When Zac pinged me on Fear the Wall’s Slack channel this morning telling me that the preview was ready to be edited, I was momentarily confused, until I remembered: oh right, we have a game today. The fallout from Der Klassiker has been so overwhelming that I had completely forgotten about Dortmund’s dead Champions League campaign. As it turned out, even though Dortmund had been eliminated on match day five by Sporting Lisbon, they still had to play one more game against Besiktas today.
It was a meaningless game by literally any definition. Neither side had any chance to make it into the top two of the group, and therefore challenge for the knockout round. Besiktas had no chance of making it into third place and qualifying for the Europa League. As a result, the football on the pitch was far from thrilling. Besiktas are clearly not a very good side, so despite not even pouring on the pressure too hard, BVB still managed to crush them 5-0. An admittedly soft red card against Besiktas didn’t make the scoreline any closer, and if Besiktas weren’t already completely dead in the water, they might have had some impetus to complain. Nevertheless, BVB completely controlled the game from start to finish, and Malen, Reus, and Haaland each got a nice chance to pad their Champions League stats.
Here are my thoughts:
Not that anybody cares, but this was a great, professional performance from BVB. They out shot-attempted Besiktas 29-1, and not for a moment did I ever think the result was in doubt. It was nice to get a clean sheet.
So, yeah. Good job everyone.
Donyell Malen’s Improvement Continues
Just about the only concrete takeaway I have from this game is that Donyell Malen’s game has improved dramatically since he arrived in Dortmund. It took awhile, but he no longer looks completely uncoordinated in his movements with the rest of the squad. He got a bit fortunate with his goal, because he placed it in a position where the keeper should have saved it, but he still deserves the credit for making the space and getting into the position that he did.
That being said, Besiktas are of shocking quality, so I would like to see more from Malen against better teams before I’m ready to forgive him for his slow start.
On to the Europa League
Clear your Thursday nights, everyone! Forget facing Real Madrid in the glory of the Champions League, it’s time to for dark, gloomy Thursday nights in random Eastern European cities in stadiums repurposed from old Red Army tank factories. Or, Glasgow, whichever is worse. That’s because Borussia Dortmund are bound for the Europa League, the Champions League’s resentful and less successful younger sibling.
The expectation now is nothing less than to win the whole damn thing. After all, we’re the favorites:
Let’s get to work!
Were you so bored today that you actually paid more than half-attention to this game? If so, let me know your thoughts!