Borussia Dortmund have now won two games out of two to start the Ruckrunde, courtesy of a late winner from Gio Reyna. While two wins are never anything to complain about, there’s still very obvious room for improvement.
In the match ratings following the Augsburg match, I said we’d concede off a corner soon. I did not expect it to be this soon. Less than two minutes in, BVB went a goal down after Jae-Sung Lee headed home at the near post following some shambolic marking from our new arrival, Ryerson. The Norwegian would go on to quickly redeem himself by levelling a couple minutes later with a deflected shot from outside the area. For much of the rest of the match, Dortmund dominated the ball but found opportunities hard to come by, as the resilient 05ers sat deep and suffocated our central creators with a very narrow defensive shape.
In the end, it was substitutes that made the difference once again, as a Julian Brandt corner was flicked on by Sébastien Haller and an unmarked Gio Reyna stretched to prod home from close range in the third minute of stoppage time. This goal could prove vital, as the three points mean that BVB will go into matchday 18 in 5th, only two points off Union in second place, and five off Bayern in first.
Here are our match ratings from a crucial away win:
Possibly could have done better with Lee’s header at the near post, but I’ll cut him some slack; it was pretty close in, and his view might have been obstructed by the crowd. Otherwise more or less unthreatened.
He made a few decent saves that kept Dortmund in the game long enough for Gio Reyna to find a winner.
A pretty unspectacular performance from our man in goal. Dealt well with everything thrown his way, even though it wasn’t much.
He looked better than he did on Sunday. He wasn’t nearly as exposed defensively, and he made some decent plays to progress the ball.
Guerreiro was better than against FC Augsburg, but that doesn’t really say much. He won none of his duels, he completed 0 out of his 3 long-balls, and he managed 0 key passes despite being most active in the opponents final third. Not good enough.
Good in the air and won his duels. A solid performance.
After another shaky performance against Augsburg, Schlotterbeck looked better yesterday, with a few important challenges won and good play on the ball.
Today’s stand-in captain looked very good, especially during phases of sustained possession high up the pitch.
He showed why he’s such a valuable part of BVB’s back line.
A top performance (barring his error that led to the first goal). Mainz’s extreme narrowness played into his tendency to hug the touchline, as he always looked an outlet on the right, causing problems with his pace and energy. Looked good defensively, too.
His goal was a little lucky and I don’t think he was necessarily amazing, but he was a perfectly serviceable full back who defended his man and didn’t make any major mistakes. Compared to the last few months of play from our full backs, that’s a darn miracle.
A cardless Can performance? In this economy? Well, well, well...
I mean, he was fine, but I don’t want the soft bigotry of low expectations to hit too hard here. Just because a player doesn’t make any catastrophic mistakes or get a yellow card doesn’t mean he was great.
Best player on the field today. Despite minimum game-time, Can stepped up to fill in for the missing Jude Bellingham. He didn’t make any major mistakes, and he was great in pressing and found the right pass more often than not (90% passing accuracy is pretty impressive).
This might seem a little harsh, but I think one of the main reasons for our inability to break down Mainz’s low block was Öz’s unambitious passing. Defensively good, but we could really have used Mo’s vision and passing range today.
I thought Özcan had a fairly standard game, hence the 6.
I didn’t think he was terrible, but at a certain point Donny really needs to start producing goals.
You could say that I’ve officially lost my patience with Donny. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with his body language or his attempts to be involved in Dortmund’s offensive activities. He’s simply just not good enough in his current state.
One of the victims of a Bellingham-less midfield. Can’s lack of forward movement and Öz’s lack of passing vision hamstrung him, as Mainz were able to outnumber him at almost every turn. Still created one of the game’s best chances (which JBG missed) and it was his corner that resulted in the winning goal.
Brandt had a hard time in midfield - mainly because he was our only creative force with Jude usually being his more offensive-minded midfield buddy. Mainz successfully closed him down, but he had some really sloppy moments as well. I’ll let it slide - he has been great lately.
Looked threatening with his energy and direct running, but was poor out of possession and wasteful with the ball.
I thought Adeyemi had a few decent dribbles here and there, and did have a shot that squirted over the bar, but overall, like Malen, was quiet. In fairness to him, there was an instance when Moukoko could have squared a ball to him, but instead sent a shot flying harmlessly wide.
Better than Donny, but not by much. Adeyemi successfully made himself dangerous on a couple of occasions, but he was still very lackluster - a word that is slowly beginning to define his first season in black and yellow.
Better than last game, but that really isn’t saying much. Had a good chance early on in the first half, but fluffed his lines. I was impressed by his hold-up play, however, as he was able to hold off the towering Mainz centre-backs time and time again. Unfortunately, that was the extent to which his performance impressed me, as it was a largely anonymous showing from him.
Moukoko has rewarded BVB’s contract extension with two quiet games. I know he’s still quite young, but far too often he’s completely cut out of matches. His only contribution was the missed chance to set up Adeyemi for a goal that I mentioned above.
Don’t. Be. So. Selfish. A nothing-performance from our young striker. I believe he’ll still get some goals, but his two first games after the winter break haven’t been great.
His play before the goal was a little frustrating, because he attempted several dribbles that all ended in failure, but when you get the GWG, you’re good in my book.
Was kinda bad, but had a game-winning tap-in. That’s a straight 6 right there.
I could copy and paste my comments for Adeyemi here. JBG has all the physical and technical ability in the world, but his lack of game intelligence is what’s holding him back from being a really top-level player.
If JBG can put it all together he’s going to be a great player, but he does occasionally have games like this where he goes quiet.
He did kind of blow a chance when a heavy touch pushed the ball into the keeper on a 1v1, but he also won the header that assisted Gio Reyna’s goal. He now has as many league assists as both Adeyemi and Malen.
Probably deserved to come on earlier than he did. Easily our best wide player today.
Had around 15 minutes on the field. Was serviceable in defending and ran for every ball. A smart substitution by Terzic.
I’ll never complain about three points away from home (especially given our dreadful away record). However, this was a below-average performance in many respects. I was especially disappointed by the wingers, all of whom (except Wolf) put in largely subpar performances. Mainz’s narrow defence and our midfield’s lack of creativity allowed the 05ers’ defensive midfielders to stifle Brandt, significantly reducing our ability to play through the middle, while the low block limited the front three’s opportunities for runs in behind. I really hope at least one of Reus and Mo is fit enough to play solid minutes against Leverkusen; they’re in great form, and it’ll take more than just the two JBs to beat them.
A win is a win, but BVB looked utterly pedestrian for much of the game. It’s going to be a massive problem if Dortmund continue to look toothless any time Jude Bellingham, Gio Reyna, or Sebastien Haller aren’t on the pitch.
I actually really didn’t like this performance. In fact - I thought it was worse than the one against FC Augsburg. We looked sluggish and incoherent for the entire game. We did have one decent period in the first half where we were able to retain the ball, but honestly, we didn’t do anything in possession. Mainz actually had two decent chances to get in front, and I feel like we were kinda lucky not to concede a second goal. I’m sadly not optimistic for the game against Bayer Leverkusen.