Happy MO Monday, Fear the Wall followers! Monday is always better after a big win, and there is nothing bigger than demolishing your bitter rivals on their pitch. Borussia Dortmund stomped Schalke to the very poetic score line of 0-4, and may have buried the long heated rivalry for at least a year as the ‘smurfs’ look destined to be relegated come the end of the season. The win was extremely emphatic, but I believe questions still remain about the lineup of this match. Let’s go back and review what happened mid-week.
Mahmoud Dahoud was a surprise starter last Wednesday in the Champions League, after Thomas Delaney stayed at home to be with his wife, as they welcomed their first child into the world. Given a rare opportunity to shine for BVB under Terzic, Dahoud grabbed his opportunity and made it count with a 25-yard stunner to equalize for the visitors in the crunch clash. The beautiful curling effort paralyzed Sevilla and pushed Dortmund to a dominating 3-1 halftime lead. His great performance wasn’t limited to the goal, though, as Dahoud was dispossessing the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Jordan all night while simultaneously linking the midfield and attack making Dortmund extremely dangerous on the night. Here is another look at THAT goal:
Was Edin Terzic going to start Mahmoud Dahoud after his brilliant mid-week performance in the Champions League against Sevilla FC? Thomas Delaney was back in contention for the weekend and had been playing well as of late, so I am not sure that Dahoud would have started had another strange thing not happened. Unfortunately, Manuel Akanji came down with a late injury and was ruled out for the Revierderby giving Edin Terzic no choice but to move utility man Emre Can back to partner Mats Hummels at center-back. Delaney and Dahoud started in the double-pivot for the fifth time this season together and once again came out winners. After the match I noticed a claim going around social media that claims when Dahoud starts Dortmund never lose. Is it true?
Is BVB Undefeated with Dahoud Starting?
Not quite, but Dahoud has 7 wins, 1 draw, and just 1 loss as a starter. The DFL-Supercup is the only blemish on Dahoud’s season so far, a 3-2 loss in Munich against Bayern. With that said, in the Bundesliga Dahoud has started 5 matches with 4 wins against TSG Hoffenheim, Hertha Berlin, and two wins over Schalke. There is also a 1-1 draw against Eintracht Frankfurt. In the Champions League, Dahoud has started 3 matches and BVB have won them all. A 2-0 win over Zenit in the second matchday was followed up by a 3-0 win over Club Brugge in the third matchday. The third match was the first leg of the knockout rounds this past week against Sevilla.
It is difficult to statistically wrap your head around why this is happening given we do not have enough data to really analyze Dahoud against his other midfield teammates. He does tend to sit a bit deeper than Jude Bellingham, providing more tactical defensive support to his midfield partner than the young Englishman, but does not cover as much ground as his counterpart. Passing and ball carrying is one of Mo’s strong suits as he progresses the ball much better than the likes of Emre Can, Axel Witsel, and Thomas Delaney but isn’t quite as robust a tackler. Quite simply, Dahoud is another player who offers something a little different than the other midfield players that BVB currently have, and it seems to be what the team needs right now.
Since arriving in 2017 for a $13.2M dollar fee, Dahoud has never really been a key contributor to the squad for a lengthy period of time. The slick passing Syrian born German midfielder has two caps for the German national team and time is running out on his contract. Free to leave in the summer of 2022, the Dortmund board are going to have to figure out what they have in Dahoud. With key injuries all over the pitch for Borussia Dortmund, and several players not playing to their potential, Edin Terzic should have no choice but to keep fielding Dahoud in the lineup. This will continue to give the club more chances to take a good look at him coming towards the end of the campaign. Only one other time this season has Dahoud started consecutive matches in a row as he started three in mid-October, and we won them all. We may have just stumbled upon something here.
Is Dahoud still the future in Dortmund’s engine room?