Just over a week ago Borussia Dortmund dropped points against their fiercest rivals, Schalke, twice giving up their lead to end up drawing 2-2 with Die Knappen, and dropping two points behind Bayern Munich at the top of the table in the process. That’s about as bad as draws get, especially given that BVB had been knocked out of the Champions League earlier in the week. So it was necessary that BVB came up with a response against FC Köln at the weekend, both for the title race and for pride’s sake. The response was impressive.
Dortmund came flying out the gates, with Rapha Guerreiro opening the scoring 15 minutes into the game, before Sébastien Haller picked up the second just a couple minutes later, and from that point they never looked back. This wasn’t just a strong performance in response to a bad week. I think this is probably the best that BVB have looked all season (possibly even for a couple seasons). Even better, with Bayern Munich losing 2-1 to Bayer Leverkusen on Sunday, it gave Dortmund a one-point advantage in the Bundesliga, setting things up perfectly for Der Klassiker on April 1st.
Here’s our ratings from Borussia Dortmund’s 6-1 win over FC Köln:
While he wasn’t busy, he did save four of five shots and outperformed his PSxG. I get that he was basically a sideshow for most of the match, but that’s got to count for something!
I’m very excited for Kobel to come back after this international break. As Sean said, Meyer did make four of five saves and outperformed his PSxG. The problem, however, is that he found the most unconvincing way to do so. Often opting to parry rather than save direct, Meyer has a tendency to keep the ball in play after making a save. Unfortunately for Meyer, he managed to parry the ball back to David Selke and then proceeded to get beat at the far post.
Dortmund’s least effective outfield player. Didn’t do a whole lot on the attack and could’ve done better on Koln’s goal.
I thought he was mostly pretty good, but he lost his man on Köln’s first goal and then got beat to the rebound.
Outside a wonderful assist to Donyell Malen, he had an uneventful game.
Wolf continues to be really good in possession, acting as an important outlet for BVB to get the ball up the pitch. He is at times a little suspect on the other end of the ball, but this was less of an issue against Köln.
Wolf led BVB with 12 progressive passes, exactly twice as much as the next most prolific passer, Niklas Süle.
The majority of Dortmund’s attack came down the right side and Marius Wolf was a big reason for that. As Sean said, he made more progressive passes than any other player and had more touches than anyone but the two centerbacks. On defense, he did not have a lot to do.
Dahoud stepped into the recently-designated “Emre Can” role of playing between the center backs, and filled it admirably.
He’s back! The 2021 Fear The Wall Midfielder of the Year returned to the starting lineup for the first time in 2023 after a shoulder injury in September and being told he won’t be kept at Dortmund past the summer. He slotted in perfectly as Dortmund’s number 6, replacing the suspended Emre Can, and acted as the first outlet pass for Dortmund in possession. Was tasked with dropping between the center backs when Dortmund had the ball in the first third and often played passes out to Bellingham, Wolf, and Guerreiro. As the team moved up the field, Dahoud was reserved and continued to act as the safe option to switch which wing the ball was on. He was miles above Ozcan but his physicality remains a big question mark compared to Can. Great day for the Mahmoud Dahoud Fan Club farewell tour.
Since switching to midfield Guerreiro has two goals and three assists. 2.5 G+A/90 is quite something, and the underlying numbers, while not quite as staggering, are still mighty impressive.
What started out as a makeshift solution in Julian Brandt’s absence has breathed life into Guerreiro’s BVB career. He has been so good that Brandt may even find himself competing for minutes with Guerreiro when he comes back, despite being arguably our best player this season!
I was going to put down a 9, but when I saw Paul’s 10 I thought for a moment and realized that I didn’t actually disagree with it. Guerreiro basically played the perfect game; I can hardly think of a single thing he could have done better.
Like Sean, I am also a sheep. I don’t think Guerreiro put a foot wrong and with a goal and two assists, I think it would be unfair to give him any less than a 10. He’s been the perfect solution to losing Brandt and will add needed depth at midfield for the remainder of this year, and potentially longer.
I think Malen has looked bright since coming back from injury recently, and this was the best he has played during that stretch. Deserved his goal, and would have been a well-deserved MOTM if it wasn’t for Guerreiro playing an absolute blinder.
Easily Malen’s best game for Borussia Dortmund. He was direct, decisive, and precise in his work, and was reward with a goal and an assist. Although the goal came down to a bit of a goalkeeper blunder, the assist more than made up for it.
His two goals were expertly taken. Extend the man!
When you score two goals, I don’t really care how pretty they are. His holdup play was also pretty good. Hopefully he can rest over the next two weeks and be ready to go against Bayern Munich.
Two goals for a striker means I have very little to complain about. Would like to see him more involved throughout the game but he was in the right place at the right time twice. Should be a boost for his confidence.
Good to see Meunier back out there. We could definitely do with having him as an option in the full back rotation.
Thought Modeste was pretty lively off the bench, and if things had gone his way he might have got himself a goal against his old team.
Maybe Modeste had a bit of an extra kick playing against his former team?
Anthony’s name has never been so accurate before as his performance was the true definition of modest.
Came on at the end of the game and didn’t have much to do. I feel sorry for the guy, feels like a cloud of drama hangs over him every time he enters the field.
You want a 10? Then don’t concede a silly goal. Otherwise that was virtually perfect. Maybe they can go one better and win 6-0 in the next game? I’ll give them a 10 for that.
Köln might not be the toughest opponent, but any day you score six goals is a good one. This was Borussia Dortmund football at its very best. The ball flowed effortlessly through midfield, the full backs were both on their A-game, and each attacker was firing on all cylinders. With no Champions League to distract them, I really do think this team has a chance to win the Bundesliga.
I know we won 6-1 and rating the overall performance as anything less than a 10 sounds like I have a stick up my ass, but Köln are a weak opponent and I wasn’t enamored by our defending. Rewatching the goal we conceded, it looked too easy. Still, we scored six fantastic goals and everyone did their job almost perfectly. Additionally, we also learned that Guerreiro, Dahoud, and Malen can step it up when given the chance in their respective possessions. If we play like this, we have a good shot at beating Bayern on April 1st..