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Match Ratings: Sexy Football is Back, Successful Football is Out

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Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images

Dortmund travelled to the Deutsche Bank Park full of confidence after having dispatched an in-form Newcastle United at St. James’ Park. Bolstered by the returns to fitness of Mouki and Jule Brandt (who made the bench), we took on a Frankfurt side buoyed by back-to-back Bundesliga wins for the first time this season. After a sizzling initial foray into Frankfurt’s box, however, the hosts took control of the half, raiding down our left time and time again, and winning a penalty (that has since been identified as an error by the DFB’s chief of referees). The penalty was subsequently converted by Frankfurt’s Egyptian international Omar Marmoush, who went on to double his tally—and Frankfurt’s lead—fifteen minutes later, after yet more slack defending down our left. Greg was forced off injured after being the unfortunate recipient of an accidental elbow to the face from Schlotti in the chaos prior to the second goal. Frankfurt controlled the half, and were unlucky not to get a pretty obvious penalty, but Sabi popped up to halve the arrears in first-half stoppage time.

Terzic made an uncharacteristic double change at half-time, opting to bring on Adeyemi and Mouki for Gio and Donny, and it was the latter who opened his scoring account for the season to level the tie. Unfortunately, yet more calamitous defending on our left meant that Fares Chaibi was left with the freedom in the box to finish past Alex Meyer less than fifteen minutes after we’d equalised. Late on, Karim reminded everyone of his searing pace, putting in a lovely cross for fellow substitute Brandt to tap home. We were then denied what appeared to be a stonewall penalty towards the end of the game, as Frankfurt’s young Swedish midfielder Larsson appeared to want an early shirt-swap with Schlotti. That was how the match finished, as both sides conceded three for the first time this season in a pulsating 3-3 draw.

Starting XI

Gregor Kobel - N/A

Made some enormous stops early on. Get well soon, Greg!

Ramy Bensebaini

Yash: 2

After a string of promising performances, Bens dropped an absolute clanger today, barely putting a foot right across the whole 103 minutes. During the first half it was so obvious that Frankfurt’s rapid right-hand side saw him as a soft target that Terzic had to field a pointed question about Bens’ poor performance in the post-match presser. In fact, having watched the game back, I note that every single one of Frankfurt’s best chances (and yes, that includes the penalty) comes from a moment of poor positioning or judgement from Bens. While Wolf’s tendency to go on headless runs upfield forced the defensive line to shift right and cover, he had no excuse for losing his man in the buildup to both Frankfurt’s first and third goals (despite a teammate actually yelling at him to cover his man both times). Frankfurt’s second also came from some awful positioning, as he was caught tracking Schlotti’s man instead of his own, leaving Frankfurt acres of green space down our left. Exposed multiple times by the effervescent Fares Chaibi- who collected the second-most shots and highest xA of any player on the pitch—this is not one he’ll want to rewatch.

Zac: 4

I was pretty cross with Bensebaini after the match, but after some review, I felt the fault is really on Marius Wolf. Wolf’s egregious positioning meant the entire defense was regularly shifting right, leaving Bensebaini to cover twice as much area. Still, several mistakes were his own.

Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Harry Langer/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Nico Schlotterbeck

Yash: 6

Unlucky not to win us a penalty in the dying moments. More or less stable throughout.

Zac: 5

The least chaotic of the bunch.

Mats Hummels

Yash: 5

Zac: 5

Picked up an injury, and struggled against the pace of Marmoush and Knauff.

Marius Wolf

Yash: 3

The penalty was ridiculous and I have officially given up on the handball rule. However, Wolf hung Mats Hummels out to dry multiple times, and it was only our veteran centre-back’s game savvy (and some poor Frankfurt finishing) that kept us in the game for quite a while. He worked as hard as usual and attempted a game-high seven crosses, but was only able to find a yellow shirt with two (though one did lead to our first goal), but he looked a shadow of the aggressive, tenacious wing-back we saw during the second half of last season.

Zac: 2

I love Marius Wolf. His commitment, his story. He’s great. He is not currently close to being a starting right back for this team.

Salih Özcan

Yash: 6

Tenacious and hard-working as usual.

Zac: 6

Marcel Sabitzer

Yash: 7

Lovely goal to bring us back into the contest.

Zac: 7.5

Eintracht Frankfurt v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images

Giovanni Reyna

Yash: 5.5

After a really bright first quarter of an hour, Gio went incognito for the rest of the half. Still, I’d probably stick with him given our current wide options and it’s lovely to see him starting again!

Zac: 6

Reyna was taking a lot of heat online for his performance, which seems harsh. He got into good space several times, but his influence waned and Terzic gave him a rest. Let’s show some patience.

Marco Reus

Yash: 6.5

Reus did not benefit from the chaos occurring behind him (and the lack of a creative partner in Brandt), as he was left a little isolated playing in the hole behind Fulle. He did, however, play an integral role in our first goal with a lovely, intelligent run off the ball.

Zac: 6

Donyell Malen

Yash: 5

Zac: 5

Malen earned a rest after a lot of minutes. He continued to make dangerous movements, but a goal currently eludes him.

Niclas Füllkrug

Yash: 7

Hard-working throughout and got himself a great assist for Sabi’s goal.

Zac: 6.5

Disappeared in the second half, and was outshone by Moukoko. Still, could be worse.


Alexander Meyer

Yash: 7

Coming on in the middle of a game is never an easy task for a goalkeeper, and Alex did a great job between the sticks in Greg’s absence. Can’t fault him for the one he conceded.

Zac: 7

Karim Adeyemi

Yash: 7

Reminded us of exactly what he’s capable of with a super assist for Brandt and collected an unusually clever yellow for a tactical foul, but was not at his best otherwise.

Zac: 6

Youssoufa Moukoko

Yash: 7

Showcased his striker’s instinct, playing in an unorthodox front pairing with Fulle.

Zac: 7.5

That boy needed a goal, and I’m thrilled it came for him. Moukoko is a joker in BVB’s attack because he shoots when others would pass. This doesn’t always work out, but when you’re chasing the game, you have to get some attempts on goal.

Julian Brandt

Yash: 6.5

Jule always seems to fizz when he’s on the pitch, and today was no different. However, I will dock him a point for the cheap giveaway that led to Frankfurt’s third (though I- and Edin Terzic- maintain that it’s a goal we really shouldn’t have conceded).

Zac: 7

While I understand Hummels’ frustration, I see what Brandt was going for, and pointing to his error to say “you caused the goal” is a little harsh. We’ve certainly seen Wolf/Can/Adeyemi lose the ball in that position for less.

Niklas Sule - N/A


Yash: 6

This was a very weird day, with some ABYSMAL individual performances. Terzic’s initial tactical plan might have worked had Bens and Wolf not completely forgotten that, as defenders, they are shockingly expected to carry out defensive work. Regardless, Frankfurt were by far the more dangerous side in the first half, outshooting and out-xGing us massively. Boneheaded defending aside, we also struggled to create for the majority of the game, and only really began to look dangerous with Brandt on the pitch as the game opened up in the latter stages. Frankfurt’s compacted lines and high-intensity counter-attacking game was almost reminiscent of our own performance against Newcastle, and, despite all our possession, the congested central area and the lack of a second playmaker meant that Reus’ influence was minimised for large spells. Our midfield was unspectacular, and we really couldn’t make our dominance count; we missed Nmecha’s influence in the latter stages as the game became more free-flowing and chaotic.

However, the second-half subs from Terzic changed our shape and injected some pep, with Adeyemi looking to have regained just a little bit of his confidence from last season; him and Mouki showed exactly what they are capable of in a welcome reminder of just how deep our squad is. This is a welcome sign, as the ridiculous intensity of the next couple of weeks is likely going to stretch our squad to the very limit, and Terzic’s readiness to adjust shape in-game will hopefully result in a better-rotated squad.

Zac: 5

BVB should have done better in this match. Frankfurt deserve credit for their performance, so I won’t say BVB should have won, but I’ll say they should have been better. Looking forward, a tough Hoffenheim match serves as an intense warm-up for Bayern Munich’s visit on Saturday. What looked like a very in-form Dortmund side will look very out-of-form on Saturday if the game against Hoffenheim is anything but successful. Rotation will be critical to win both, and Terzic needs to organize his squads to successfully navigate these challenges.

Your Thoughts

How did you rate our performance? How good is it to see Mouki and Karim contributing again? Let us know!