Borussia Dortmund kicked off their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 win over visitors FC København. The overall team performance was comprehensive with nearly two-thirds of the possession and 14 total shots. Dortmund fielded four UEFA Champions League debutants in Anthony Modeste, Salih Özcan, Nico Schlotterbeck, and backup keeper Alexander Meyer. An early muscular injury forced Thorgan Hazard off in the first half, but this turned out to be something of a blessing in disguise as substitute Gio Reyna made an immediate impact as a playmaker, eventually assisting two of Dortmund’s three goals. Marco Reus and Raphael Guerreiro put Dortmund ahead 2-0 by halftime. A strong midfield performance was capped with a late goal from Jude Bellingham to secure the victory.
Here are today’s nominations for Man of the Match: Midfielders Galore!
In the words of Walt Whitman, “O Captain! My Captain!” Once again, Marco Reus has shown that like a fine wine, he only gets better with age. Reus had a commanding performance in the midfield, not to mention his goal that opened the scoring. Reus had a high success rate in his passing, he pressed high when out of possession and he fell back when the defense needed support. If one were to watch Reus closely, one would see the depth of hand gestures he uses when directing his teammates. This was the performance of a true team captain.
In his 97th appearance in Black and Yellow, Jude Bellingham demonstrated why he’s such an important asset to this squad. He’s tough, and I’d bet he was the most-fouled player tonight. But Jude gets up and keeps on going. He was one of the most involved players in this match, seeming to have a touch or a dribble in nearly every attacking play. It’s amazing watching this kid play when I remember he’s just 19! Jude scored Dortmund’s third goal and was later handed the Captain’s Armband as Marco Reus subbed off in the closing minutes. Bellingham’s maturity in European competition will be remembered.
The best part about seeing Gio sub in so early is that he played about 70 minutes and never got re-injured! But seriously, this kid can play! Gio made an immediate impact when he entered the pitch. His footwork is world-class and he assisted both Guerreiro and Bellingham, the first of which he laid off after drawing the keeper out. Watching him dribble around defenders and chip the ball precisely to his teammates today reminded me of what a budding talent Reyna is. Fingers crossed that he stays healthy!
While Brandt did have a couple of skyward shots, his overall performance was positive and if Moukoko hadn’t gone for that howler near the end, Brandt would have likely made it 4-0. The German sent a stunning through-ball between three København players to assist Reus’s goal and also created several chances being the only Dortmund player able to cross the ball halfway decently. In addition, his work rate was stellar and looked like an extension of his weekend performance against Hoffenheim. I hope his exceptional run of form continues.
Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck gave fans a taste of what their defensive partnership will look like, assuming Süle stays healthy. Both players were strong today.
Rapha Guerreiro did score the second goal of the night and he put work in defensively to stave off the København attack.
Alexander Meyer made his debut in goal, covering for the injured Gregor Kobel. Meyer wasn’t called on too many times but he did make two saves and earned himself a clean sheet... He’s got a great last name too!
Sebastien Haller, though sidelined as he undergoes cancer treatment, was spotted in the stands cheering on his new club. It’s great to see.
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