When Dortmund visited the Veltins Arena on Saturday night, I just had a feeling that it was going to be intense. Thomas Reis’ side had been in great form, and Dortmund had just dropped out of the Champions League after not showing up at Stamford Bridge. Now, once the match has ended, Dortmund are two points behind Bayern Munich which makes the game at Allianz Arena in April the most important game of the season.
The result aside, I think the setting today was absolutely fantastic. This is the Revierdeby I’ve been waiting for. Schalke’s fans were incredible, and so were the fans from Dortmund. I hope our rivals stay up, and given their current form it looks like a real possibility.
Here are some of my reactions from a hard fought Revierderby:
A Lot of Wasted Chances Proved Costly
I actually think that, overall, Dortmund played a fine game. The team was good at controlling the match and they only let Schalke attack in bursts. The difference was that while Schalke were really clinical, The Black-and-Yellows weren’t. In the 65th minute, Bynoe-Gittens was on the receiving end of a fantastic pass from Marius Wolf. The young Englishman released a shot just at the edge of the box, but it unfortunately went wide at the far post. In the 78th minute, Rapha Guerreiro released a shot from inside the box that sadly didn’t hit the target at all. Lastly, I think Dahoud took way too much time on the ball when it bounced back to him in the 90th minute as a result of a fantastic raid from Schlotterbeck. All in all, I think Dortmund should have at least tested Ralf Fährmann with some of these chances.
Guerreiro Had a Showing in Midfield
Introducing Guerreiro in midfield is something a certain group of fans had been begging for Terzic to try out. Terzic had clearly noticed the lack of form from Salih Özcan, and as a result, he didn’t even see the field on Saturday. I think Guerreiro was very lively in midfield, and despite his lack of defensive workrate, I think it was a good call from Terzic.
With both Brandt and Reus out, there was a need for creativity in midfield, and I think Guerreiro showcased his skillset very well in today’s game. He was very involved and succesful in build-up-play, and he managed three key passes, one very good goal and one “assist” for Nico Schlotterbeck. A very good return from the Portuguese international. Maybe we should have tried him in midfield before telling him to find a new suiter in the summer?
The Title Race is Still on, but...
Some might disagree with this, but I do believe Dortmund still have a shot at the title. Yes, the long stream of victories has ended, and yes, Bayern are a better team. But you know what? The best team doesn’t always win. We’re currently playing the best football we’ve seen under Edin Terzic (as permanent head coach), and who’s to say Bayern aren’t going to slip up? Bayern play Leverkusen just before Der Klassiker, and while Leverkusen often roll over when they meet Bayern, they also clearly have the talent to beat them or manage a draw. The hard facts are that Dortmund need to overperform, and Bayern need to underperform for at least a decent string of matches before the season ends. Is it likely? No. Is it possible? Certainly.
- A sale of Donyell Malen in the summer looks more and more likely. He’s clearly a good footballer, but I think a fresh start somewhere else would suit him.
- Sebastien Haller is still being integrated into this team. His hold-up-play is very good, but he wasn’t on the end of anything today, which was a bit worrying.
- Emre Can and Nico Schlotterbeck were also very good. Schlotterbeck’s forward runs always seemed to spawn a dangerous situation.
- I think Mats Hummels was alright if not decent - and that’s with his stupid giveaway in mind. If he’s willing to lower his salary and become a depth-piece, I would welcome a renewal.
Is “The Malen Project” over? Should the board renew Mats Hummels? Let me know in the comments below!