Borussia Dortmund’s 100% record in 2023 took a real hit this week. First they lost 2-0 to Chelsea in the Champions League earlier in the week, and over the weekend they dropped points to their local rivals Schalke, putting pay to any claims of a perfect record in any competition outside of a single DFB-Pokal victory earlier in the year. Sure they may still be unbeaten in the league for the year, but this draw felt a lot like a loss, given the opponent, the fact that opponent was bottom of the table before the game, and Bayern Munich’s win seeing them go two points clear of BVB at the top of the table.
The performance was far from the worst we’ve seen from Dortmund this season. It wasn’t even the worst BVB performance this week. More than anything, it was individual errors that cost BVB. They let Schalke back into the game, and Schalke duly obliged.
Dortmund now have an opportunity to get back on track against FC Köln on Saturday before the international break gives the squad time to get healthy and go again. Then they face Bayern Munich on 1st April. The team can’t afford any more slip-ups like this if they are going to win the league this season.
Here’s our ratings from Borussia Dortmund’s 2-2 draw with Schalke:
Got beaten far too easily by Karaman for the Schalke goal that made it 2-2, generally struggled on defense, and I thought his offensive work was at times a little blunt. Not Ryerson’s best game.
Was solid as ever on defense, and was a major offensive contributor too. Not only was his opening goal brilliant, he also made multiple surging runs into the final third that created dangerous passages of play for BVB. Perhaps he’s picking up a few tips and tricks from Hummels?
Scored an absolute banger and was very helpful in driving the ball forward. Schalke’s man-marking left a lot of space for our centerbacks to run into, and Schlotterbeck made the most of it. Slight miscommunication with Ryerson on the first goal, but that was his only error in the game.
Gave away an early chance after he miscontrolled a pretty difficult pass from Schlotterbeck. Think that was Nico’s fault more than Hummels’ though. Otherwise, he was solid, and made a couple vital interceptions and challenges.
Very good. As I mentioned in my post-match reactions, I think a renewal isn’t a bad idea.
Linked up well with Malen in the first half, and was an important outlet for ball progression throughout the game. Perhaps didn’t cover himself in glory on the second Schalke goal, and on the whole wasn’t brilliant defensively, but thought it was a solid performance generally.
Wolf left a bit too much space in behind on multiple occasions, but he was still clearly better than Ryerson.
Can continues to be one of the standout performers week-in, week-out for Borussia Dortmund. It seems like he’s really turned a corner. His through-ball for Guerreiro’s goal was perfectly weighted, and I thought he did well to spot the pass early, before Schalke could respond.
Pretty grim yellow late in the game, but I would rather have him out against Köln than against Bayern. Very secure in possession and good playing out of pressure when Schalke decided to press.
I think Guerreiro was the best player on the pitch on Saturday. He was really lively in possession, linking up well with Can and Bellingham, and his goal was exquisite.
If there’s any perception inside the club that part of what is holding Guerreiro back at fullback is that he no longer has the legs to cover ground with the kind of intensity that is required of a modern offensive fullback, perhaps a switch to a free eight kind of role would do him a lot of favours, and possibly even open up the possibility of him staying at the club a little longer.
My man of the match. This was a real vintage Rapha-display. A well-timed run and an excellent finish put Dortmund in front, and his link-up play was very good. I agree with Paul - maybe he should make a “Phillipp Lahm transition” into the midfield.
I thought Bellingham started bright and looked to be imposing himself on the game in a way that has been a little lacking in the last couple weeks, but he drifted a bit in the second half. It wasn’t helped by his error for Schalke’s goal. He seemed to switch off and was unaware of the man closing him down.
I thought Malen looked really, really bright in the first half, but like Bellingham he also drifted a bit in the second half. I think you could probably attribute that to lack of minutes though.
Whenever Jamie Bynoe-Gittens is on the pitch he seems to show moments of real quality, demonstrating why he’s getting playing time at such a young age, and wasteful moments that demonstrate his experience and, at times, naivety in possession. I thought both were on display today, with JBG making an excellent run to open up the channel for Guerreiro to run into and score Dortmund’s second, but he also lost possession too easily and should have done better with the chance he had in the second half.
It’s clear he is going to need time to develop into the kind of player that can have a consistent impact in games without coming at a cost in terms of lost possession and wasted opportunities.
Blew a big chance after a gorgeous pass from Marius Wolf. He got outmuscled on quite a few occasions in the first half, and he drew a couple of freekicks after attempting to gain back the ball. It kinda killed our attacking momentum in the first half. Gonna be harsh on JBG, because I expect a lot from him.
I don’t think you can keep getting 5’s for just being a good link-up-player. Haller needs to score some goals, and while he of course needs time, he wasn’t on the end of anything today. Hopefully it will come.
Thought Dahoud was actually pretty clumsy in possession and a little wasteful in and around the final third. Perhaps he was just lacking match sharpness.
Took way too much time on the ball when he was presented with a golden opportunity in the 90th minute. Otherwise didn’t do much of note. I really like Dahoud, but he’s clearly lacking game form.
For the most part it seemed like a pretty tidy, comfortable performance by BVB, especially given the injuries to key players, but it was individual errors that cost Dortmund today. The failure to turn dominance into more concrete chances (and to convert those chances) left the door ajar for Schalke, and mistakes on important plays gave them the chance to make the most of it.
This may seem like a strange rating, given my low ratings for some of the players, but I do think we played alright. We created a lot of good chances - we just didn’t manage to convert them. And yes - Schalke also had one good chance at the hands of Zalazar, but missing one big chance is normal - missing three or four isn’t. Terzic still has the team playing good football at the moment.