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Match Ratings: Borussia Dortmund Put to the Sword by an Impressive Ajax

BVB were ripped to shreds by a brilliant Ajax side, and now we’ve got to rate them? Well, I guess so.

Ajax v Borussia Dortmund - Group C - UEFA Champions League Photo by Peter Lous/BSR Agency/Getty Images

You go into the Champions League being a little unsure of what to expect of a lot of teams. The group stages are usually a good test of where some of the likely contenders really are, before they really test their might in the knockout stages. Ajax and Borussia Dortmund are usually two teams with hopes to make it into the later stages of the knockouts, without realistically expecting to win the whole thing.

That was probably more or less where both teams were heading into Tuesday’s match at the Johan Cruijff Arena. But after the 90 minutes were up, it was clear that Ajax are the real deal, and Borussia Dortmund have a lot of work to do.

Here’s our player ratings from that torrid night in Amsterdam:

Starting XI

Gregor Kobel

Paul: 7

Things could have been a lot worse if Kobel wasn’t there to keep it to four.

Zac: 6

Was not helped much, but still conceded 4. Tough day to be Kobel.

Mats Hummels

Paul: 7

Hummels did a lot more on the defensive end than any other outfield player, and he contributed more in possession than probably anyone else either (though it’s not exactly a high bar to set).

Zac: 6

Hummels still does not seem 100% to me. Maybe he is still carrying a knock, but he does not seem the dependable leader we know. He was not at fault for the loss, just making an observation. He and Can did completely mis-mark Haller for the headed goal, though.

Manuel Akanji

Paul: 6

Zac: 6

Tried.

Nico Schulz

Paul: 3

He had trouble all through the first half, though he didn’t pay quite as mightily as Can did. It’s a shame, because he has looked at least serviceable recently. Fingers crossed he looks better at the weekend.

Zac: 1

Did nothing, got torched by Antony, got hooked.

Thomas Meunier

Paul: 5

Meunier continues to be a net positive for BVB so far this season. He offered something on Tuesday, which can’t be said for many others.

Zac: 5

Meunier did his best to continue the attacking form he has shown in BVB’s last few games. Unfortunately, Ajax pressed him out of the game and he received little support from the midfield.

Axel Witsel

Paul: 2

Witsel looked off the pace the entire game. He came close to conceding a penalty. Had the decision gone against him, I’d have been willing to dish out an even worse score, but as it happens I think he scraped by as just the worst player on the pitch.

Zac: 1

I would not use the word “washed” to describe Witsel, as he still performs for his national team, but in the system Marco Rose is trying to utilize, he has no place at all.

Julian Brandt

Paul: 3

Zac: 3

Brandt suffered from not being Mahmoud Dahoud in this game. Dahoud’s aggression and precision were sorely lacked in this game, and for as much as Brandt tried to apply his artistry and creativity, he got crushed.

Jude Bellingham

Paul: 5

Zac: 5

Bellingham was visibly frustrated at the state of the press Dortmund were applying, but unlike some of his other teammates, he tried to keep his chin up.

Marco Reus

Paul: 4

I don’t think he had an especially good game, but outside of the own goal I don’t think he was as poor as the others. Of course, there was also the own goal, so it’s hard to give him a ton of credit!

Zac: 3

Dust this one off and get your head straight, Cap. The team needs you.

Donyell Malen

Paul: 3

Really didn’t offer much at all in this game. I maintain that Malen deserves the time to adjust, because some players do take time. It is just unfortunate that BVB need so much more than they are getting from him.

Zac: 2

Please, PLEASE just succeed. It is all anyone wants.

Erling Haaland

Paul: 6

He was very quiet in the first half, but he did look relatively lively in the second half. Even so, there was only so much he could do.

Zac: 6

Haaland received almost no service. Seeing him jumbo dribble around in the corner trying desperately not to lose the ball broke my heart. There was not a yellow shirt around to feel the same.

Substitutions

Emre Can

Paul: 2

Struggled mightily when he came on for Schulz. Stood off Antony, allowing him to find face and get a shot off for the third goal. Was also bullied to the header by Haller, for Ajax’s fourth. I’d give him a worse rating if it wasn’t for the fact he was forced to play out of position, in a game in which BVB were already seriously struggling.

Zac: 4

While everything Paul has said is true, Can was at least barking orders after the 70th minute, and he was the only one. Let’s utilize our only capable and fit CDM at CDM, yeah?

Thorgan Hazard

Paul: 5

Zac: 3

Marius Wolf

N/A

Marin Pongracic

No goals conceded with Pongo on the field JUST SAYING.

N/A

Ansgar Knauff

N/A

Overall

Paul: 2

Sometimes it feels like we focus so much on our own team’s performances and that doesn’t give the necessary credit to the opposition, for what they did. So first, I’d like to acknowledge that Ajax were incredible. Had we lost by one or two, I’d be willing to put it down to a team that looks like they could really go all the way, but the fact is that it took two to tango on Tuesday. BVB were as bad as Ajax were good (and they were really very, very good).

That is surely BVB’s worst performance this season, and one of the worst performances I’ve seen in a very long time from this team. I think 1s (or 0s) should be incredibly hard ratings to come by, just the same as 9s and 10s. But two different players scraped by just barely missing a 1 from me (and several received 1s from Zac). That should be as good an indication as any of how poor BVB were on Tuesday.

Zac: 2

BVB need that classic sports movie moment where the old team legend comes into the locker room and puts the fight back into the players. Who do you think that player is? Subotic? Dede? Leave a comment below.