With two important matches coming up next week against Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund desperately needed a comfortable win yesterday, with no drama. While it took until the second half for BVB to finally break the ice, the result never really looked in doubt, with Die Schwarzgelben accumulating the vast majority of scoring chances, shots, and possession in the first half. With Mahmoud Dahoud’s early second-half goal, the floodgates were open, and Dortmund eventually overwhelmed Bielefeld en route to a comfortable 3-0 victory.
Sean K: 6
Hitz kept a clean sheet, although he was never threatened too badly, and whenever Bielefeld’s players would get a chance, they had a serious tendency to scuff their shots wide. He did make a somewhat sloppy error in the first half when he palmed a shot right back into the face of goal, but luckily Bielefeld sent the rebound wide.
It was not entirely clear whether Burki or Hitz would be between the sticks yesterday, but Terzic gave the nod to the latter, potentially to give Burki more time to recuperate. Hitz was barely tested by the errant finishing from the opposition, but he was more commanding on set pieces which was good to see.
Sean M: 6
Sean K: 7
Morey’s play has been slowly improving over the past month, and yesterday’s performance was another step in this direction. He was finally able to fill some of the vacuum at right back created by Achraf Hakimi’s departure, providing a few incisive crosses into the box that might have resulted in goals if it weren’t for poor finishing.
Morey continued his surge yesterday with another standout performance. He was exceptionally active around the box, linking up well with Reyna and Reus. It was the first game in a while where the creative threat was split between the left and right side of the field, and much of that was down to the confidence and assuredness of Morey.
Sean M: 7
His performances have continued to improve since entering the starting line-up in the DFB Pokal match against SC Paderborn. In fact, this is probably the best he’s played since the end of the 19/20 season. Hopefully, this isn’t a mirage and is more of a sign of who he truly is. Next week's match against Bayern will be a good litmus test.
Sean K: 7
It will be interesting to see what Eden Terzic decides to do with Can once Manuel Akanji returns. He’s not only survived at center back, but he has thrived.
Sean M: 7.5
The most versatile player on the team and quite possibly the toughest. Don’t let the mini man bun fool you, Emre Can is a stout defender, wherever he is on the field. His tackling ability was on full display today, as he snuffed out Arminia Bielefeld’s second best goal scoring opportunity.
Sean K: 6
Zac: (majority trust, barely noticed him yesterday)
Sean M: 6
Hummels was fortunate today to get a relative breather, going against Fabian Klos, a man who’d be at risk of losing a race to a geriatric sloth. He made some nice clearances off of corners, which was his best contribution to the victory.
It is harsh to rate Guerreiro a point lower than Morey, but in the scope of the players in question, Guerreiro was not at his absolute best yesterday. He was useful in the build-up and completed his defensive duties well, but with the way he has played this season, an above average performance from Guerreiro includes an assist or a goal. Yesterday, the final ball in the box was just not completely there for him.
Sean M: 6.5
Zac said it best.
Dortmund have looked revitalized with Dahoud in the midfield. His pressing, passing, and defensive cover have plugged the holes that were allowing teams to waltz through the middle of the park. Dahoud went from uninvolved to un-droppable in a matter of 2 weeks, and if he keeps up his current form, his rise will be one of the stories of the season.
Sean M: 8.5
Dahoud is like a human gyroscope. His ability to sharply turn with the ball at his feet, all while keeping his balance and progressing forward is awesome. He is truly the metronome in midfield that BVB has needed for some time. I know any rating other than a 9 or a 10 for him may seem like heresy but, he was dispossessed two separate times that led to quick counter attacks. For that reason, I have to dock his score .5.
The young American continued to stutter, but showed flashes of a turn in fortune soon to come. Reyna returned to the starting lineup but struggled to find his rhythm, losing possession often in the opening 30 minutes. He had a few shots on target, though, and some good movement around the box. Hopefully several good days on the training ground will help him start to trend back upward.
Sean M: 3
Unlike most USMNT supporters I do not watch Americans through the lens of red, white, and blue glasses. Gio Reyna has talent, but he isn’t beyond reproach. If he is going to be on the field for a team with the expectation level of Borussia Dortmund then he better perform. Right now he looks like he has been attending the Julian Brandt school of passing/effort instead of team training. Here are some of his first half stats (I wasn’t going to waste any more time looking for second half gaffes). He cheaply gave the ball away at 5:17, 10:54, and 14:43 (flopping around like a baby giraffe). His body language was terrible the entire match and can be seen at the 21:12 mark when attempting to pass the ball to Guerreiro he kicks the ball out of bounds and looks like he is about to cry. When it is time to get physical he crumbles. This can be seen at the 27:53 mark. He takes a hard tackle and lays there, looking like he expects play to be stopped. Considering he played the full 90 minutes he wasn't too badly injured. This happened when the team was attacking. In a situation like this he needs to get up and at least make the defense account for him. At 29:58 Marco Reus is running open towards goal and calling for the ball. If you’re Gio Reyna and you see this you pass him the ball, no questions asked. Lastly, at 34:10 he shows zero desire to go for a loose ball in the attacking third. I know he is struggling for form at the moment but hustle and determination can help break players out of poor stretches, not throwing your hands up in surrender.
Two positive moments for those who think this is too harsh. 21:03 he shows some fight to retain the ball in the middle of the park while under heavy pressure. And at 32:24 he had a half decent shot that went just wide of the post.
It may be time for me to readjust my expectations for our aging captain. Reus put in another solid shift, winning the penalty for the second goal and linking up well in the middle of the field. It is just those little moments of indecision in the box, or a way overcooked pass to Haaland that leave me looking for the super clinical Reus I am used to.
If his first shot had hit the back of the net, instead of the crossbar, he would have been in contention for MOTM. He forced Ortega into an unorthodox headed save, at 29:58 was wide open heading towards goal if Reyna hadn’t froze on the ball, and drew the penalty that led to Sancho’s goal. Hopefully, his right ankle is ok and he will at least be available on the bench for the cup match next week.
Dahoud and Bellingham seemed like an aggressive pairing in midfield, but with Delaney out of the match, it was a force of necessity. The two managed the midfield pretty well, but their lack of match chemistry was apparent. Dahoud found himself in a defensive position often, and Bellingham occasionally left him with too much ground to cover.
Sean M: 6.5
Again Zac put it perfectly. I would like to see Bellingham and Dahoud play together more often. I think a midfield with the two of them and Delaney is our best combination. Obviously, Jude is still only 17 and he will need to be rotated more than some of the more seasoned members of the squad, but that's why having a swiss army knife like Emre Can comes in handy.
Another excellent performance from Sancho got BVB going yesterday. His pace, aggression, and technical skills were on show as he worked tirelessly to find an opening. He did well to find Dahoud at the top of the box, and actually scored a penalty, unlike some of his teammates. Great day at the office, and great photo-op after the goal.
Sean M: 10
Again he was BVB’s best player. An assist, penalty (which we all know isn’t a sure-fire goal for BVB this season), and a hockey assist led to a good day at the office for Sancho. Just like Hansel, he's so hot right now. Let's hope he can stay on fire over the next two weeks and carry BVB through to the DFB Pokal Semi-Finals and the Champions League Quarter Finals.
Haaland did not get his weekly goal, but he worked hard from the team and would have been on the scoresheet if not for some excellent goalkeeping from Stefan Ortega. Surely disappointing for the goal machine, but that should motivate him all the more to score in Der Klassiker.
Sean M: 7
I would like to highlight his assist to Reinier. Most strikers of Haaland’s makeup would not have thought twice about taking the shot in that situation. Just as he did for Felix Plasslack in the first Freiburg match he set-up a teammate in need of some confidence. To me, this shows an acute awareness far beyond his years.
10 for just being back on the field. He was very badly missed.
Sean M: 8
It was great to see Hazard back on the field and looking lively. His return could not have come at a better time, as Dortmund heads into the most crucial stretch of games of the year.
Excellent to see him open his account for the team. Julian Brandt really needs to find his feet if he does not want the quality in this team to pass him by.
Sean M: 7
Good to see him score his first Bundesliga goal. With Reus being up there in years hopefully, the goal will give Reinier some confidence and he will become a more trusted bench option for Edin Terzic.
Did anyone else think he was going to tear an ACL or rupture a hamstring when he did that neat stepover in the dying minutes? Really hope this guy can stay fit.
If anything, the 3-0 scoreline flatters Arminia Bielefeld. Borussia Dortmund were the better side from start to finish. I’m not going to get carried away with yesterday’s result, as Bielefeld are currently in the relegation zone, and BVB have games against two tough opponents in the week ahead. It was a confident, professional win that allowed Terzic to rest some of his key players while also keeping BVB’s top four hopes alive.
Back-to-back league wins are an excellent look for Die Schwarzgelben, and it should give them confidence heading to Munich for what promises to be an extremely tough test of their push for a top four spot. Sancho has found his form at the perfect time, and with players returning from injury, Dortmund need to springboard off this victory to mount a serious challenging for the honors left available this season.
Sean M: 8
I would have liked to see Dortmund get the opener before the second half. It would be great for the team to go into the half up 2-0 and then tack on a third goal before the hour mark. That would allow Terzic to use his bench earlier while resting some of the key contributors. However, three wins in a row (two in the league) is something to build off of, especially since Frankfurt dropped all three points against Werder Bremen on Friday. After Saturday’s victory BVB are now just three points shy of that coveted fourth place spot in the table.