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Three Observations from Dortmund’s Triumph over FC Ingolstadt

A super-sub appearance from Thorgan Hazard lifted a heavily rotated side past their opponent.

Borussia Dortmund vs FC Ingolstadt 04- DFB Cup: Second Round Photo by Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images

After an exceedingly dull first 70 minutes, Dortmund eventually snatched the spoils from Ingolstadt on the back of two goals from Thorgan Hazard. It was a dry, dry game mostly barring a few standout performances among the black and yellow ranks. Dortmund controlled possession the entirely of the match as Ingolstadt dug in and put as many bodies between their opponent and their goal as possible. A few errant long balls were all that was thrown the way of the Dortmund defense, and they were managed with ease.

It took until the 72nd minute to finally break the deadlock. Once reinforcements arrived, however, the creaky opposite defense finally gave way. A two-punch set of goals from Thorgan Hazard took the wind out of the Ingolstadt sails, so much so that by the 90th minute the referee opted to forgo added time.

Rotation Station

Marco Rose opted for a heavily rotated side as predicted, and the results of this were a mixed bag. Dortmund held possession firmly, but failed to link up their attack well enough to challenge Fabijan Buntic in the opposition goal. Reinier and Julian Brandt moved fluidly behind Stefan Tigges, but the three players have spent so little time playing together that they struggled to make things click. In other areas of the field, Marin Pongracic and Emre Can did well to support the attack in a game where they were not called upon heavily to defend. Marius Wolf excelled in the left wing back role, and Witsel, unsurprisingly, disappointed again with slow decision making and several errant long shots.

For some of Dortmund’s second string it was an opportunity wasted, and I regret that Rose did not bring Ansgar Knauff into the game sooner. Still, in a possession heavy game, it was clear why Rose chose a team that could retain the ball and move in tight spaces, which nearly paid off on several occasions. He made the correct tactical change to seal the victory, and put this one in the books.

Welcome to the Dog House

Marius Wolf, ladies and gentlemen. The versatile winger/midfielder/fullback has proven the depth signing that Borussia Dortmund did not realize they needed, and the game against Ingolstadt proved another great example of how fortunate the squad is to have him around. Wolf was, in this writer’s opinion, a top performer in this match. He was aggressive moving the ball forward, solid in the press, and is beginning to show some chemistry with his teammates. As the commentators noted at the end of the game, he and Julian Brandt have become close friends, something that could benefit both players as they look to stake claims for more minutes in the squad. Dortmund will need Wolf this season, and his solid form both off the bench and when needed in the starting lineup makes him a welcome sight on the field for BVB fans.

Borussia Dortmund vs FC Ingolstadt 04- DFB Cup: Second Round Photo by Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images

It has been almost a year since I wrote my first article for this site, detailing the demise of Mahmoud Dahoud’s career. In the time since then, Dahoud has roared back into the squad and his current absence is sorely felt. Wolf may not fit a specific profile in this team, but do not count out his chance to become as important a player for this team with time and patient support.

The Reinier Experiment

This young man has had it rough in Germany, no way around that fact. Reinier would have looked at Achraf Hakimi’s success at Dortmund and been eager to book his ticket to the Bundesliga. Since then, he has been so anonymous that I do not know if this site has ever even written about him, other than a few “N/A”s in match ratings. Today Rose gave Reinier the chance to show that he brings something different to the team, and that there is a case for him to be a starlet among the likes of Jude Bellingham and Gio Reyna. Not for a lack of effort, but that just did not happen for the young Brazilian in this game. The only thing Reinier proved was that he can do the same thing as every other Dortmund attacker on a bad day: overplay the ball, attempt a back-heel, and get hooked at the 70th. It is hard to blame someone who has had so little faith placed in them during their time on a the team, but today was a chance to do something magical, and Reinier had to watch as Jude Bellingham used up all the magic.

Should Dortmund cut the Reinier loan short? Is Wolf the answer to our prayers? Give your thoughts on the Pokal match below.