Amidst the rainy weather in Dortmund, Terzic’s side put on a terrific display against Hoffenheim and secured their spot in the DFB Pokal round-of-16. Terzic made plenty of changes to the side with Niklas Süle, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Youssoufa Moukoko, Julian Brandt, and Julian Ryerson coming into the lineup. The changes did not lead to a dysfunctional product on the field, however, as Dortmund produced some of their best soccer this season. Giovanni Reyna, Julian Brandt, and Marco Reus took turns as playmakers while Jamie Bynoe-Gittens dribbled at Hoffenheim’s Ihlas Bebou over and over again. When the latter succeeded, Dortmund was near-guaranteed a good chance in the box.
After several blocked shots and missed opportunities, Dortmund finally scored in the 43rd minute in the exact fashion they had been attempting all game. Brandt, from 45 yards out, switched the side of attack to Reyna. From there, Reyna played a perfectly weighted ball to Bynoe-Gittens and he found Reus to bury it over the top of Baumann. It was Dortmund’s 14th shot of the game and third “Big Chance Created”. The stats from the first half display die Schwarzgelben’s dominance: 1.46 expected goals, 61% possession, 11 shots inside the box, and 51% of duels won. If anything, halftime came too soon for Terzic and company.
The start of the second half saw more of the same from the home side as Brandt, Bynoe-Gittens, and Youssoufa Moukoko all had chances within the first five minutes. Dortmund failed to find another goal, however, and Hoffenheim grew into the game. Donyell Malen and Ramy Bensebaini replaced Bynoe-Gittens and an injured Marius Wolf while Hoffenheim made several subs of their own. Later on, Felix Nmecha and Marcel Sabitzer came on to replace Reyna and Reus. Much of Dortmund’s creativity was on the bench by the 80th minute and Hoffenheim had the upper hand. Two late yellow cards on substitute Ozan Kabak saw Hoffenheim play down a man for the final minute and Borussia Dortmund were declared winners. Here are my takeaways:
Dortmund’s Three Blonde Musketeers
While the scoreline was 1-0, Dortmund displayed the peak of their creativity against Hoffenheim. The cause of that? Giovanni Reyna, Julian Brandt, and Marco Reus. The three midfielders, who are also competing for the worst platinum blonde haircut, were sensational in their ability to create goal-scoring opportunities. Edin Terzic rolled out an attacking pivot with Ozcan sat behind Reus and Brandt while Reyna played on the wings. The three blondes repeatedly switched positions and found the ball. It was no surprise that all three played their part in Dortmund’s goal. For a while, I was worried if Terzic could find a way to make Brandt and Reus work well at the same time. Now, it seems like he found a way for all three playmakers to influence the game and I am sure we will see this again.
The Teenagers Stake Their Claim
Alongside Giovanni Reyna, two other teenagers made their arguments for a starting spot: Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Youssoufa Moukoko. Bynoe-Gittens is an interesting player; no one on this Dortmund team likes to dribble more than him and he loves to run at a team’s right back and try to curl a shot in the top corner. Does it always work? No. Does it look goofy when it doesn’t? Absolutely. What this game showed, however, is that he forces players out wide to try and smother his dribbling. Add on his ability to find space in behind and you have the beginnings of a very dangerous winger. By the time his number was called in the 65th minute, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens completed the most dribbles, won the most duels, and racked up the assist in one of his best games to date. It seems like Dortmund are creating the perfect system for a tricky English winger to play in...
Youssoufa Moukoko will probably be frustrated with his game. He was quiet in the first half and probably should have a goal or an assist. Despite this, he continued to be a threat and showcased his ability to find space. Hoffenheim’s two center backs, John Anthony Brooks and Kevin Vogt are two of the largest in the league and coach Pellegrino Matarazzo instructed his side to not give Dortmund space to run into. Going against this, Moukoko still drew defenders away and looked threatening off the ball. He’s a very different player to Sébasen Haller and Niclas Füllkrug but that is why he is invaluable to the team.
- Dortmund’s defense was fantastic once again. The side recorded their fifth 1-0 win from 14 matches.
- Gregor Kobel's inclusion in the starting line-up is a great sign after he came off against Frankfurt.
- Özcan is in the best form of his Dortmund career. The Turkish international’s competition with the club’s captain, Emre Can, will be an interesting one to watch.
- With Der Klassiker coming up on Saturday, Terzic could have done a better job rotating the lineup. Julian Brandt played all 90 minutes despite returning from injury.
Give me your thoughts on today's 1-0 victory over Hoffenheim!