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Three Observations from a Neon Victory Over Werder Bremen

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After an early scare, Dortmund found their feet and marched to a strong victory.

Borussia Dortmund v SV Werder Bremen - Bundesliga Photo by Friedemann Vogel - Pool/Getty Images

With Eintracht Frankfurt, Wolfsburg, and RB Leipzig all dropping points prior to today’s game between Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen, BVB had a major chance to narrow the gap in the race for the Champions League. While an early Bremen goal caused some temporary concern, a wave of first half goals ultimately culminated in an easy 4-1 win.

Beginning the game on the front foot with a very attacking minded midfield, Dortmund progressed the ball well into dangerous areas. Despite having over 70% possession in the opening minutes, a well timed run caught the Dortmund defense sleeping and Milot Raschica was able to slot home his second goal of the season. Although Dortmund continued to struggle with Bremen’s counterattacking play (kick and run), BVB struck back when Gio Reyna was able to find space at the top of the box and slam home an equalizer, to be followed up soon after by an Erling Haaland penalty. Marco Reus found excellent space in the box and was brought down to create the opportunity. A lucky deflection sent Haaland in for a third, and Dortmund all but erased any doubts of their ability to dominate the game.

Though Mats Hummels’s late goal secured the victory, it was Dortmund’s first half efforts that set the up for success against Bremen, a welcome change for a team that has found it challenging to strike in the first half this season.

Here are today’s match observations.

Gio Reyna is BACK

Hopefully.

While it would be presumptuous to say that the prodigious young American has shaken off his slump completely, he made a great effort to do so today and was rewarded with a goal.

Reyna found his feet quickly, terrorizing Bremen’s fullbacks with exceptional close control and precise passing. His goal was taken immaculately, struck on the bounce with precision to beat Jiri Pavlenka from the top of the box. It was an experienced finish and clearly a huge relief to the young American. With his name on the score sheet, Reyna’s confidence began to show. It was great to see Reyna taking on defenders and picking out precise passes in the way we became accustomed to in the fall. Now is the perfect time to rediscover his form, and his influence on the wings or in the center could be a critical addition as Dortmund look to claim a Champions League berth.

Vulnerability on Counter Attacks

The gameplan today was clear; get forward, score goals. Edin Terzic chose Julian Brandt, Mahmoud Dahoud, and Jude Bellingham in midfield, with Emre Can in desperate need of a rest and Thomas Delaney out with an injury. The trio of attack-minded midfielders helped play flow toward Reus, Reyna, and Haaland, but it seemd that every time Werder got on the ball, they were able to slice their way toward the Dortmund goal. While the selection was due in part to necessity, today’s game and Rashica’s goal continued the trend of disconnection between BVB’s midfield and defense. Akanji and Hummels were worked hard trying to keep tabs on Raschica and Josh Sargent, and the midfielders did not do them many favors. The introduction of Emre Can helped to stymie the flow through the center of the park, hopefully quieting some of his more vocal critics.

Retro Kit, Retro Right Back

Not only were the Dortmund faithful treated to a stunning retro kit to remind them of a bygone era, but also to a cameo from a player seemingly from a bygone era. Lukasz Piszczek entered the fray to replace Mateu Morey and did not look one bit out of place. He chased down Bremen attackers and showed pace and awareness that rolled back the years. It was a nostalgic moment to see the pole and the neon kit brought together in one place, even if he never wore that color in his storied Dortmund career.

How about that kit, though! I thought the retro one-off was a very clean look, and have been enjoying the social media coverage of it on Dortmund’s pages. It was great to see Dortmund with a statement win in a unique kit.

What do you think out today’s game and the new kit? Would you like to see the neon kit back to stay? Let us know in the comments below.