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Match Ratings: Dortmund Lose to Hertha Berlin in the Final Match of the Hinrunde

BVB drop further out of the title race.

Hertha BSC - Borussia Dortmund Photo by Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund finished the first half of the season in disappointing fashion, losing to Hertha Berlin 3-2. A slew of missed opportunities in the first half and a defense without Mats Hummels, Manuel Akanji, and Gregor Kobel ultimately proved to be BVB’s undoing on Saturday.

The game started out positively in attack for the black and yellows, with Marco Reus having two solid chances to score in the first 15 minutes, but he was unable to finish on either occasion. Fortunately, in the 31st minute, Julian Brandt was able to chip Alexander Schwolow and give Dortmund a 1-0 lead going into halftime. In the second half, however, Hertha abused the cobbled together BVB defense and rattled off three straight goals to take complete control of the game. An 84th minute headed goal from Steffen Tigges made the game interesting towards the end, but it wasn’t enough, and the match finished 3-2. The result means that Dortmund are now 9 points behind Bayern in the Bundesliga.

Starting XI

Marwin Hitz

Nick: 5.5

Hitz was fine on Saturday. He made a nice stop against Jurgan Ekkelenkamp, and other than the first goal, none of them were really his fault.

Sean: 5

I would have liked to see him do better on Belfodil’s goal, but other than that, none of the goals were his fault.

Nico Schulz

Nick: 4

He offered little in attack and jogged back into defense on multiple occasions.

Sean: 4.5

The Hertha fans were booing him every time he took a touch, presumably because they’re mad he left the club years ago. Be careful what you wish for, Hertha fans, you might just get him back!

Marin Pongracic

Nick: 4.5

Pongracic was fine other than the first goal from Marco Richter. He has to do a better job of closing down that shot in that situation.

Sean: 4

He looked very much like Dortmund’s fourth string center back.

Axel Witsel

Nick: 4

Witsel has never been a quick player, but Ishak Belfodil made him look like Tom Brady on that first goal.

Sean: 3

Yeah, that goal was brutal. Also, his passing in general was very inaccurate by his standards, and every time he was defending his man I felt my body tense up. He’s struggling enough as is playing his natural position, so you can only imagine how he looked playing out of his natural position.

Thomas Meunier

Nick: 4.5

Sean: 4

Emre Can

Nick: 5

Can had a fairly forgettable game, which isn’t the worst thing when you consider the performance of some of his teammates.

Sean: 3

No, that was beyond forgettable. Can was a turnover machine, shaky in possession, and probably could’ve received five yellow cards at various points of the game.

Mahmoud Dahoud

Nick: 3.5

Dahoud needed to convert his chance in the 66th minute. Hopefully, his poor form lately is a result of being out with an injury for so long, but generally, he just hasn’t looked like the player he was last spring since Rose took over.

Sean: 5

I thought Dahoud looked better than Can, and outside of his big miss, was the best player in BVB’s midfield (a low standard, to be fair.)

Marco Reus

Nick: 3.5

Reus and Dahoud had similar stories on Saturday. Marco wasted two massive opportunities.

Sean: 3

It looked like he may have hurt his ankle so I’ll cut him some slack.

Julian Brandt

Nick: 4

Brandt’s goal was great, but considering every goal Hertha scored started from one of his turnovers, he can’t get a positive rating. His mistake for the third Berlin goal was awful.

Sean: 5

Yes, his mistake was pretty inexcusable, but also his teammates gave him no real option. Also, that goal was slick.

Donyell Malen

Nick: 5

He should’ve had an assist to Dahoud, but other than that, Malen didn’t really do much. He’s often quiet when he plays next to Haaland it seems.

Sean: 5

Agree with Nick

Erling Haaland

Nick: 5

Haaland just never had the ball against Hertha.

Sean: 3

That may have been his worst game in black and yellow.

Substitutes

Thorgan Hazard

Nick: 5

Sean: 4

Raphael Guerreiro

Nick: 6

His cross to Tigges was excellent and he didn’t look terrible playing further up the pitch in the midfield.

Sean: 7

I’m convinced that Guerreiro wearing a straightjacket with a ball and chain around his ankle would be better than Schulz.

Dan-Axel Zagadou

Nick: 5

Marius Wolf

Nick: 5

I can’t remember if Wolf did anything of note, to be honest.

Steffen Tigges

Nick: 7

Legend! Hell of a goal.

Sean: 6.9

Overall

Nick: 3

They were missing quite a few players today, but even the regular starters that played were far from excellent. It was just a bad performance across the board. Hopefully, the winter break will give this team a chance to recover and improve in 2022.

Sean: 3

Sometimes teams lose, and BVB lost on Saturday. I wouldn’t be too mad if it weren’t the final game of the season, and if it didn’t effectively seal the title race. The game showed that depth is important, and that BVB needs to give Manuel Akanji a lifetime contract extension.