Round 2 of the Bundesliga saw Borussia Dortmund travel to the Black Forest to face Freiburg yet again, but this year in their new Europa-Park Stadion. Much of this game was giving me flashbacks to that loss against Freiburg at the same stage last season, and to be fair, Freiburg did look the better side for the majority of today’s match. Thankfully, Edin Terzic’s series of tactical substitutions ensured Nico Schlotterbeck’s homecoming would end with 3 vital points. Having lost in Freiburg the previous two seasons, I’m relieved to have broken the streak. Who knows, maybe we’ll also win in Munich soon!
In a very static first half, Dortmund found it difficult to put any pressure on Freiburg, and new signing Anthony Modeste’s debut was rather lackluster. In the 35th minute, Freiburg striker Michael Gregoritsch connected with a headed pass from Matthias Ginter and opened the scoring 0-1. The second half was equally nerving until BVB substitute Jamie Bynoe-Gittens’s powerful shot from range in the 77th minute was fumbled by Freiburg Keeper Mark Flekken, 1-1. 7 minutes later an impressive team display saw young striker Youssoufa Moukoko make the scoresheet, 2-1. The second half display was topped off by an incredible run from Marius Wolf who netted his first of the season as well to make it 3-1.
First off, I need to thank Edin Terzic, because without his substitutions today BVB would have lost and this MOTM poll would be so much harder to write. So here are today’s nominations for Man of the Match.
Though Kobel did concede that first-half goal, his overall performance was solid. He made several vital saves and stopped Freiburg’s attacking efforts, even acting as a sweeper at times. In addition, his ball handling and passing in the defensive third continued to be strong. This is the kind of consistency in goal that has been lacking at Dortmund in years past. Kobel will be disappointed to have not kept a clean sheet tonight.
The young Englishman substituted in for Thorgan Hazard in the 64th minute and it took him just 13 minutes to score. That goal was arguably the spark that Dortmund needed to fight for a win. JBG also displayed his potential with a series of impressive dribbles. He made a positive impact as soon as he entered the pitch. It’s not so long ago I was watching a young Jadon Sancho play and I would exclaim “He’s only 18!” Then I did it with Bellingham, and now I’m going to do it again: “He’s only 18!”. Happy birthday JBG!
It could be said that Moukoko had something to prove tonight. He’d started BVB’s prior two games and was now benched in favor of new signing Anthony Modeste. The young striker subbed in for Donyell Malen in the 70th minute and immediately made an impact. Moukoko assisted JBG’s goal and later struck one of his own, seeing Dortmund take the lead with just five minutes left of regulation time. Moukoko’s performance today will have Terzic thinking twice about his preferred striker.
After a first half in which Thomas Meunier picked up a yellow card and had little success in stopping Vincenzo Grifo’s attack, Terzic opted for a new tactic: He decided to #UnleashTheWolf. Marius Wolf brought much-needed energy into the second half. His sprinting speed was impressive and he completed a few dribbles that left me awe-struck. His performance was capped by the goal he scored to put this game to bed. Wolf has again showed his versatility with a top performance.
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