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Match Ratings: BVB in to Champions League Knockouts After Topping ‘Group of Death’

A back-and-forth game sees Dortmund go top of the group!

Borussia Dortmund v Paris Saint-Germain: Group F - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 Photo by Edith Geuppert - GES Sportfoto/Getty Images

When the team sheets were released for Borussia Dortmund’s last group stage game against Paris Saint-Germain, you could already feel that the game would be entertaining. Luis Enrique’s men fielded no defensive midfielders, and Terzic had opted for a midfield consisting of Brandt, Reus and Özcan.

It was very refreshing to see Terzic setting up with a more optimistic, attacking set of players, and the coach was rewarded with a hard-fought draw against one of Europe’s best sides. Dortmund now sit top of the group, and as a Dane, I dearly hope that Dortmund draw Copenhagen for the last 16.

Many players had some heroic displays in this game, but who stood out the most? Here are our ratings from Dortmund’s 1-1 draw against Paris Saint-Germain:

Starting XI

Gregor Kobel

Anders: 6

Think Kobel was fine. He wasn’t really tested that much, and it was very hard for him to react to Zaire-Emery’s shot from close range. He almost had it though.

Paul: 6

Joey: 6

Gregor made a pair of good saves, but his passing could have been better.

Marius Wolf

Anders: 4

I think Wolf had some fine defensive moments, and he did work hard. He also killed our buildup on too many occasions. He did have a fine pass infield in the first half, but that was basically it from him offensively. In a transition based match like this, he simply isn’t technically good enough.

Paul: 5

Joey: 5

Niklas Süle

Anders: 8

Defensively very solid, especially in duels. Oh, and he of course made that save against Kylian Mbappé. If he hadn’t been there, who knows how the match could have turned out?

Paul: 8

Süle’s block on Mbappé was absurd, but he had a solid game in addition to that too.

Joey: 8

Dortmund might be in desperate need of reinforcing the back line, but thankfully Niklas Süle is ready for some regular Starting-XI action. Brilliant game from the German

Mats Hummels

Anders: 7

Paul: 7

Joey: 7

Hummels is so important to this squad. He was all over the pitch in the match, making many defensive contributions. Even his yellow card was was a tactical play.

Ramy Bensebaini

Anders: 6

Paul: 6

Made the tackle that led to Karim Adeyemi’s goal, but otherwise was just okay.

Joey: 6

Ramy won most of his ground duals but his tackling was subpar for a match against a team like PSG.

Salih Özcan

Anders: 6

Paul: 5

Joey: 6

He acted well as a holding midfielder, linking up with Brandt and Reus at times. I don’t think he did anything especially noteworthy, but Salih was all-around solid in this match.

Julian Brandt

Anders: 6

Paul: 5

Brandt had a quiet night, as did a few others in the offense.

Joey: 6

Brandt had an uncharacteristically quiet game. His long-ball accuracy was immaculate but his crossing was as bad as the rest of the team. In a lineup like this, I expected Brandt to find space for a couple of shots.

Marco Reus

Anders: 6

Whiffed a big chance at the end with a lovely pass from Gio Reyna. I feel like his final touch has been letting him down a bit this season. Still, he played most of our transition pretty efficiently, and it did look like that he could, for the most part, keep up with the insane pace.

Paul: 6

Joey: 7

I’m impressed Marco maintained his pace for a full ninety minutes.

Jamie Bynoe-Gittens

Anders: 3

Paul: 4

Bynoe-Gittens never really got going, and it was the right call to swap him for Malen on the hour.

Joey: 4

JBG simply could not find his groove in this match. I’m sure his next outing will be better.

Karim Adeyemi

Anders: 6

I think Karim had been very mediocre until he scored his goal. He seems to work better when he has the goal in front of him, and as always, he worked his ass off. Lets hope he’s not hurt too bad.

Paul: 7

Joey: 7

I agree with Anders’s assessment. I’ll give Karim an extra point for putting his foot on the end of two ‘big chances,’ one of them finding the net. This Adeyemi is a vast improvement from what we saw in the early matches this season.

Niclas Füllkrug

Anders: 7

Paul: 7

Füllkrug did well in the buildup, continuing to show his ability to link up well with everyone around him. His assist for Adeyemi’s goal was particularly composed as well.

Joey: 7

Füllkrug was heavily involved in most attacking plays, and he assisted Adeyemi’s goal.

Substitutes

Donyell Malen

Anders: 5

Paul: 5

Joey: 5

Nico Schlotterbeck

N/A

Marcel Sabitzer

N/A

Gio Reyna

N/A

Sebastien Haller

N/A

Overall

Anders: 7

I think this was a good game from us. We dared to play football, and you could see that this way of playing suits the players much better. I was especially happy to see Big Fridge with a very solid performance as he hasn’t been much in the squad lately. I hope that Terzic draws the right conclusions for this match, because if we play with the same pace and optimism, there is more than one team that we can advance against in the round of 16.

Paul: 6

I think Dortmund got a little lucky, but equally, I think they earned some of that luck by playing positively. PSG are a quality (if inconsistent) side, and when their best players are firing, they’re very hard to stop. BVB posed sufficient threat for PSG not to camp in Dortmund’s half and plug away until they found an opening. It turns out a little offense really can be the best defense.

I don’t need endlessly positive football to be satisfied, but at times Terzic’s conservative approach has had the opposite of it’s intended effect. Hopefully this serves as a useful lesson!

Joey: 7

I’ll admit that Ryerson’s absence had me worried. I’ll also admit that I consistently believe PSG is an overrated team. Terzic got his tactics all wrong in the reverse fixture, but rectified that at home. This was not a perfect game, nor was it a win, but the style of football displayed was so much more attractive than what we’ve seen recently against Leipzig, Stuttgart and Leverkusen. When there are more creative attacking players fielded, BVB will look stronger. What I liked most about this match, was that the players had a clear tactical plan and it stayed organized for most of this game. What I cant’s stand is the level of dysfunction in the system that we saw against Stuttgart. I was pleasantly surprised that at eighty minutes into this match, BVB still looked like they wanted the win. I would argue that 1-1 in the 80’ when we NEED a draw against PSG would actually be the perfect situation for Terzicball Park-the-bus tactics. However, the attacking threat was clearly making the PSG players nervous as they played out the final minutes of this game for a draw. PSG was scared of Dortmund’s counterattack- We should remember that.

Dare I suggest Terzic consider a back three with Hummels, Süle and Schlotterbeck?