Just about everybody went into tonight’s Champions League match against Manchester City expecting Borussia Dortmund to lose. Certainly no one was predicting that BVB would be 1-0 up having conceded zero shots on target after an hour. For just a brief moment, I thought I might be writing this Man of the Match article after a huge 1-0 away win for Dortmund.
Sadly, it wasn’t to be. Despite a brilliant effort by the Black and Yellows, Manchester City’s persistence, and their ridiculous depth, eventually broke the dam. Two quick goals, one a screamer from John Stones (that Meyer really should have done better with) and another a freakishly athletic effort from Erling Haaland, saw City snatch all three points in the last ten minutes of the game.
It was a crushing defeat, but BVB can hold their heads high despite coming away with nothing. They were brilliant for 80 minutes of the game, and they kept the best team in the world in check better than most teams will muster this season.
For me, Özcan wasn’t just Dortmund’s best player. He was the best player on the pitch, by some distance. He was exactly where he needed to be at all times, and in a game where you expected him to contribute a lot defensively (and he did... he contributed a lot), he was also really, really good in possession too.
Jude broke free from Manuel Akanji and Erling Haaland to get the all-important touch on Marco Reus’s cross in to the penalty area, scoring BVB’s only goal of the game. For a moment, it even looked like it might have been the winning goal. But it wasn’t meant to be.
Bellingham coupled that goal with and a hard fought shift that kept City’s terrifying midfield in check. This kid really never stops running. Along with every other Dortmund player on the pitch tonight, he deserved more from this game.
The captain came close to opening the scoring, after scorching Manuel Akanji, and then delivered a peach of a cross for Bellingham to put BVB ahead. He was making the offense tick for Dortmund in the second half, and he put in a real shift in defense.
There were a few groans when the team was announced and Nico Schlotterbeck was on the bench. Mats Hummels is old and slow and he’s old and very slow and he’s really, really old and really, really slow. But he’s still a very good player, and he showed that tonight. He was tremendous from start to finish. He made so many important interceptions and tackles, at moments when City looked destined to get a clear shot on goal. He may be old and slow, and he may not be able to play week-in, week-out, but he can still contribute a lot.
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