In the first competitive match of the season, Dortmund were the comfortable winners against 3. Liga side Wiesbaden. Marco Rose’s first game in charge saw a strong lineup fielded, despite the currently vacant Dortmund defense. U-23 defender Antonios Papadopoulos stepped into the fray for his first senior level match in the black and yellow, while Axel Witsel made his return. Donyell Malen and Gregor Kobel also made their competitive debuts for the side. Here is how we rated the performances from the 3-0 Pokal victory as Dortmund begin their title defense.
A competent performance from the new keeper, who showed his ability with his feet over 90 minutes more than his hands. Kobel was relatively untested, but on the few occasions that Wiesbaden approached or the BVB defense faltered, he was more than prepared to snuff out the danger.
Kobel looked very calm with the ball at his feet, something that BVB sorely lacked with Roman Burki and Marwin Hitz between the sticks. He went mostly untested in terms of blocking shots.
Passlack’s first black and yellow display of the season left a lot to be desired. While he linked up well with Jude Bellingham on the right side, the former academy product was lazy in his defending as was bailed out by Kobel. His decision making was also lackluster in attack, as he read the runs of his teammates too slowly.
If you forgot that BVB were in desperate need of a right back, this match would have served as a reminder. Passlack is fine in a pinch against low-level competition, but this match demonstrated that he’s not a long-term solution.
P.S. sign St. Juste, please!
Cannot be too hard on Papadopoulos in his first senior performance, but he had several rough moments at the back. Still, Papa communicated well with the midfield to distribute the ball and was confident in possession.
What a shock, Papadopoulos isn’t at Mats Hummels’ level.
An astute performance from Dortmund’s only fit center back. Akanji was composed and aware for 90 minutes, something BVB fans will be thrilled to see.
The only non-donkey on the back line today.
Ugh, Schulz. Nico Schulz really does get an A for effort, as the German never drops his head or his intensity. Unfortunately, very little came off for the forgotten fullback today. Despite some solid defensive contributions, Schulz could not get on the same page with the forwards.
Depending on Raphael Guerreiro’s health, this could be Schulz’s last game for Borussia Dortmund. In typical fashion, his shift consisted of lots of darting runs that eventually came to nothing.
Had a few awesome long balls. Watching him this year is going to be fun.
Another promising performance from the American Dream. Reyna was active in the midfield attempting to split the lines with Marco Reus and create openings for the strikers. The work these two create in tandem should be a joy to watch this season.
When Gio is fit, he’s a great player. He proved that last year. The challenge this season will be whether he can sustain this level of play over a 2000+ minute season, as fatigue was a clear problem for him last year.
Bellingham looked a little off the pace as he has had very little time with the new tactics, but did he look taller to anyone? I know he is only 18 and can still be growing, but man he looked BIG.
The Capitano was right at home today, moving intelligently behind the strikers and creating opportunity left and right. Marco Reus looks ready to vindicate his decision to abandon the Euros because as was the case against Bologna, he looks SHARP.
His through ball to Erling Haaland was the stuff of dreams.
Tough day at the office for Tigges. It is hard to score goals when Erling Haaland is taking all of them, but Tigges did give it a few tries! With each first team performance Tigges looks more confident in his ability to carry the ball and create space, and he came close on several occasions today. Hopefully there are good things to come from the towering German.
I’ll just say that it was brutally obvious which of BVB’s two strikers scored more than 20 goals last season, and which one plays for the U-23s.
The Big Man is back, ladies and gentlemen. A marauding performance from the big Norwegian ended with a hattrick, as Haaland put down an unstoppable performance. Aided by some excellent through balls from the BVB midfield, Haaland was able to drift past the Wiesbaden defense to create space for himself and bury all three for his team.
Toto busted his butt as usual, working in Marco Reus’ typical domain. Hazard is going to find playing time hard to come by in this system, as I explained in my piece on him, but showing the flexibility to make things happen wherever he is placed on the pitch will help his case.
Despite a very eager outing, Malen was not able to shower himself in glory in his short cameo. A well placed ball from Haaland nearly played the new center forward in on goal, but he was tentative with his shot and lost the opportunity. Still, the new signing looked eager to get involved and worked back well when he lost the ball.
He did take the shot, and it forced a save, right? I couldn’t find the highlight but I’m not going to get on his case about it.
It is truly excellent to see Witsel back on the pitch; after such a nasty injury, I feared the curtains may have been closing on the Belgian’s career. Not today.
Sure, there is some rust to shake off, but for the most part Dortmund look primed and ready to go for a new season. An early Pokal game is always a good way to set the stage for the season, and get new tactics and faces integrated in a competitive environment. Marco Rose’s new tactics appear to be settling in well, and the players and eager to impress. Hopefully, some of Dortmund’s glaring weaknesses from 2020/21 have been left in the locker room for a positive start to the new season.
Look, they were playing Wehen Wiesbaden. Not exactly Bayern Munich. But a win is a win and a clean sheet is a clean shot. Despite some injuries to key players, BVB were the better side from beginning to end and put in the perfect professional performance. It’s hard to think of a better start for the Marco Rose era in Dortmund.