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Match Ratings: Borussia Dortmund Keep Their First Clean Sheet of the Bundesliga Season!

It wasn’t a dazzling performance but BVB got the win and a clean sheet against a tough Cologne side

Borussia Dortmund v 1. FC Köln - Bundesliga Photo by Alexandre Simoes/Borussia Dortmund/Getty Images

Clean sheets and Tigges goals — Saturday was a game of firsts for Borussia Dortmund. BVB finally kept a clean sheet in the Bundesliga, on their way to a 2-0 victory over FC Cologne. The three points keep Dortmund within one point of the league leaders, Bayern Munich. At the beginning of the season, if someone had offered us 24 points from a possible 30 after ten games, I think everyone would have taken that!

In truth, Dortmund’s performance wasn’t the best we’ve seen this season, and Cologne were very much our equals. That’s reflected in the xG from the game, with Dortmund putting up 1.3 and Cologne putting up 1.4, but BVB were the more clinical of the two sides, and that got them the win.

Here’s our ratings from Saturday’s game:

Starting XI

Gregor Kobel

Paul: 8

Very pleased for Kobel getting his first Bundesliga clean sheet with Dortmund. He has deserved a few more, but he finally got one on Saturday, and he put his body on the line to get it!

Nick K.: 8

He’s been our signing of the season so far, and this performance just confirmed that even further.

Mats Hummels

Paul: 6

Nick K.: 6

Manuel Akanji

Paul: 7

Nick K.: 6

Marin Pongracic

Paul: 6

Nick K.: 6

Marius Wolf

Paul: 7

By the end of this season he will have played at least 10 minutes at every position on the pitch for BVB.

Nick K.: 7

I like what I’ve seen from a guy who looked like a bad signing years ago. He’s turned into quite the wingback, and I hope he sees the field more.

Thomas Meunier

Paul: 7

Thomas Meunier should serve as a reminder that not everybody hits the ground running, but that doesn’t mean they’re no good!

Nick K.: 7

Yes, more of good Meunier, please. He’s improved significantly since last season, and I really like him in Rose’s system on both sides of the ball.

Axel Witsel

Paul: 4

Witsel just doesn’t have it anymore, and he feels like a liability whenever he’s on the pitch. It’s very unfortunate to see.

Nick K.: 5

He’s decent defensively, but those killer passes Witsel was known for when he first arrived feel like so long ago. It’s sad to see, because he’s so well-liked and he’s a team leader, but I don’t see Witsel remaining at Dortmund past this season.

Jude Bellingham

Paul: 7

Nick K.: 7

Another terrific showing from Bellingham. His assist to Hazard was special.

Julian Brandt

Paul: 7

I thought Brandt was one of BVB’s best players yesterday. He had a hand in both goals, getting the assist on the second, and he was making things happen. We’ve been hoping we’d start to see a little bit more from Brandt under Marco Rose, and there are some signs that that is happening.

Nick K.: 6

I thought Brandt played ok. He got the assist on Tigges’ goal, and there were times that he looked very dangerous, but I also saw moments of 20/21 Brandt throughout the action. It’s a step in the right direction for him, but I want to see more consistency from him before I start shouting ‘Brandt is Back’ from the rooftops.

Marco Reus

Paul: 6

Nick K.: 6

He needs to be better. He had multiple chances to put the ball in the net, and but he failed to do so. He wasn’t bad, but his overall performance left a lot of be desired.

Thorgan Hazard

Paul: 8

Nick K.: 7

Finished off Bellingham’s pass with a great header, and looked dangerous throughout the match. If he can stay healthy, I expect to see more of the same from Toto.

Substitutes

Donyell Malen

Paul: 4

Another rough performance for Malen. He was just forcing things a little too much, but was making everything a little too obvious. He’ll be fine, but Saturday’s performance wasn’t his finest.

Nick K.: 3

I was skeptical of his signing, and this isn’t helping. He needs to be better in front of goal and with the ball at his feet, otherwise he’s not going to last long in Dortmund if he doesn’t start producing.

Steffen Tigges

Paul: 7

It was good to see Tigges finally get his goal, and it came at the right time for BVB. They needed to put the game to bed, and Tigges did exactly that. Hopefully he can build on this and be a reasonable goal threat off the bench.

Nick K.: 7

I like Tigges, and I’m happy that he finally got his Dortmund goal. He offers some different things from Haaland and Malen, and I’d like to see more of him out there.

Felix Passlack

Paul: 5

Nick K.: 5

Didn’t do anything to stand out, positively or negatively.

Ansgar Knauff

N/A

Overall

Paul: 7

I think a 7 might be a little generous, because the truth is that Cologne were the better team for the majority of the game, but I’m willing to be a little generous because BVB finally kept a clean sheet! Besides, there is something to be said for a team getting the job done, with few hiccups, despite being outplayed.

Nick K.: 6

I want to give this a lower grade because it didn’t feel like a well-deserved win. Cologne had more of possession and infinitely more chances to score, so that’s not great. But thanks to a combination of excellent goalkeeper, solid defense, and a little VAR, Dortmund earned its first Bundesliga clean sheet of the season, so that’s good! I would’ve liked more of a complete performance from Dortmund, but a win is a win.