to begin the new year with a win. Thankfully, Edin Terzic’s side were able to overcome a very stingy Wolfsburg defense and grab three points and a clean sheet. It wasn’t a dominating victory, as Wolfsburg created several solid chances that they probably should have finished. In the end, though, a win is a win, something BVB desperately needed in order to build momentum headed into BVB’s next match against RB Leipzig.
If my suspicions are correct, this poll will be closely contested between BVB’s two goal scorers. Manuel Akanji, who put BVB ahead with a corner, continued his run of stellar form this season with a commanding defensive performance, looking calm in possession and under pressure, winning challenges, and blocking shots. Jadon Sancho put in an excellent 90 minute effort, pressing hard and repeatedly taking on defenders with dribbles. He had a few frustrating misses, and you could tell that it was really starting to wear on him mentally. He was finally rewarded in stoppage time with a brilliant individual goal that saw him blow past Wolfsburg defender Paulo Otavio and slot a shot past Koen Casteels. Sancho’s confidence has been visually waning this season, so it was awesome to see him leave a defender in the dust and score, and his enthusiastic celebration tells you everything you need to know about what it meant to him.
There were a few other noteworthy performances today. Erling Haaland made his return to the Bundesliga today, and while he didn’t score, he looked very dangerous, forcing a few strong saves from Casteels. It’s clear that Dortmund plays much better as a team when they’ve got a striker who can make runs in behind defenders, and that’s something Haaland brings to the table in spades. Mats Hummels also had a strong performance, especially in terms of his distribution.
Overall, while it wasn’t the strongest of performances, it was still desperately needed. Borussia Dortmund have grabbed three points against a team that, before today, had the second-best defensive record in the Bundesliga. Here are the nominations for man of the match:
Who was your MOTM today?
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