The wins just keep on coming for Borussia Dortmund. Despite looking lackluster so far this season, BVB are just one of three teams that remain undefeated in the Bundesliga, with Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich. On Friday, BVB faced a Hoffenheim side that has often acted as Dortmund’s bogey team, and when Hummels conceded a penalty following a careless pass to an opposing player, it felt like Hoffenheim might act as BVB’s spoilers once again.
Despite a handful of individual errors and a second half that saw Hoffenheim really piling on the pressure, however, Dortmund came away with the win. It is another good result despite a less-than-convincing performance, and at this point I’m struggling to make sense of the discrepancy between what I’m seeing on the pitch and the results. Either way, Dortmund now sit in fourth, just two points short of Bayer Leverkusen at the top of the table.
Here are our ratings from Friday night’s 3-1 win against Hoffenheim:
Kobel donned the captain’s armband and he played a pretty solid game, with a couple of wonderful diving saves. There was nothing he could have done to save the penalty. Andrej Kramaric scoring against Dortmund is as certain as death and taxes.
Probably being a little generous here. Ryerson had a solid game, certainly, but that silly little goal he scored is about 90% of the extra point I’m giving him.
How did Ryerson have that kind of energy after 95 minutes of football?
Dropped a clanger. It didn’t seem like the penalty was inside the box, so Hummels was a little unlucky on that front, but he seemed to struggle to get his head in the game after that mistake. He’s probably been out best player so far this season, but he wasn’t at his best on Friday night.
We can debate the foul that looked very questionably outside of the box, but Hummels had an uncharacteristically poor performance. His passing was off and his decision-making seems a split-second delayed. Shrug it off.
Have to give him credit for that late steal inside the box that surely would have been a late Hoffenheim equalizer.
The second yellow was dumb (though a little harsh) and he didn’t play well enough before that to get away with doing something so dumb.
I actually thought he was playing fairly well until that second yellow. So completely unnecessary, especially given how Florian Badstuebner was officiating. He was just waiting to send someone off for something boneheaded.
It seems like Nmecha is starting to find his feet at Dortmund, but I thought he struggled to have an impact on the game on Friday.
I thought Özcan’s minutes this season were going to be limited in favor of Emre Can, but now that Salih has started twice, I’m impressed. He doesn't contribute a lot in the build-up, but he has been solid in the holding role in midfield.
Although he picked up an assist, I didn’t think Brandt was at his best against Hoffenheim. It’s possible he needs a rest, but I don’t think he will get the chance with Dortmund relying so heavily on him for creativity in the final third.
Brandt looked tired, but when John Brooks took a heavy touch on the ball, it was Brandt who who took advantage, setting the ball perfectly for Füllkrug.
At the ripe old age of 34, Marco Reus is probably desperate for a rest. He just wants a bit of peace and quiet. But he is still a vital part of this Dortmund team, having picked up three goals and an assist in just 250 minutes of football. It is probably an indication of BVB’s failures to build for the future that we continue to rely on an old Reus so much.
He did the expected Donnell Malen things like sprinting is a straight line and firing a shot right at the keeper. However, he was brilliant in staying with ball when Anton Stach challenged outside of the box. So many players would simply flopped to the ground with that kind of shoulder-to-shoulder challenge. Yet Donny stayed with the ball and blasted it into the box, leading to Marco Reus to karate kick it into the net ahead of halftime.
Much like every game so far this season, I didn’t think this was a very convincing BVB performance. I’m glad that we keep getting the job done, despite not looking like a team that should be going on long unbeaten runs, but you have the question when these performances are going to come back to bite us.
I think a narrow win away to Hoffenheim is perfectly defensible, because they’re a decent side, but in the wider context, it’s concerning that we are yet to see a single convincing performance this season. I think Dortmund were fortunate to come away with all three points here, and they are going to need to find more if they are going to keep up this unbeaten streak in the coming weeks.
This wasn't a pretty win, but when does Dortmund EVER win convincingly???
It’s worth looking at a few things here, since I’ve been a bit more optimistic than some of my fellow BVB supporters. Hoffenheim was in their home stadium and coming off a four-match winning streak which included wins over Köln, Wolfsburg and Heidenheim. They won by two in Köln (BVB won 1-0 at home vs Köln), they won by two when hosting Wolfsburg (BVB won 1-0 hosting Wolfsburg), and they defeated Heidenheim on the road (BVB managed a draw when Heidenheim visited Dortmund). My point here, is that on paper, Hoffenheim were the better team. Yet Dortmund took home all three points from the PreZero Arena, breaking Hoffenheim’s win-streak. That’s not nothing.
While I don't disagree with all of the recent criticism directed toward Edin Terzic, I’d argue that he out-coached Hoffenheim’s Pellegrino Matarazzo on Friday. The team lined up very well and after Füllkrug’s goal, Dortmund looked to be in complete control of the match. The most troubling period of play was between Kramaric’s equalizer in the twenty-fifth minute and halftime. After that goal, the entire formation fell apart and we were lucky to manage a goal before the halftime whistle blew. Here’s where I think Terzic shined: we know he is capable of inspirational team-talks, and he managed to get the squad back on track for the second half, which was very physical and evenly-contested. We had a handful of close calls in our own box, but defensively BVB kept it together... Until Bensebaini’s dumbass red card. Terzic was barking orders at players and the squad accommodated. While I’d still suggest Süle should have come on sooner, Terzic’s subs helped BVB to see this match out. With Wolf moving into right-back, Ryerson moved to the left side and we all know what he did from there. Bensebaini’s red card was in the 71st minute and there were seven minutes of stoppage time so Dortmund played twenty-six minutes down a man, away from home and didn't concede to a team that has given us problems in recent seasons. If this match doesn't show progress, what does?
I think I mentioned this last week as well, but this squad needs to improve their passing. That’s all. Let’s hope for a strong home-match against AC Milan.
What did you think of BVB’s performance on Friday night? Are Dortmund trending in the right direction, or is this a stretch of good luck that is hiding a bigger problem?