Wow. Just... wow.
About an hour ago, only one half of football into the second half of the BVB season, I was about ready to crawl down into a hole and hide for another Winterpause. Borussia Dortmund were down 2-0 to Eintracht Frankfurt, and it looked like BVB were going to pick up exactly where they left off in December: dropping points to a team they should be beating.
Then, the magic happened. In the 71st minute, Thorgan Hazard snatched a goal to make it 2-1. I didn’t really think a comeback was going to happen, but it at least made the game close. When Jude Bellingham equalized in the 87th minute, I was happy that BVB had tied the game, but I didn’t think it was very likely that they would actually go out and win the whole thing. Then, in the 89th minute, Mahmoud Dahoud curled a magnificent shot past the outstretched arms of Kevin Trapp, and I kinda just started jumping around screaming.
I don’t think many members of the team played particularly well today, but they showed a ton of effort in the second half and were rewarded for their efforts. Here are my candidates for Man of the Match Poll:
For the first 70 minutes of the match, I thought Malen was BVB’s best player. That wasn’t a very high bar to clear, but he actually was the one most likely to create a chance. He beat quite a few Frankfurt defenders with dribbles and created a few chances that his teammates couldn’t convert. He also had a pair of close-range efforts denied by Kevin Trapp and then the post in short order right at the end of the first half. I feel bad, then, that he wasn’t actually involved in any of the goals, because he deserved to be.
This is what we call “recency” or “outcome” bias. Dahoud was not very good in midfield today. I’m not even entirely sure what his position was supposed to be. I think it was supposed to be the #6, or the “bottom” of the midfield diamond, but he often left it completely vacant, leaving the defenders nobody to pass to when under pressure. It was the root cause of a lot of BVB’s tactical problems today.
That being said, when you score the dramatic last-minute match winner, you get nominated for MOTM. I don’t write the rules.
I could write almost the exact same thing about Bellingham, other than that I’m slightly more confident he wasn’t the #6, and that he scored the dramatic equalizer instead of the match winner.
Kobel should have had a stronger hand on Frankfurt’s first goal. I won’t deny that. But he also made this save:
It wasn’t a great finishing attempt from Jesper Lindstrom, but still, if Kobel hadn’t made that save, there wouldn’t be a comeback for us to be discussing.
Who was your MOTM?