After a week of uproar about packed international schedules and the possibility of jet lag for the German National Team’s players, Borussia Dortmund came out for an Friday Night match and put those fears to rest with a dominant win against Werder Bremen.
Sure, a 1-0 win might not be the type of scoreline that pops off the page, but I actually really liked Borussia Dortmund’s performance today, and I think it may have been the club’s best of the season so far. Despite the close scoreline, BVB absolutely railroaded Werder Bremen for the vast majority of the match, outshooting them 17-5 and racking up an expected goals differential of 2.71-0.44. At no point was I really all that worried about BVB losing, or even surrendering an equalizer.
I think a big reason for this was the formation that Edin Terzic fielded. He returned to his trademark quasi-back three with Emre Can sitting very deep as a center back right between Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck, enabling him to either pick out passes to Julian Brandt, Felix Nmecha, and the other players further forward, or if under pressure, quickly escape by passing to a center back on either side.
While progression through the center suffered, with less than 20% of BVB’s advancement coming through the center, this did mean that BVB were comfortable in possession and helped negate pretty much any offensive potential that Werder could muster. Dortmund’s best chances, at least in the first half, came from the flanks, although it was eventually an exceptional pass straight through midfield from Emre Can to Julian Brandt that ultimately broke the deadlock for BVB. Dortmund managed to smother Werder for the remainder of the match, and while an insurance goal would have been nice, ultimately cruised to a very comfortable 1-0 win.
- Before today, I was very unimpressed with Felix Nmecha’s young Borussia Dortmund career. I struggle to remember almost anything that Nmecha had contributed positively before today, but against Werder Bremen he seemed like a very different player. Don’t get me wrong, he wasn’t perfect with his fair share of misplayed or mistimed passes, but he actually did a decent job of getting involved in midfield, beating multiple defenders on the dribble, playing switches out to the flanks, and on certain occasions, pushing straight into the box and creating chances for his teammates. On one run he took on multiple Werder defenders before picking out a pass right in front of goal to Donyell Malen right, who unfortunately couldn’t get enough power on the shot. Hopefully this is an arbinger of things to come for Nmecha.
- Even though he scored the winner with a very lovely finish, I actually didn’t think Julian Brandt had a great game. He was pretty poor on the ball, with a team-leading 22 possession losses according to Sofascore. I’d like more from Jule in future matches, despite his beautiful finish.
- I really liked Gio Reyna’s play off the bench. In only 28 minutes he contributed 0.34 xG+xA, nailed 27 of 28 passes, and drew multiple fouls. I hope his performance showed that he deserves more playing time moving forward.
What did you think of Dortmund’s game? Let me know your thoughts below!