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Match Ratings: Haaland, Piszczek Shine as Borussia Dortmund Gain Ground on Wolfsburg

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Die Scharzgelben were hungry like a wolf but were they as hungry as the Wolves themselves?

VfL Wolfsburg v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Mario Hommes/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

With three critical points on the line, Borussia Dortmund would do whatever it took to secure the win against Wolfsburg. Little did we know that this involved playing a man down with a single-goal lead after only 59 minutes of play. What BVB lacked in precision, they made up for with an early goal from an errant pass by Wolfsburg. Sure, the defense was a little spotty at times, but it was a dirty game with so much on the line for both teams. Here’s how we feel our boys stacked up!

Starting XI

Marwin Hitz

Sarah: 6

Wolfsburg were knocking but, for all of their noise, Hitz was hardly challenged. He managed to make a couple of solid saves and didn’t have much trouble otherwise.

Zac: 6

Łukasz Piszczek

Sarah: 10

I’m not defending myself here. Piszczu does that all on his own.

Zac: 7

The veteran Pole was certainly tested by the pace of Otavio and movement of Philipp, but he managed to keep both at bay in another solid shift. Turning into a beautiful swansong for a true Dortmund legend.

Manuel Akanji

Sarah: 7

Akanji has been kind of sketchy and inconsistent, but he provided some solid defense today. Before “the assist,” he was a contender for my Man of the Match nominations as he managed to hold the behemoth that is Wout Werghorst at bay.

Zac: 7

Akanji needed to step up today as a center back who does not need to lean on his stronger counterpart. The Swiss certainly plays second fiddle to Hummels, but he worked hard to ensure that his typical partner was not missed.

Emre Can

Sarah: 6

Dear Readers - You know it pains me to rate Can as such. His attitude is always great and even though his performance improved as the match progressed (that block around the 59th minute!), his early mistakes prevent me from rating him higher.

Zac: 6

Raphael Guerreiro

Sarah: 6.5

Zac: 6.5

Guerreiro was not able to ignite the same fire he and Sancho were stirring up in the midweek, but he did well to prevent one of the league’s fastest fullbacks in Mbabu from terrorizing his wing.

Mahmoud Dahoud

Sarah: 7

That assist. Wow! Once the talk subsides of that pass (and how he better get the call up from Joachim Löw for the Euros or else!) we’re left with sturdy defensive play from our man Mo, not to mention the ground he covered throughout the match.

Zac: 7.5

Marco Reus

Sarah: 7

Reus really dazzled me today. His play on the ball was a joy to watch and when Reus enjoys a healthy stretch like this, he flourishes. If voting for the most well-rounded player, it would be Reus. His offensive play threatened the Wolfsburg defense and he was able to pitch in for BVB’s defense as well.

Zac: 8

Sarah nailed it. A very captain-ly performance from a man who set out to embody the spirit of his club, and did so elegantly.

Jude Bellingham

Sarah: 4

Jude, Jude, Jude. The BVB wunderkind has been on fire, but today was, perhaps, the first time he played like a 17 year old. His foul was just plain sloppy and now he’ll miss the crucial match against RB Leipzig. He just needs to put “Hey Jude” on repeat to get him through to Match Day 33.

Zac: 4

Bad day for Jude.

Gio Reyna

Sarah: 5.5

Zac: 6

Could not get much going, much like Sancho on the other wing. Despite the majority of Dortmund’s attacking play going down the wings, the goals they did find came from surprise transitions through the center.

Jadon Sancho

Sarah: 6

Sancho is still working his way back from injury so it was an accomplishment, in and of itself, that he was able to put in 60 solid minutes. Flashes of his brilliance were evident and it leaves us all anxious for him to be back at full strength.

Zac: 6

Erling Haaland

Sarah: 8

I enjoyed Haaland’s performance for multiple reasons. The brace, of course, goes without saying. But I must really laud him for the maturity in his play. Haaland is often seen throwing his arms up in exasperation and sometimes missing chances instead of continuing play. Today was the exact opposite. Haaland was where he needed to be again and again until he was able to seize the opportunity to put the ball in the back of the net. Twice.

Zac: 9.5

Haaland had his head in the game, and it resulted in two goals to his name. He did exactly what the team needed him to do.

Substitutes

Thomas Delaney

Sarah: 6

Coming on, somewhat unexpectedly after Jude’s send off, Delaney did what was needed to help the shorthanded squad cross the finish line with a win.

Zac: 7

It was great to see Thomas Delaney back on the pitch, but even better to hear him screaming bloody murder in the final ten minutes of the game. The Dortmund faithful can always count on the Dane to show his passion.

Thorgan Hazard

Sarah: 6

Zac: 6

Limited service without Bellingham, but his wing had already been well covered all game.

Thomas Meunier

N/R

Overall

Sarah: 7.5

This was a high-stakes match and there was legitimate concern regarding the gaping absence of Mats Hummels. What we got today was a team that finally worked together and faced challenges head-on, even managing to score a shorty (I see you, hockey fans)! Excepting Bellingham’s red card, there were no blunders to speak of. The boys were composed and determined. Good job Jungs!

Zac: 9

How many times have we pulled out our hair because Dortmund could not do the simple thing, the obvious thing, the critical thing. Against Wolfsburg, Dortmund did the only thing they had to which was win. They did not concede from a free kick, they did not crumble after going ahead, and they did not let their heads drop when the faced a setback (see: Jude Bellingham’s dismissal). It took until April to get it, but this is a Dortmund performance that showed grit, which is all we as fans can ask for in the final three games of the season.