A heart-pounding encounter at the Deutsche-Bank Arena fell the way of the visitors as Borussia Dortmund overcame an in-form Frankfurt side to climb the table to third place. With both squads contesting midweek matches, one might expect a tired, slow encounter from a hard-worked set of players. It was quite the opposite, however, as both sides ran each other ragged through a fast-paced 90 minutes of physical and intense football.
It was a critical win for Borussia Dortmund, who have now built up a solid head of steam going into the final matches before the World Cup. The win against VfB Stuttgart has been the catalyst for two professional performances, and Edin Terzic will be relieved to feel some of the pressure ease off his shoulders.
There were some standout performances and key team improvements; let’s take a look!
To any Switzerland fans who were worried about the loss of Yann Sommer, rest easy because Gregor Kobel is here to take that number-one spot for good. Kobel was more than a standout in goal today, he was undeniably world-class. Kobel made five saves on Frankfurt’s six shots on target, keeping his team in the game and bailing out his defense on multiple occasions. Despite an enormous collision with Mario Gotze, Kobel maintained his focus and form for all 90 minutes and was the central reason Dortmund walked away with three points tonight. The goalkeeping position has been a weakness for Dortmund since the retirement of Roman Weidenfeller, and Gregor Kobel has truly taken up the mantle between the sticks.
Should Meunier Return to the Starting Lineup When Fit?
It must be said, everything on the right side of the field for Borussia has been better since Meunier’s injury. Disclaimer: I am absolutely not saying it’s a good thing Meunier got injured and I wish him a speedy recovery. My focus is on the improvement of Karim Adeyemi with Niklas Süle at right-back. Süle and Adeyemi have shown a much more fluid ability to interchange the ball which has allowed Adeyemi more attacking freedom. Sule’s play allows Adeyemi to utilize his pace and get further up the field into threatening areas. Both in this match and the game in Manchester, Adeyemi has created far more threatening opportunities recently than he has all season. It seems that Meunier simply does not have quick enough decision-making to support Adeyemi, and it is stifling the winger’s impact. We discussed in the Daily Bee that Dortmund is interested in Ramy Bensebaini, but potentially those funds would be more wisely invested in a new right-back better suited to Adeyemi. To be fair, Adeyemi is Dortmund’s €35 million marquee signing, and Meunier is Dortmund’s aging and often inconsistent defender. It may be time to make an adjustment to get the best out of the young German.
Dortmund Win Dirty
It does not take mastery of footballing knowledge or history to know that Dortmund is bad at winning badly. Gritty, difficult games against BVB are memorable for so many opponents who look back fondly at “that time Dortmund wanted to win but then we just got a lil’ mean and a lil’ ugly, and then they just collapsed, hahaha.”
I remember a lot of those.
Today BVB were outplayed, no way around it. Mario Götze, Jesper Lindstrøm, and Randall Kolo Muani were excellent in attack, linking up and finding spaces in and around the BVB defense all game. Dortmund had fewer chances and far worse ball progression, but after 90 minutes, they won. Efficiency in front of the goal, slapstick defending, and a commitment to winning even if they had to do it the “hard way” set this Dortmund apart from squads in the past. Other Dortmund teams would have allowed a team like Frankfurt to rile them up and eventually pick them apart, taking three points Die Schwarzgelben could not afford to lose. Whether it is Terzic, the new back line, or new heated seats on the team bus, something has Dortmund approaching these games with more oomph, and it’s great to see.
Anthony Modeste’s touch is just tragic. Good lord. As I recall, the big striker lost the ball almost instantly every time he received it.
What did you think of the match? Where will Dortmund sit in the table when the World Cup begins? Let us know in the comments.