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Match Ratings: Dortmund Do it the Hard Way Against Union Berlin

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Try as they might, Dortmund still need until the 88th minute to put the game to bed.

Borussia Dortmund v 1. FC Union Berlin - Bundesliga Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

Dortmund worked hard for their win, playing a strong Union Berlin side who had only lost six points going into the midweek matchday. Despite some suspect finishing from Dortmund’s forward line, a bundled home penalty chance and a late strike from Raphael Guerreiro were enough for Dortmund to collect three points. Die Schwarzgelben have another tough challenge ahead of them this weekend, but first, here are the ratings from this midweek victory.

Starting XI

Marwin Hitz

Zac: 7.5

Hitz was tested more than once by a determined Union Berlin, but he was up for the task, doing well against an excellent strike from a Max Kruse free-kick. Hitz showed solid command against dead balls be it corners or free-kicks. I have wondered why Terzic continues to overlook Roman Burki in selection, but it seems this sense of stability from Hitz against the dead ball is keeping him between the sticks.

Paul: 7

Hitz was solid, particularly that tremendous save from Max Kruse’s free-kick. I think the reality is that both Burki and Hitz have glaring weaknesses. Hitz has made some mistakes during this stint as a starter, and Burki may have done better in some cases, but the reverse is also true.

Mats Hummels

Zac: 4

Mats Hummels had a solid night tonight, but he gets a 4 for his absolutely brainless challenge. Hummels slid into a player about a month too late, and the resulting yellow card will force him out against Wolfsburg at the weekend. A veteran of Hummels’ status should always have one eye on the game to come, and he instead made the mountain all that much higher for BVB against a free-scoring opponent.

Paul: 5

That tackle was really dumb and totally unnecessary.

Manuel Akanji

Zac: 7

Solid.

Paul: 7

Rapha Guerreiro

Zac: 8.5

Guerreiro’s defensive efforts today were very solid and his technique to finish his chance was first class. After Sancho entered the pitch, it looked like a switch in Guerreiro flipped, as he and the Englishman linked up beautifully on the left. The connection these two players share could be critical in the run-in of the season.

Paul: 7

Lukasz Piszczek

Zac: 7

Like against Bremen, the pole looked right in place among his younger colleagues. Piszczek defended well, and seeing his trademark underlapping run to the top of the box at his age brought a massive smile to my face. His rust showed a bit when faced with quick feet, but he stood strong all 90 minutes.

Paul: 6

Emre Can

Zac: 5

Can was fine but for a few sloppy touches. The german national needs a quick lesson from Lukasz Piszczek on when to play it and when to boot it. Can found himself, as against Manchester City, caught trying to make too much out of nothing and turned over possession dangerously. He will need to be locked in when he plays alongside Manuel Akanji this weekend.

Paul: 5

Jude Bellingham

Zac: 7.5

Jude played what has become a typical performance from him; aggressive, committed, and eager to impress. Though he only picked up a yellow card for his efforts, he continued to show excellent BVB passion.

Paul: 7

Marco Reus

Zac: 9

Marco may be working to improve his penalties for Marco Rose’s selection, as Haaland’s effort was predictable and none-too-convincing. Still, the captain was alert and sharp to win the opportunity then bundle home the resulting ping-pong after the penalty. Reus was lively throughout the game in the box and in the build up. Unlucky to only score once.

Paul: 8

Thorgan Hazard

Zac: 6.5

On his return to the starting eleven Hazard was, okay. He showed some glimpses of his best form, but again his final ball let him down and he still looks to be catching up to the pace of the play.

Paul: 7

Giovanni Reyna

Zac: 7

Reyna was unlucky not to score with a long range effort early in the game, and kept things interesting for his opponents throughout his time on the pitch. He laid on a few nearly balls as his form recovery continues.

Paul: 7

Erling Haaland

Zac: 6

Tough, tough, tough day at the office for the big man. Haaland had six shots with four on target, but none found the net, including a penalty. He cut a frustrating figure, but it is worth noting that (according to the commentators) his pass accuracy in the 2nd half was 100%, and he won 65% of his challenges. Despite forgetting his shooting boots, Haaland still managed to work for the team.

Paul: 5

Substitutes

Jadon Sancho

Zac: 8

If anyone deserved a goal, it had to be the young Englishman. Jadon Sancho returned to the field like he never left, almost better than when he did. He immediately lit up the attack with his ability to beat a defender and his keen eye for a pass. Great to have him back.

Paul: 8

The complexion of the game changed as soon as Sancho came on. BVB were the better team, but it was still a little nervy. When Sancho was subbed in, Union were pegged back, and they were completely unable to cope with him. We’ve desperately missed what Sancho brings.

Mahmoud Dahoud

Zac: 7

Coming on for his more defensive compatriot, Dahoud did not disappoint. He made some excellent challenges in the midfield and covered the deep area of the field well, despite it not being his best position. A solid cameo for the German national.

Paul: 7

Julian Brandt

Zac: 7

Brandt has been steadily earning his minutes back after being given a... rest, yeah a rest, by Edin Terzic. He has now laid on assists in two appearances from the bench, including an excellent ball for Raphael Guerreiro to latch onto today.

Paul: 7

Another positive contribution by Julian Brandt. After a really rough time this season, I think we’re starting to see Brandt come back into form. Fingers crossed Brandt can continue to make positive contributions for the rest of this season and throughout the next.

Reinier

N/A

Overall

Zac: 7

Dortmund did well to score two goals today, but the question must still be raised of where the goals come from when Haaland is not bundling home his chances. We were reminded today that Jadon Sancho can answer that question, and it was great to see him back in the fold for the remainder of the season. It seems with many of Dortmund’s players regaining fitness and form going into the final games of the season, we could be in for a real blockbuster.

Paul: 7

It wasn’t the easiest game, and that comes as little surprise, because Union Berlin are a well-drilled, well-organized side. It was never going to be a breeze. But BVB did well to get it done, and they easily could have scored a couple more. They need to do exactly the same against an even tougher Wolfsburg side at the weekend.


Agree with the ratings? Disagree? Let us know down in the comments.