What a win! Who says BVB don’t have a winning mentality? Despite falling behind 2-0 in the first half of Saturday’s match against Eintracht Frankfurt, Borussia Dortmund battled back courtesy of goals from Thorgan Hazard, Jude Bellingham, and Mahmoud Dahoud, to win 3-2 and bring the gap at the top of the Bundesliga down to six points.
It wasn’t exactly a sparkling performance, as Dortmund failed to break through until the 71st minute, but it was enough for a win. Here are our match ratings.
I thought Kobel could have done better on the first Frankfurt goal, but other than that, he was pretty much perfect. He had one big save against Jesper Lindstrøm to keep the game close when it was 2-0. Lindstrøm was in a one-on-one against Kobel and could have iced the game if he had scored.
Kobel’s save to keep Lindstrøm out was redeeming, but I was really disappointed not to see him keep the first goal out.
This was Guerreiro’s worst game that I can remember. Hopefully, it’s just a flash in the pan.
Guerreiro marooned Hummels and Can all game, and did not for one moment look like he was going to catch Lindstrøm when he broke away.
Poor Hummels. He had to shoulder the burden of a pasted-together backline with two natural wing-backs and a defensive midfielder. Given these circumstances, he did about as well as he possibly could.
Hummels mentioned before the restart that his knee had finally healed, yet his teammates did their best to force him into re-injuring it. The return of Zagadou and Akanji will be welcome to the veteran center back.
Can got absolutely humiliated by Lindstrøm and was constantly out of position. He might be able to cut it as a defensive midfielder, but not as a center-back.
The one plaudit I will give Can was that he was feisty without getting sent off. We really need Can to perform in the midfield, so hopefully this is a step in the right direction.
Meunier looked decent in the attacking zone. He had a good shot in the first half that forced a strong save from Kevin Trapp, and he sent in a great cross to assist Jude Bellingham’s goal.
Still got cooked on one or two counters, but his assist to Jude did basically save the game.
Bellingham wasn’t his usual dominant self. Like the rest of the midfield diamond, he spent a lot of time chasing the play as Frankfurt switched the play back and forth around them. You have to say, though, that he came through when it counted when he scored the equalizing goal.
I am giving Jude a little more than I think his performance deserved because, as we often forget, he is still 18. The composure to apply a glancing header to a ball crossed into a crowded box with mere minutes left on the clock is something even the best in the game struggle to do. That was a world-class moment.
Like Bellingham, Dahoud had a pretty poor game in midfield but made up for it with his last-minute equalizer. It’s pretty clear that he doesn’t have the positional sense to play as a #6. I would prefer if Can or even Witsel could play that position in the future because Dahoud often leaves it vacant.
The last time Dahoud played the #6 competently was against Schalke. Think about the circumstances there. It’s just not his locale.
He looked horrible any time he wasn’t in the attacking zone. Bringing Thorgan Hazard on for Julian Brandt was a good change, and it quickly paid off.
It was really disappointing to see such a poor performance from Brandt, but in truth, Frankfurt played him off the field. With Gio Reyna returning to the squad, this could not have come at a worse time for the German.
Reus was pretty quiet, and like the rest of the midfield, did a lot of ball chasing.
Let’s forget that Reus handed Frankfurt the second goal. Where is Dr. Strange when you need him?
Haaland got a few long-range shots off and assisted Hazard’s goal, but other than that he wasn’t his typical dominant self.
As I noted in the observations, the tactics against Frankfurt as well as Frankfurt’s setup just took Haaland out of the game.
For the first 70 minutes, Malen looked like the most likely player to find a goal. He was challenging Frankfurt’s back line with dribbles and created a few chances that his teammates couldn’t convert. He also had a great chance near the goal line right at the end of the first half that was denied, first by Trapp and then by the post.
Donny. Donathan. Donfred. Please try using your left foot, I hate mine too but new year, new hair, new use of the left foot. Isn’t that what they say?
Hazard’s substitution changed the game. The formation went from a disorganized diamond in midfield to a 4-2-3-1 with Dahoud and Bellingham in a double pivot. Meunier and Guerreiro were no longer the only threats along the wing, and Dahoud and Bellingham performed much better without Brandt’s horrible turnovers to mess with them.
I am desperate for Thorgan Hazard to put his injury crisis behind him because his influence in this game demanded more minutes on the field in the future. Maybe Thorgan is better placed as our joker like a certain Paco Alcacer of old, but this game was three points lost without Hazard. One of our readers pointed out the value of getting Hazard and Malen out wide to service Haaland better. I imagine Rose will be considering this same strategy after this weekend’s result.
Look, most of it wasn’t pretty. I’ll go even farther, and say that most of it was downright ugly. But the final 20 minutes showed a lot of fight, more than we’ve seen from the club in a long time. I’m happy that the squad was able to fight back; I just wish they didn’t need to come back!
As I mentioned in the observations, I’m not putting on my rose-colored glasses and singing Allez Allez after this one. Dortmund dug deep for a win against Frankfurt, but they barely got the shovel out against Hertha. Dortmund continues to find itself in a state of transition, and some of that owes to what Rose inherited. Instead of guiding the team toward what he wants to see on the field, the head coach has been forced to put out injury and COVID fires left and right. Hopefully, the whole squad can start to turn the corner soon.