With a badly depleted lineup and facing a highly-motivated Borussia Mönchengladbach side, Borussia Dortmund were always going to have a difficult time taking three points from the Borussia Park. When news broke before the game that both Marco Reus and Erling Haaland would be absent from the lineup, no fans could have been blamed for feeling too pessimistic. Even measured against those lowered expectations, yesterday’s performance from BVB was very disappointing.
The match began, and BVB were immediately on the back foot. BVB’s back line looked shaky, the midfield collapsed under pressure, and the forward pair was nowhere to be seen. Denis Zakaria gave Gladbach a deserved lead in the 37th minute, and only three minutes later, the referee would seal Dortmund’s fate by awarding a second yellow card to Mahmoud Dahoud for complaining about a foul. It was soft as could be — it’s plainly obvious that the referee only awarded it in the first place because he forgot Dahoud was on a yellow — but it was the final nail in BVB’s coffin.
Over 90 minutes, BVB couldn’t muster a single shot on target. Keeping that in mind, here are our match ratings:
Kobel showed up to play on a day on which few other BVB players looked primed for a fight. He made a few solid saves and kept BVB in the game.
Hummels was very unfortunate on Gladbach’s goal. He managed to knock the ball out of Denis Zakaria’s possession, but his challenge deflected off Jude Bellingham straight back to Zakaria, who blasted the ball past Kobel. Otherwise, Hummels was fine defensively.
I thought he was our best defender. He looks very calm in possession, completely at ease with dribbling the ball out of pressure or picking a pass.
Like the rest of our center backs, I thought Akanji was a rare bright spot.
Gladbach did a good job squeezing BVB’s midfield and pushing the ball out wide, where Guerreiro had a tough time breaking their press.
Even ignoring the red card, Mahmoud Dahoud was genuinely awful in his time on the pitch. His passing accuracy rate was 55%! He let Zakaria and Koné completely boss Gladbach’s midfield.
Both yellows were harsh, but both came off needless fouls, so he didn’t help himself. He was doing more than others defensively, but he was poor in possession.
Strangely, Meunier actually handled Gladbach’s press better than Guerreiro. He had a good cross to Donyell Malen that the forward fired wide, and did a good job drawing a foul in a dangerous area that gave Guerreiro a good opportunity for a direct free kick.
It’s looking more and more like Witsel won’t be able to handle first-squad responsibilities this season. His Achilles injury may have been too much for him. He also somehow got in the way of a direct free kick from Hazard that seemed to be destined for the corner of the net.
Jude has been so good this season that it’s easy to forget he’s only 18. Unfortunately, this game served as a reminder that he’s still got a long way to go before he’s a world class midfielder.
I’m a little torn on Jude. I think he was working harder and making more happen than others, but I think that says more about the rest of the team, especially in possession, than it does about Bellingham’s performance.
He did attempt one shot that I can remember, but other than that, he was completely invisible. In 56 minutes on the pitch, he attempted five total passes. That shows what a minimal impact he had on the game.
I don’t think either of the forwards were particularly good, but I’m choosing to be slightly more generous than Sean, on account of the total lack of service they received. Both were still bad though.
I’m officially starting to worry about Donyell Malen. It would be one thing if he’s creating chances and missing them: any player can go through a period of poor finishing. What concerns me is that he’s genuinely creating nothing. He looks completely out of sorts with the rest of the squad, making uncoordinated runs and trying to take on multiple defenders at once, always in vain. If Haaland is going to miss more time, then Malen better sort himself out quickly.
My biggest concern with Malen is that he clearly needs more time to settle, but BVB need him now. I think he’ll be totally fine, in the long run, because he’s really not played many games for Dortmund yet, but unfortunately the team needed him to show up immediately. He has not.
Hazard had a pair of decent chances: One was from a direct free kick that Axel Witsel blocked, and the other was a header from the six yard box that he couldn’t keep down.
Knauff looked more dangerous in his 30 minutes on the pitch than Malen and Moukoko did combined.
Reinier looked more dangerous in his ‘six’ minutes on the pitch than Malen and Moukoko did combined.
That was rubbish.