A month ago I didn’t expect to be saying this but; the title race continues for Borussia Dortmund. The team earned another vital three points against Werder Bremen to continue chasing Bayern Munich, who also won in their concurrent match. Despite the recent promotion, any Bundesliga supporter knows Bremen isn’t an easy match. They boast the league’s best goalscorer, some of the most passionate home fans, a well-disciplined team, and a history of providing upsets against Borussia Dortmund...
Unlike recent seasons, however, Dortmund put on a mature performance away from home to keep pace with their rivals. The first half was close and the home side had the better chances. The 20th minute saw two close opportunities for Bremen as a dangerous cross forced Ryerson to clear at an awkward angle, forcing a save out of Kobel. On the resulting corner kick, Bremen’s Mitchell Weiser hit a fantastic volley that Kobel once again had to parry. In the 36th minute, A cross into the box found the feet of Niclas Füllkrug, the one man you don’t want to touch the ball in the penalty area, but he skied it over the bar. It was three warning signs for the visitors as Dortmund struggled to find their lethal edge.
The second half changed that. Within 40 seconds of the whistle, Marco Reus was behind Bremen’s backline and nearly beat the keeper with a nutmeg shot from 10 yards out. Less than five minutes later, Jude Bellingham’s volley was denied from eight yards out after a fantastic Ryerson cross. In the 65th minute, Terzic made two subs: Jamie Bynoe Gittens and Salih Őzcan which once again changed the game. Two minutes later, JBG was on the scoresheet after Schlotterbeck made a fantastic run into the box and laid it off to the young English winger. Brandt, who was once again terrific, completely botched a 1-on-1 opportunity in the 76th minute but made amends in the 83rd minute with a well-taken goal. Here are some additional takeaways from the match.
This Dortmund Team Believes
A lot is made of mentality in soccer and Dortmund have often been the target of criticism aimed at their ability to put on mature performances against weaker sides. Earlier this same season, the team fell to this Werder Bremen side with an absolute collapse in the final six minutes. Now, Terzic’s side gives the impression that they want to win games and will do everything they can to close out victories. Despite a slower start, the players were able to end the game with a clean sheet and two goals. They never took their foot off the gas and I think the team deserves a lot of praise. It goes to show how a winning run can really kickstart a campaign.
Substitutions Make the Difference
Dortmund has won all six games in 2023 thus far. In four of those six games, a substitute has scored the winning goal (against Augsburg, Mainz, Bochum, and Bremen). Today, it was Jamie Bynoe-Gittens' turn to score the match-winner after entering the pitch only two minutes prior. It’s no surprise that the lack of injuries allows for Dortmund to get the most out of its talent off the bench. Whether it’s Reyna, Reus, Haller, or Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Dortmund will have to count on its depth as the season becomes more congested and I’m optimistic these guys will continue to prove themselves as difference-makers.
- Nico Schlotterbeck now has been involved in seven Bundesliga goals this season. The center-back notched another assist after a fantastic run down the middle of the field, and has become an important tool in Terzic’s arsenal. I love this guy.
- Youssoufa Moukoko could be sidelined for several weeks after coming off in the 28th minute. It’s really unfortunate for the young striker, especially after this felt like his breakout season.
With six wins from six matches, how optimistic are you about Borussia Dortmund’s play at the moment? Do you think we can surpass Union Berlin and Bayern? Will Chelsea be too much for them?