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Match Ratings: Borussia Dortmund Open Champions League Campaign with 2-1 Victory over Besiktas

BVB kick things off in the Champions League in impressive fashion

Besiktas v Borussia Dortmund: Group C - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alex Grimm/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund ran out 2-1 winners over Besiktas on Wednesday, in a game which they dominated from start to finish, and where the scoreline perhaps doesn’t do BVB’s performance justice. Isn’t it nice to watch a BVB game that features minimal drama? Well don’t get used to it. I’m sure the usual BVB will return to give everyone a heart attack in the coming games.

But it was an ideal start in the Champions League, and puts Dortmund in a good position, looking to claim all three points when they host Sporting Lisbon in two weeks time. If they do that they will face Ajax, Dortmund’s strongest competition in the group, with a little less pressure. That can only be a good thing.

Here are our ratings from Wednesday’s perfect start to the Champions League campaign.

Starting XI

Gregor Kobel

Paul: 7

Sean: 7

Kobel wasn’t tested often, but the saves he did make were absolutely fantastic. He brushed a well-struck shot from Michy Batshuayi wide of the bar with a diving save, and also robbed him on a one-on-one in the second half.

John: 8

Outstanding performance.

Raphael Guerreiro

Paul: 7

Sean: 6

A decent bounce-back defensive performance after his weak defensive work against Leverkusen on Saturday.

John: 7

His throw-in to Bellingham, which led to Haaland’s goal, was *chef’s kiss.*

Manuel Akanji

Paul: 7

Sean: 7

Defended very strongly, mostly keeping Batshuayi in his pocket.

John: 6

Mats Hummels

Paul: 6

I thought Hummels looked pretty rusty, but this was his first start since injury, so it is to be expected.

Sean: 6

John: 7

He might have hung back, but one on one, Hummels was very tough to beat.

Thomas Meunier

Paul: 7

Sean: 8

I thought this was his best performance this season, and arguably his best performance in black and yellow. He was a defensive stalwart and kept BVB’s right side secure all game.

John: 8

Great game from Meunier, and a very encouraging performance overall.

Mahmoud Dahoud

Paul: 7

Sean: 7

He had to share more of the defensive responsibilities with Axel Witsel out, so he couldn’t get forward as much as he would have liked, but he handled this role admirably.

John: 8

Dahoud had to work twice as hard in midfield because Brandt was so anemic. I thought he performed excellently. His stat line is crazy: 4 out of 5 dribbles, but also 5 tackles. Pretty emblematic of his day, running like crazy box to box.

Jude Bellingham

Paul: 9

Sean: 9

Mark my words. Jude Bellingham is going to be a top-five player in the world one day.

John: 9

Bellingham is a twitchy player, and every twitch was perfectly timed in this game. Fantastic performance.

Julian Brandt

Paul: 5

Brandt has started the season in similar fashion to the last. He looks like a passenger.

Sean: 6

I don’t think Brandt was that bad. He had a few decent flashes, but also needed to come off with an injury at the half.

John: 4

I don’t see Brandt at Dortmund long term. He just has not delivered on his promise since he was signed.

Marco Reus

Paul: 5

Reus didn’t have a great night last night. He didn’t impose himself like he typically does.

Sean: 4

It was a very quiet night from Marco, which is not what you want from someone who’s vital to our goal scoring efforts.

John: 7

Reus really should have been on the scoresheet. He worked hard, roaming all over Besiktas’s half. He created a few very good chances for his forwards.

Donyell Malen

Paul: 6

Sean: 6.5

Malen continued his positive trending season. He set up a couple shots for Erling Haaland that should have been converted, so he should’ve been rewarded with at least one assist.

John: 7

Good, but he’s definitely a work in progress. I like his potential: kid made two great passes that could have/should have been converted, but them’s the breaks.

Erling Haaland

Paul: 7

Sean: 6

Even on a quiet night, Haaland gets a goal. He’s absurd.

John: 6

What Sean said. It’s hard to appreciate how big and powerful Haaland is.

Subs

Axel Witsel

Paul: 4

Sean: 5

John: 4

I really liked midfielder Witsel back in the day, but he looks like a shadow of himself.

Marin Pongracic

Paul: 6

Sean: 6

John: 7

Youssoufa Moukoko

Paul: 7

Sean: 7

John: 6

He came on guns blazing, but he has to be a little more careful and patient.

Marius Wolf

N/A

Ansgar Knauff

N/A

Overall

Paul: 7

There were some excellent performances by a number of players, and on the whole I thought BVB looked really solid. The goal conceded near the end made things a little tense, in the dying moments, but it didn’t really reflect the game as a whole. Borussia Dortmund were the much better side, and fully deserved all three points. Traveling to a hostile environment and coming away with the win is a good start to the Champions League campaign. Hopefully they can put themselves in the driving seat by beating Sporting Lisbon next.

Sean: 7

Overall, I’m pretty satisfied with Dortmund’s performance. It wasn’t flashy and the scoreline won’t pop out at anybody, but the squad was by and large in control of the game from beginning to end. Besiktas never looked like threatening Dortmund until stoppage time, and even after they scored, I wasn’t too concerned that BVB would concede an equalizer. If the players had been a bit more clinical in goal, the game would not have been close.

John: 8

This 2-1 result was very flattering to Besiktas. They got their Ehrentreffer—a face-saving goal, but with better finishing the score might have been 3-1 or even 4-1. BVB was in almost total control of the game for the entire match. That’s very encouraging, especially in light of the ongoing concerns about the defense. No one is really worried about BVB’s offense. If there is any cause for concern to take away from what was a great game, I’d cite Brandt’s weak presence in the midfield. Teams with more robust midfielders and dynamic forwards will pounce on a weak point like that.