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Match Ratings: Borussia Dortmund Overcome Their Own Stupidity to Win 4-2 Against Union Berlin

Borussia Dortmund claim all three points thanks to incredible goals from Guerreiro and Haaland

Borussia Dortmund v 1. FC Union Berlin - Bundesliga Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund are a lot of fun. They keep us on our toes. They never let us get complacent. They’re making us grow as people, helping us develop a resilience, a mental strength that will serve us well in life. They also score a ton of bangers, and they win! We should appreciate that. We should cherish the good things in life. Winning isn’t easy, and Borussia Dortmund remind us of that every time we think we’ve got it in the bag.

Here are some ratings.

Starting XI

Gregor Kobel

Paul: 7

Zac: 6.5

A solid performance was marred by poor handling of the ball when Andreas Voglsammer managed to head the ball through Kobel’s hands. Otherwise, the Swiss stopper was solid between the sticks.

Raphael Guerreiro

Paul: 8

I thought Rapha had started the season slowly, but he’s starting to get going again now. Not only did he score that unbelievable volley, he also contributed five shot-creating actions (two of which created goals), and the second most ball-progressions behind only Thomas Meunier. When Rapha is at his best, there’s few left-backs in the world that come close.

Zac: 8

Incredible goal but also partly at fault for the penalty when he was beat by his man to the first ball.

Manuel Akanji

Paul: 7

Zac: 7

Mats Hummels

Paul: 7

Zac: 7

Hummels put in some crunching tackles and helped level the tempo of the game. As he grew tired, Dortmund lost control of the pace of play and were punished. This is not an indictment of Hummels, but shows how important he can be. His assist for Haaland’s second goal was pure class.

Thomas Meunier

Paul: 8

As mentioned earlier, Meunier produced the most ball-progressions of any BVB player, but he was also just behind Guerreiro for shot-creating actions, with three. The cross for Haaland’s headed goal was wonderful. Long may this Meunier form continue.

Zac: 8.5

The Belgian right back has been finding his feet this season, and put in a MOTM candidate performance today. His cross for Erling Haaland’s first goal was sublime, and he moved the ball down the right wing so effectively that Jude Bellingham was occasionally played out of the game.

Axel Witsel

Paul: 6

I’ve been a little critical of Witsel to start the season, but I thought he looked a lot better yesterday. He gave up the penalty for Union to score their first goal, but I’m not sure he had a lot of choice. Either way, I think he is clearly not the same player he was before his achilles injury, but he may not be completely finished yet!

Zac: 5

Mahmoud Dahoud

Paul: 6

Zac: 7

Progressed the play well and did his usual Dahoud-ey things.

Jude Bellingham

Paul: 7

It wasn’t the incredibly dominant performance we’ve seen from Jude a number of times this season, but I think he was still pretty solid. He produced three shot-creating actions, carried the ball well, and was BVB’s primary outlet for pressuring the opponent.

Zac: 5.5

Bellingham was a little off it today, by my measure. On a few occasions his passes failed to find the target, or broke up the play. Our young star was by no means bad, and cannot be expected to put up a 9 every match day. Don’t sweat it, Jude.

Marco Reus

Paul: 6

I didn’t think this was Reus’s best performance this season, but the good thing about him is that even when it’s not quite working offensively, he still guarantees plenty of defensive legwork and plenty of hard miles. It means that the baseline is usually, at worst, an industrious, hard-working offensive player, setting an example for everyone else when out of possession. I think that’s what we got yesterday.

Zac: 8

Reus was supremely unlucky not to find the net in the second half. He forced the own goal that strengthened Dortmund’s lead, then pinged a perfect free kick off of the post. The captain was visibly frustrated not to be on the scoresheet, but should be proud of his contributions today.

Donyell Malen

Paul: 6

Zac: 7.5

Malen put in a strong shift today, working hard off the ball to create space and fighting tooth-and-nail for his chances when they came. I think Malen is still adjusting to the team around him, but I rate him highly for making clear his determination.

Erling Haaland

Paul: 8

Haaland was pretty quiet throughout the game today, but for an excellent header and an audacious lob, both of which ended up in the back of the net. I’ll happily take 80 minutes of silence if it also comes with 10 minutes of match-winning brilliance. He has scored seven goals and picked up four assists in just five games, an average of 2.2 goals and assists per 90. He’s unstoppable.

Zac: 8.5

Today’s catalogue of Haaland goals showcased the incredible dynamism of the big man. His headed goal was a welcome surprise from a player who typically prefers the ball at his feet, and his volley showed exactly why he prefers it at his feet! Pure class.

Subs

Marius Wolf

Paul: 6

Zac: 6

Got stuck in and helped the midfield regain control of the pace of play. I have really been enjoying the return of Marius Wolf, and hope he can become a solid utility man for BVB.

Thorgan Hazard

N/A

Way to be back Toto. Keep it that way please.

Marin Pongracic

N/A

Youssoufa Moukoko

N/A

Overall

Paul: 7

There’s definitely a discussion to be had about BVB’s defensive struggles, but I’m willing to give them a few more games to fix those issues, given the injury problems. But for a couple dumb moments, I thought Dortmund played really well, and it’s no small thing putting four past Union Berlin. Solid win against a tough opponent.

Zac: 7

A little exciting, a little frustrating, a little unnerving from BVB this weekend. Maybe we need to give Marco Rose more time to get a grip on the way he wants the team to play and embody his philosophy. There are some serious bad habits in this team that five games at the helm are not going to undo. Dortmund are scoring goals, and that is good, but it feels as though there is a piece missing, that the team are not in the driver’s seat of their games. Honestly, I am hoping in the return of Emre Can the base of the midfield will be that piece, but time will tell. Three points in the bag, and onto the next challenge.