Even though the Black and Yellows grabbed all three points today, I’m once again left with a sense of annoyance. I don’t even know if annoyance is the right word. Maybe it’s anger, maybe it’s grief, or maybe it’s just me being tired of looking at Malen and Adeyemi doing absolutely nothing, only to be subbed off after an hour. This particular game is probably the most boring BVB-game I’ve watched in a while. It was a sloppy and incoherent display from both sides, and the match didn’t have any rhythm due to endless misplaced passes, free-kicks and throw-ins.
Bo Svensson’s Mainz-side has been notoriously hard to crack, but this season they’ve really had a fair share of problems - especially in terms of getting goals. But today, the two sides on the pitch looked evenly matched for long stretches, and once again it was Dortmund’s depth that secured the victory. The good news is that 3 points are 3 points. Die Schwarzgelben can under no circumstances afford to lose points - especially against lesser teams, and even though it was really too close for comfort, it still counts the same in the table. Here are some observations from today’s win.
The Team Missed a Certain 19-year Old Englishman
Jude Bellingham was sidelined after he received his 5th yellow card against FC Augsburg, and the Englishman’s presence was clearly missing. As a result of the absent Bellingham, the initiative to drive the ball forward from the central midfield together with Julian Brandt was in the hands of either Salih Özcan or Emre Can. Brandt is good at doing this, but with only one offensive-minded midfielder in the starting XI, it was easier for Mainz to close him down when he attempted to move the ball up the field.
Dortmund just missed that spark. Jude literally did everything against Augsburg that the team didn’t manage today. He beat defenders to open up space, he delivered the final pass, and had dangerous shots on goal (and one which actually resulted in a goal). On the positive side, he’s going to be available again for the game against Bayer Leverkusen in the weekend.
Emre Can had an Impressive Cameo
Jude’s substitute was a man who has been handed a fair share of criticism through his time at Dortmund. Emre Can slotted right into the midfield next to Salih Özcan, and honestly, he did a pretty good job! For someone who has only had small cameos off the bench lately, Emre Can was secure in possession and relentless in his pressing. He also managed to not get a yellow card or get dispossessed for a turnover.
Emre Can completed 90% of his passes and he hit all but one of his nine long-ball-attempts. He was solid defensively, and I don’t believe he was dribbled past even once. It’s good to see that Emre can (lol) still has some fire left in him, and after this performance, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him start over Özcan against Leverkusen.
The Subs Strike Again
Let’s be honest - our depth won us the game once again. I haven’t yet watched Terzic’ post-match press conference, but I hope he addresses the fact that this surely can’t continue. Dortmund played empty, uninspired football for a full 90 minutes today, and we can’t count on a miraculous set-piece or a thunderous strike from Gio Reyna time and time again. In my opinion, Terzic really needs to reconsider his starting XI. Malen and Adeyemi have been producing absolutely nothing for too long now, and even though I root for them both, Gio has shown that he’s ready to show up whenever he’s fielded.
- What a game from Julian Ryerson! He shrugged off his bad marking for the first goal and delivered a solid all-around performance today, topped off with a goal.
- Haller showed that he has the exact skillset that BVB bought him for. His flick to Gio for the goal was great, and he towered above the Mainz defense - just as you would expect.
- Mouki really needs to stop being so selfish. He could easily have squared the ball to Adeyemi in order bring his team in front. This is not the first time it has happened, and it clearly frustrates his coach and his teammates.
What were your thoughts on the game? Do you agree with my takes? Let me know in the comments below!