According to tonight’s broadcast (this translates to my having done zero due diligence to check that a) I heard correctly and b) the claim is true), this was Wolfsburg’s first league victory over BVB in their last fifteen attempts. What a splendid way to spend a Tuesday evening. You know, I could have been out running through brambles, or punching glass shards. Why did I choose to stay in and watch this nonsense?
Well, let me tell you why I chose to stay in watch that aggressively rubbish game. It was because of all of you. You did this to me. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Absolutely disgusting.
Anyway, Borussia Dortmund looked bad, but to Wolfsburg’s credit, they also looked pretty good. They definitely deserved their win. According to Understat (used in place of FB Ref since they take longer to release match data), Wolfsburg put up 2.91 expected goals versus BVB’s paltry 1.3. What this tells you is that Dortmund probably should have picked up at least one goal, but also they might have been a little fortunate not to end up conceding three too, so that gets us nowhere.
Here’s my unhinged and unfiltered reaction to a game that doesn’t deserve my hinges or my filters.
Lots of Tired Legs Makes for Lots of Silly Mistakes
What a bunch of silly sausages. Jude Bellingham was taking a free jazz approach to possession retention, Nico Schlotterbeck was picking and choosing which of Wolfsburg’s attacks deserved a free pass into the penalty area, and Julian Brandt was so busy stat padding his key pass numbers that he had completely worn himself out by the end of the game, falling to the ground limp as Wolfsburg collected their Schlotterbeck free pass and finished the game off with their second goal of the night.
Look, I know we’ve made these excuses every single game for the last month, but I think there’s a lot of tired legs out there. BVB have had a reasonably deep injury crisis in the first half of the season, and that has asked a lot of the remaining healthy players. It really feels like some (but not all) of Dortmund’s problems would at least be helped by them getting some rest.
Good thing that we’ve got a World Cup coming up at the end of this month then! TURN YOUR BONES TO DUST FOR OUR ENTERTAINMENT!
Big Fridge Niklas
He’s big, he’s white, his chest is four foot wide, it’s Niklas Süüüüüüle, it’s Niklas Süüüüüüle (you have to pretend the second syllable in his last name doesn’t exist to make this work, but I’m flexible like that).
Süle hasn’t had a perfect start to life in Dortmund. He struggled for fitness in the first couple months of the season, and his form was a little patchy when he did eventually start to get regular minutes. But he’s really picked up lately, and I thought he was one of the few genuine positives tonight.
Not only was he defensively pretty solid (he did lose his man on the first goal, but I’m uncertain how strongly I feel about this being his mistake rather than rough luck), but he was also BVB’s best offensive player... By a mile too? He was barrelling forward like a steam train with a very loose connection to the track that is supposed to contain it, and when he made it into Wolfsburg’s half, he was making things happen. He even hit the post at one point.
He ended up putting up the third highest xG among Dortmund players tonight (0.21), and his combined xG + xA (expected goals plus expected assists) placed fourth (0.31). That’s weird AND bad. Good job team.
Why and How is Donyell Malen Good When Everyone Else is Bad?!
Alongside the 300lb German meatball that is apparently our best defender and our best attacker now, another unlikely bright spot reared its weird head tonight: Donyell Malen. It was hardly a virtuoso performance deserving of The Coca Cola Man of the Match Mountain Bike, but it was okay to decent, at least in the first half. Of the players that put up better underlying numbers than Saint Niklas, Donyell Malen was top of the pile, with a combined 0.59 xG + xA (the others were Julian Brandt after he forced everyone to shoot immediately after he passed to them, and Youssoufa Moukoko who was unable to convert BVB’s one actually good chance). ~0.6 is actually really good. I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe today is the day that Donyell Malen finally became a BVB player.
No, not really. Donyell is going to live a cursed existence at Borussia Dortmund, doomed to only play just well enough when BVB are rubbish for everyone to notice he wasn’t also rubbish, but not actually well enough for it to make any meaningful difference on the outcome of the game.
If you’ve read the entirety of the article above, and come away from that thinking I am sincerely asking you what your thoughts are about this game, I really don’t know what to tell you. Let us know in the comments!!!!