Dortmund needed to do the business against bottom side Fürth to keep from falling further behind Bayern Munich in the league table. A neatly taken penalty got the hosts in the match, with Erling Haaland burying his effort after a handball in the box. Haaland would extend the lead late, but not after Fürth had put Die Schwarzgelben under significant pressure. A neat finish from Donyell Malen marked his return from illness and flattered the scoreline of what was truthfully a well contested matchup.
Here are today’s candidates for Man of the Match.
Dortmund’s resurgent midfielder was electric on the ball today, playing 3-D chess in a game of checkers. His flicks and tricks tore apart the defense on a number of occasions, and it was unfortunate that his teammates struggled to keep up with his intuitions. Brandt showed fine passing skill to move the ball forward and several bursts of pace to beat his man. He also swung in several great crosses, one for Haaland’s headed goal and the second which allowed Malen to latch on the ball and score. Brandt has looked revitalized in the last two months of action, and Dortmund fans should be thrilled to see their fallen son roar his way back into the team.
Haaland’s goals went missing at the weekend, but today the Norwegian picked back up where he left off and closed the gap to Robert Lewandowski at the top of the scoring charts. Haaland forced the penalty for his first, and showed his tremendously improved heading skill for the second. If not for a resolute Fürth defense, Haaland might have had another goal earlier in the game. He provided exactly what Dortmund needed today.
Dortmund fans have been hard on our veteran Belgian this season, and with rampant reports that the board would look to cash in on him in January, the writing has been on the walls. Today Witsel showed that he still has enough in the tank to stand up to more tame opposition and assert his influence on a game. Witsel was resolute in defense, helping to win the ball high up the pitch and aiding in ball progression better than he has all season. While his wages are likely too high to keep him on as a bench option, Witsel reminded the Dortmund brass that he can still do his job at the heart of the midfield.
After a very rough weekend where his single error cost the team dearly, Kobel needed to show mental fortitude and match sharpness a mere four days later. A clean sheet will help the young goalkeeper brush off the weekend game, and continue his fine run of form. It has been easy to forget this season that the new man between the sticks is only 24 years of age, so it speaks highly to his maturity that he did not let a high profile error shake his confidence. Well earned clean sheet.
Who was YOUR Man of the Match?
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