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Match Ratings: 10-Man Dortmund Succumb to Grass Ball Sport

Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig - Bundesliga Photo by Hendrik Deckers/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images

After an abject showing against Stuttgart, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t resigned to a complete capitulation at home against a thus-far inconsistent Leipzig side. However, Dortmund opened strongly, with Jule, Marco and Fülle controlling possession and JBG providing a more direct outlet. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to last, as a Leipzig clearance took a deflection off the returning Meunier, sending Openda in behind our backline with acres of green to run into. He was taken down by Hummels, who was subsequently dismissed. Dortmund looked a little shell-shocked for the next quarter of an hour, but Leipzig were unable to make their dominance count until Bens broke the deadlock with an inch-perfect header into his own net. The goal seemed to stir something in Dortmund, as they took the game to the travelling Roten Bullen, levelling before half time after Julian Brandt found an unmarked Niki Sule with a sensational first-time cross.

After the break, Dortmund were a little slow out of the traps and Leipzig took full advantage of both our centre-backs experiencing simultaneous headloss to make it 2-1 through Christoph Baumgartner. The second half was back-and-forth, with Dortmund having the lion’s share of the ball but Leipzig creating chances in bursts. After the 75-minute mark or so, however, it was all one-way traffic with our 10 men bossing the contest and forcing Leipzig ‘keeper Janis Blaswich into several important saves. Terzic reacted by bringing off both full-backs for Donny and Gio to turn the heat up further, but it was Leipzig who took advantage of our tired legs and lack of defensive cover with Poulsen sending Schlotti for a hot dog to score Leipzig’s third in injury time. There was, however, time for yet another twist in the tale, as Fulle headed in a superb Brandt delivery to reduce the arrears. We pressed on, with Niki extremely unfortunate not to score a spectacular second, but that was the end of the goalscoring action. Here are our match ratings from a courageous but ultimately unsuccessful performance:

Starting XI

Gregor Kobel

Sean: 8

Kobel conceded two goals on 2.1 PSxG (I’m not counting the own-goal) over six saves. For much of the game was the only reason that BVB were even in the game. I’m really starting to feel bad for him, with how much he’s being let down by his teammates.

Yash: 7

Ramy Bensebaini

Sean: 3

His own goal was, in fairness, a strong header, but it was unfortunately in the wrong net!

Yash: 1.5

Dortmund fans, I hope your apology letters to Rapha are already written. If not, get to writing.

Nico Schlotterbeck

Sean: 2

Was beaten to the rebound by Baumgartner and was completely undressed by Youssuf Poulsen on Leipzig’s third goal. One of the worst performances I’ve seen from Schlotterbeck.

Yash: 1

Calamitous. The blame for two of the three goals could be laid at his door, with the second a really obvious sign that he needs a more experienced and communicative central partner; he simply isn’t ready to lead the backline yet.

Mats Hummels

Sean: 1

I really don’t understand what Hummels was thinking there. He was either going to concede a penalty or get sent off, and either outcome would have been much worse than simply allowing Kobel to do his best to save the shot. Instead, Hummels put BVB down a man for almost the whole match.

Yash: 1

Clanger from him there; the red turned the tide of the game and rendered the defensive line entirely rudderless without his commanding presence.

Thomas Meunier

Sean: 5

He looked completely out of his depth at the start but more or less grew into the game.

Yash: 6

Emre Can

Sean: 4

Yash: 5.5

Fought hard and was a great driving force in the centre of the pitch, but gave the ball away a little too often for my liking.

Salih Özcan

Sean: 5

Yash: 6.5

Seemed to be under the impression that the Leipzig players had been put in his path simply to be the recipients of crunching tackles, which I appreciated.

Jamie Bynoe-Gittens - N/A

Borussia Dortmund v RB Leipzig - Bundesliga
Jule was exceptional today
Photo by Hendrik Deckers/Borussia Dortmund via Getty Images

Julian Brandt

Sean: 7

Had two assists, including a gorgeous cross to Niklas Süle.

Yash: 8

Masterminded everything going forward, with the highest xA and most chances created of anyone on the pitch. Picked up two assists as well, with the first a perfect display of both his intelligence and technical ability.

Marco Reus

Sean: 4

Yash: 6

Worked his socks off as usual and paired well with Brandt; on days where he doesn’t make headlines, he remains an extremely important contributor in and out of possession.

Niclas Füllkrug

Sean: 5

Scored a garbage time goal off a corner after doing nothing else all game.

Yash: 7

Put himself about relatively well as usual and scored a header to give us some hope in the dying moments.

Substitutes

Niklas Süle

Sean: 6

I thought he played pretty well after coming on, and he scored a very lovely goal to give BVB fans a false sense of hope.

Yash: 5

Had a horrible moment that led to us conceding the second, but also scored and was desperately unfortunate not to get one deep into injury time.

Karim Adeyemi

Sean: 3

Good for, by some quick math on FBRef, 8 turnovers out of 21 total touches. Lovely stuff.

Yash: 3

While Karim’s explosive pace and off-ball movement did contribute to the game opening up a bit, it was all for nought as he repeatedly gave the ball away cheaply.

Donyell Malen - N/A

Giovanni Reyna - N/A

Overall

Sean: 3

Lately, I find that in these overall sections I’ve been reacting to what Edin Terzic has to say about the game. In his post-match reactions he said that he thought the club played well despite being down a man for 80 minutes. I suppose this might technically be true, but I’m just so sick of this team playing like crap that I’m not really interested in hearing any more excuses. The fact that BVB managed to hang on by a thread, get bailed out repeatedly by their keeper, and manage to make the game interesting for about four minutes in stoppage time is not something that should get them much credit.

Yash: 6

After the depressing showing against Stuttgart in the midweek, I was fully prepared for us to be absolutely battered by Marco Rose’s Leipzig. However, until the red card, we were much the better team, holding on to possession well and building threats. Unfortunately, our good work was undone by a freak moment that led to Hummels cleaning out Openda and receiving his marching orders. Losing our defensive lynchpin meant that we had to opt for a Schlotti-Niki partnership, and, while both are solid (or even elite) defenders, neither has quite what it takes to lead a backline as Hummels so capably does.

It’s difficult to judge a performance like this, because when you lose an extremely important player so early on (especially against another very good team), the odds are stacked against you. However, barring the 20 or so minutes directly after the red card, our black and yellows looked (marginally) better than Leipzig, with the majority of the Tin Cans’ chances coming in isolated flurries usually precipitated by a defensive lapse. Going forward, we actually looked much better than we have in recent weeks, and I think Terzic’s choice to continue with both Jule and Marco after the red card was a wise one, as they ensured we held on to possession and tried to play football instead of resorting to hail Mary long balls and unlikely dribbles. The last 10 or so minutes were absolute pandemonium, as Terzic threw caution to the wind, bringing on Donny and Gio for both full-backs, causing chaos for Leipzig. While the loss stings, I have to say it’s given me some hope for the remainder of the season; we clearly do have the ability to outplay top-quality opposition, and today looked a step in the right direction to finding that formula.

Your Thoughts

How would you rate this performance? How good was that Julian Brandt assist? Is Hummels our most important player? Let us know!