It felt that Dortmund were meandering through a hangover week following the loss to Leipzig, and a Friday game under the lights seems to have been just what the squad needed to get back to winning ways. A 2-0 win and a clean sheet will do well for the morale of the players in defense after a 4-1 shelling at home, but the match will be overshadowed by its injuries. Dortmund saw Gio Reyna, Mahmoud Dahoud, and Mats Hummels all withdrawn due to injury. With major games on the horizon including a visit to Bayern Munich, coach Marco Rose will be hoping that the players he lost today will be back in training ASAP.
Here are today’s candidates for Man of the Match.
A surprise inclusion in the match after Gio Reyna went down, Julian Brandt made the most of his time on the pitch. The German chipped in with a brace, scoring a tap in after a quality setup from Erling Haaland, and whizzing a knuckle-ball past Florian Muller to extend the gap. Brandt was not at his best today, nor has he been in the entirety of the Ruckrunde, but if Brandt is to convince the BVB brass that he still has a place in the team next season, he will need to produce close to that level in every minute he has left.
Can put in a quiet shift at right-back today, filling in at a position with no players left to play it. Can spoke in the post-game interviews about his desire to cement a role in the center of the pitch, but today he played admirably out of position. Can was assured in shutting down the Stuttgart attackers, and did well to move forward, almost finding Haaland on several occasions. Though he was not able to notch an assist, it was one of the better end-to-end performances from Can in recent memory.
Dortmund’s Swiss stopper was tested several times by the Stuttgart attackers but kept his net empty for over 90 minutes. A few tremendous efforts from Bona Sosa stretched Kobel to his full extent, but the keeper stood tall and defended the lead. Kobel was also, as always, assured on the ball and quick to react, snuffing out several keen through-balls played by Wataru Endo.
It was another industrious shift from the Englishman, who picks up a hockey assist for Brandt's first goal. Bellingham did well to pick out Haaland in an onside position, who turned provider for Brandt inside the Stuttgart box. Bellingham tracked back competently throughout the match, absorbing pressure from the Stuttgart midfield and adjusting well to the departure of Mahmoud Dahoud. Jude was unlucky not to pick up and assist on several other occasions when he marauded the ball toward the opposition goal.
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