What a thrilling match! Dortmund needed to use their momentum from Matchday 18 to really get the train rolling in an important month for both their silverware hopes. A set of headed goals from one of the most respected poachers in the modern game, Thomas Meunier, gave Dortmund the lift they needed and from there on they looked (almost) faultless.
Dortmund controlled every minute of the first half, allowing only one measly header toward their goal if it even counted as a shot. Dahoud, Bellingham, and Brandt masterfully pulled the strings to keep SC Freiburg pinned into their half. Brandt laid on two sublime corners for Meunier to head home, and Haaland capped off with a neat finish for three.
In good BVB fashion, the team let off the gas just enough in the second half to allow Freiburg a lifeline, but Erling Haaland had his sights set on a second and he took it with the utmost class.
Here are today’s candidates for Man of the Match!
Key Stats: 4 tackles, 2 goals, 6 aerial duels won
Did anyone doubt that Meunier had this in his locker? No, we—yes. Yes, we all did. But that is in the past now! Meunier has been progressing toward the top of his game all season, and today he was at his absolute best. Both headers from the fullback were exceptionally well taken and would have beaten even the best of goalkeepers. Beyond his work in attack, Meunier was also very solid in protecting his side of the field, consistently winning the ball high up the pitch to turn Freiburg’s counters right back into Black and Yellow possession.
Key Stats: 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 key passes
A truly outstanding performance from Dahoud was rewarded with his second goal in as many matches. Dahoud struggled to underpin the midfield against Frankfurt, but today he worked tremendously with his fellow defenders and midfielders to carry the ball forward, open up space, and allow the forwards to seek out space to create chances. His highlight came for Haaland’s second goal when he showed immense commitment strip Freiburg of possession, ride a challenge, and lay on an inch-perfect ball for the Norwegian to smash home.
TWO FOR HAALAND!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 14, 2022
He can't be stopped right now pic.twitter.com/iNNGIMNNfl
Key Stats: 2 assists, 4 key passes, 92% pass accuracy (best)
I lamented Brandt’s performance after the Frankfurt match, where he lacked creative vision and was pressed off the pitch by the opposing midfield. Today was a different gravy from the German, who used his ability to influence build up and set pieces excellently. Brandt’s delivery from the corner flag was standout, causing trouble for the Freiburg defense all game. In several passages of play, he and Reus were passing circles around the opposition, exchanging space and the ball fluidly. The influence of Marco Rose in the last five days cannot be overstated, as 11 players who looked alienated from each other for 70 minutes in Frankfurt looked completely zoned in today.
Key Stats: 2 goals, 1 key pass, 1 “drought” ended
He is big, and he cannot be restrained. Erling Haaland at the double, what would you expect. If Dortmund is going to play well, Erling Haaland is going to make sure he gets in on the action, and the Norwegian returned to scoring form in some style, with two exquisite finishes to embarrass Benjamin Uphoff. It was Haaland’s hunger for goals that snapped Dortmund out of their post-halftime slump, and the importance of his energy and drive did as much for the whole team as his goals.
Honorable mentions go out to Jude Bellingham and Donyell Malen, who both worked tirelessly in support of the team effort and created some great chances for themselves as well.
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