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Match Ratings: Erling Haaland & Donyell Malen Help BVB to 3-1 Victory Over Wolfsburg

BVB bounce back from early Champions League exit with a victory that sets things up perfectly for Der Klassiker

VfL Wolfsburg v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Boris Streubel/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund finished the week on a high note, after the extremely disappointing performance against Sporting Lisbon earlier in the week, beating Wolfsburg 3-1 and remaining within touching distance of top of the table. It was a less than ideal start to the game, as BVB conceded an extremely sloppy Weghorst goal in the 2nd minute of the game, but from that point on Dortmund were the better side and they came away with all three points against a tough Wolfsburg side.

Those three points set things up nicely for Der Klassiker next weekend, with Borussia Dortmund trailing behind Bayern Munich by just a single point. Victory at Westfalenstadion would take BVB to the top of the league, and would set things up nicely for a legitimate title race! It was certainly disappointing to see BVB knocked out of the Champions League so early, but if BVB can start December with a win over Bayern, and sitting top of the table? I think we’d all take that.

Here’s our player ratings from BVB’s win over Wolfsburg:

Starting XI

Gregor Kobel

Paul: 8

Sean: 7

Kobel made 6 saves on 7 shots of target, and there was nothing he could do about the one goal he did concede. None of his saves were particularly difficult, but it was still good that he was able to consistently block them.

Nico Schulz

Paul: 4

Struggled a lot against Lukebakio, and was a consistent vulnerable point in the already pretty brittle BVB defense. He was fine in possession, but it didn’t really make up for the defensive lapses.

Sean: 3

Schulz didn’t play very well defensively, strengthening the notion that he shouldn’t be a figure in our starting XI. He did have a well-struck volley that clattered off the post which would’ve been a banger had it gone in.

Mats Hummels

Paul: 6

Sean: 7

Manuel Akanji

Paul: 6

Failed to track his man for the Wolfsburg opener, but he made up for it with some vital plays throughout the rest of the game.

Sean: 5

I seem to disagree with Paul a bit about this, because I think Hummels was the better CB than Akanji on Saturday.

Thomas Meunier

Paul: 7

Sean: 6

Nico Schulz has done Meunier such a massive service, because his disastrous play makes Meunier’s routine competence look world class by comparison.

Emre Can

Paul: 7

After the somewhat unfortunate end to his night during the week, Can put in the kind of display that we expect (or at least hope) to see from him. He played with his typical aggression, but he was disciplined in his approach too. Good to see him get the goal too.

Sean: 7

I think the fanbase can be a little harsh on Can because he does have a tendency to make a few bone-headed errors, but when he’s on he’s an absolute force in midfield.

Mahmoud Dahoud

Paul: 7

Was one of a number of players that were caught napping for Wolfsburg’s goal, but otherwise played really well. BVB’s midfield looks a lot better for having him in it.

Sean: 5

I wrote in my match observations that Dahoud was exposed defensively more than a few times by Dido Lukebakio and Ridle Baku. In possession he was great, but I can’t ignore the defensive end of his midfield responsibilities.

Julian Brandt

Paul: 8

Sean: 7

His assist to Haaland was [chef’s kiss].

Marco Reus

Paul: 8

Reus was involved in every single BVB goal. The offense ran through him and Brandt today. It was a joy to watch.

Sean: 8

He drew the penalty that Can converted, assisted Malen’s goal, and had the secondary assist on Haaland’s goal. The captain is pure class.

Marius Wolf

Paul: 6

Sean: 5

He was a body and didn’t do anything wrong, which is about as much as we really need from him.

Donyell Malen

Paul: 8

Malen looks like a changed man. He was excellent throughout, and capped it off with a brilliantly taken goal.

Sean: 6.5

I’d still like to see him creating more shots and chances, but the fact that he’s now scoring is a big bolster to his confidence and will hopefully lead to more sustainable underlying numbers.

Substitutes

Ansgar Knauff

Paul: 6

Sean: 5

Erling Haaland

Paul: 7

Haaland is incredible. He was only on the pitch for about twenty minutes, and his impact was felt immediately, including a goal that put the game to bed.

Sean: 7

It turns out having a striker helps you score more goals. Who would’ve thunk it?

Dan-Axel Zagadou

N/A

Axel Witsel

N/A

Overall

Paul: 8

The opening goal was disappointing, but from that point on Borussia Dortmund dominated a very good Wolfsburg side.

Sean: 7

I thought we were defensively shaky, especially when holding onto a very slim 2-1 lead, but the little extra quality from Haaland and Malen was the difference in the end. I wouldn’t use the word dominated, but BVB were definitely the better side and deserved all three points.