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MOTM Poll: Erling Haaland Returns with a Bang Against Wolfsburg

Dortmund clinch three critical points against a resurgent Wolfsburg.

VfL Wolfsburg v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Martin Rose/Getty Images

After a horror start, Dortmund worked their way back to the lead and will leave Wolfsburg briefly atop the Bundesliga table. Goals from Emre Can and Donyell Malen put Dortmund back in the lead but Wolfsburg had no interest in lying down. A sustained period of pressure was finally relieved by the return of Erling Haaland, who notched a flying finish to mark his return to the pitch. From there, Dortmund was able to hold down the fort and secure three critical points heading into Der Klassiker next weekend.

Here are today’s candidates for Man of the Match.

Mats Hummels

Key Stats: 5 clearances, 2 blocked shots, 1 interception

Despite some criticisms of the aging center back around the German media, today, Hummels gets a nod for MOTM for his tremendous effort to hold off the Wolfburg attack. The wolves boast two of the league’s most threatening wing-backs in Jerome Rousillon and Riedle Baku. Keeping their crosses from meeting the head of Wout Weghorst was no simple task. Hummels and Akanji keep their box clean after the initial lapse in concentration and prevented an onslaught of attacks from finding the back of the net. Manuel Akanji has been hard done by the prestigious Fear the Wall poll these last few weeks, but he will have to wait a bit longer despite a solid performance as well. The two center backs worked tirelessly in this game to protect three points.

Donyell Malen

Key Stats: 1 goal, 2 shots on target, 2 completed dribbles

Fears have turned to cheers for the Dutch forward, who is really settling into his role among the Black and Yellow forwards. Malen has now notched three goals in as many appearances. This output should do wonders for his confidence, as the striker has looked more aggressive in the press, more tenacious in the box, and clearly, more clinical with a finish than he has all season.

Marco Reus

Key Stats: 5 clearances, 1 assist, 84% pass accuracy, 2 key passes

Another game and another nomination for Dortmund’s talisman. Reus did not score today, but his efforts were felt on every square inch of the pitch. From his driving run to win the penalty to his composure slotting in Malen for the go-ahead goal, Reus kept his team in the game. Reus also made five clearances to keep the ball out of his own goal, something we are growing more used to seeing from the captain. Reus’s tireless efforts are keeping Dortmund in this Bundesliga campaign, no doubt about it.

Julian Brandt

Key Stats: 8 crosses, 1 assist, 2 interceptions, 2 clearances

Julian Brandt continued his fine run of form today. The German gets a shout for MOTM both for his exceptional assist for Erling Haaland’s goal, and for his ball progression efforts that helped Dortmund make inroads into a tight-packed Wolfsburg defense. Brandt and Dahoud showed their chemistry with a series of well-strung passes, almost resulting in a goal that both players were unlucky not to bury. It has been challenging for Brandt to stake his claim in this team, but today’s performance showed that with continued faith and freedom to do what works best for him on the field, Brandt can be of tremendous influence to this Dortmund side. His play still is not without faults, but it seems that Marco Rose is committed to working those out with the player, instead of expecting Brandt to figure it out himself. The results are telling.

Honorable mention for Gregor Kobel; yet another stellar performance from the Swiss stopper.


Pick you MOTM!

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