Borussia Dortmund found a way to get the job done on Saturday evening, through goals from Julian Brandt and Jude Bellingham, but it wasn’t pretty... In fact, that might be a little generous. It was at times downright ugly. The xG from the game paints a pretty clear picture. Frankfurt led 1.9 to Dortmund’s 0.7. But despite struggling, BVB held on to a 2-1 lead and came away from Frankfurt with all three points.
The vital three points kept Dortmund within touching distance of the top of the table, trailing Bayern Munich by just three points, but it’s clear that they’ve got basically a whole squad in need of a rest at this point. Luckily BVB are facing Copenhagen in the Champions League this week, with nothing on the line, so hopefully they will get a little bit of rest before the Bochum game next week.
Here are our ratings from BVB’s tired performance yesterday:
There was a little too much activity around the net, but Kobel was having none of it has he made save after save after save. His rock star performance was absolutely the tipping point allowing Dortmund to walkaway with three points. O glorious, San Kobel!
Kobel is the reason BVB were able to walk away with three points. He saved almost a full goal above his PSxG. To say that he stood on his head in the second half undersells just how reliant BVB were on him.
Hazard got caught out far too often on the defensive end, and wasn’t effective enough in offense to make up for it (we call that a Guerreiro).
As Paul mentioned, Toto was a bit too aggressive which allowed Frankfurt too many counterattacking opportunities. Aside from that, he seemed to generally struggle with defense.
I feel bad for Hazard. He’s not a wing back, but he was put into that position through sheer necessity. Frankfurt clearly tried to take advantage of his weakness in this regard, and were met with success.
Schlotti just didn’t seem as present throughout the match and despite making a crucial goal line clearance, there were too many other errors. Maybe he didn’t have enough coffee before the match.
Schlottigott had a few mistakes but the entire team was a mess so I’m not inclined to blame him, especially when he had that goal-line clearance and won a few other significant tackles.
Mats has been enjoying a renaissance of sorts over the past several matches and this was no exception. He showed up to play and it was obvious as he prevented several key Frankfurt attacks and came out on top for most of his duels.
Hummels was the steadiest of BVB’s center backs. At this point I genuinely think he might be the best center back at Hansi Flick’s disposal for the upcoming World Cup.
Süle really showed up in the first half...I rewatched the play leading up to Brandt’s opener and when Adeyemi lost the ball, he helped maintain possession and literally set the ball in motion for the goal. Unfortunately, there weren’t many other standout moments in the second half.
Was a bit of a ghost at times. Far too easy to play through. To be fair to Özcan, he wasn’t alone in his failure to shield the defense, but that’s not exactly the most ringing endorsement...
Özcan really was better suited to sit this match out on the bench, and I say that with love since I am obsessed with him. The Frankfurt side continuously left him in the dust and he made a poor decision during Frankfurt’s buildup to the equalizer.
I think a 4, if anything, is generous. He was a turnover machine and weak defensively. I thought this was his worst performance in a BVB kit.
Struggled in the first half, but came out firing in the second half, scoring just after the break. It wasn’t a brilliant performance, but his grit and his ability to get under opponent’s skin was much needed late in the game.
Sure, Jude played a part in Frankfurt’s goal, but he was relentlessly determined throughout the match and scored a second goal for BVB to reclaim the lead which is a lot more than what some of his teammates can claim.
I appreciate his grit and his determination, and the goal was well-taken, but it really wasn’t a great night for Jude. He made a lot of careless mistakes in possession and, along with Özcan, let Frankfurt cut through BVB’s midfield like a hot knife through butter.
Brandt seemed to peak with that stunner of a goal in the first half as there was not much else of note about his performance.
In addition to his pretty goal, Brandt did a good job pressing against Frankfurt. This is one aspect of his game that has noticeably improved this season.
Still not really impressed with Adeyemi just yet...he was okay, but lucky more than anything.
I’m gonna need this fella to start, you know, doing stuff.
Credit where credit is due, I thought Malen had a pretty solid first half. His work on the assist was excellent, and he had a couple other bright moments. His performance in the second half was significantly less noteworthy, but we take what we can get with Donyell!
Like Brandt, he seemed to peak with his assist in the first half and his game really petered out after that.
His assist was well-taken, but outside of that he was very quiet.
On the whole it was a pretty quiet game from Moukoko, but his touch to assist Bellingham’s goal was excellent.
It wasn’t the typical Moukoko game as he likes to be more involved, but was rather limited. That assist though...
(see my explanation for Donyell Malen)
He was prepared to back his teammates when things got a little feisty. I’ll give out some credit for that.
Part of a trio of subs after the half, Gio was unable to make much of an impression and picked up a yellow to boot.
Modeste’s skillset is really very singular; bringing him on after the half was questionable to me unless the purpose was to really give Moukoko a rest.
The dude’s inability to hold onto the ball for more than a few touches was a huge detriment towards the end of the match when the rest of the squad was exhausted and he was the freshest man off the bench.
Coming on for Brandt, Can also picked up a yellow but did little else (good or bad) to tip the scales.
Can’s reaction to his yellow card had me rolling on the floor.
Wolf was the final substitution of the match, relieving Adeyemi in the 69th minute (I wasn’t sad to see him go) and helped the squad see the match through to the end.
In reality I think the performance was worth less than a five, perhaps considerably less, but I think a certain amount of credit is earned when a team finds a way to scrap their way to a victory in a game they’re not on top of. It was very clear the BVB players were tired after the tough fixture in the week, but they managed to dig in and get all three points. That redeems what was otherwise a poor performance.
Writing these ratings certainly wasn’t as fun as it was for me last week...some described this victory as a “dirty win” and while that may be true, a win is a win is a win. There were several highlights (many mentioned above...I mean, Hummels...) so it wasn’t as though Dortmund was not entirely undeserving of the three points. We’ve seen our beleaguered team allow fatigue to get the better of them but that was not the case against Frankfurt and that is a win in and of itself.
I think it’s best to avoid being results-oriented, and outside of the result, yesterday’s performance was quite a stinker. Frankfurt were better in every aspect of the game besides goaltending and finishing. Fortunately for BVB, those two things tend to matter an awful lot and can negate disparities in every other aspect of a match. This game showed that BVB desperately miss Mahmoud Dahoud in midfield, and that starting the season with only one full back at each position will continue to be an issue as the season progresses.