An away game against a local rival and a relegation candidate, with five games left and BVB’s title destiny in their own hands? What could possibly go wrong?
Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that, actually, quite a lot can go wrong! Dortmund conceded a top bins banger from ancient Anthony Losilla just five minutes into the game, but were quick to respond, going up the other end and equalising immediately, through Karim Adeyemi. It wasn’t even ten minutes in and the game was already wide open. BVB looked pretty good for the remainder of the first half, but throughout the game it didn’t feel like they had enough of a grip on the match flow. They were much the better side, but they were unable to control the game and pile on the pressure in a way that might force Bochum to relent. But still, they pushed Bochum in the second half, and an extremely questionable refereeing decision (for the first call, the second less so) and an incredible performance by Manuel Riemann kept Dortmund at bay.
Dortmund didn’t play their best football of the season, by any stretch, but they had more than their fair share of good chances to put the game away, and it just didn’t quite happen. I think it’s fair that folks are angry about the penalty not given for the foul on Adeyemi, but beyond that, it just felt like we didn’t get the luck. Fair play to VfL Bochum for claiming a huge point in their scrap to stay in the league. They did very, very well.
Here are today’s candidates for MOTM:
Although he scored, I don’t think the goal was a huge factor in his nomination here. It was a tap-in, and he gets credit for being there to do it, but I thought the rest of his game was very lively too. He was constantly probing at the Bochum defense, and really deserved a penalty for his troubles in the second half.
His defensive efforts were not perfect, but I thought Hummels was excellent in possession. He was a catalyst for a lot of positive Dortmund plays, and in a game where BVB seemed to lose the midfield battle, that was vital.
On the other hand, I thought Hummels’s defensive partner, Niklas Süle, was actually pretty solid defensively. He made several key tackles and blocks to snuff out Bochum threats. I thought it was particularly notable that the likes of Jude Bellingham and Emre Can, guys that are expected (and needed) to dig in and fight when in a real physical battle like tonight, were busy whining to the referee on their way off the pitch at half time. Süle was one of the few players that responded to Bochum in kind. More of that was needed.
The fourth nomination was a lot harder for me to call. Like I said, I don’t think it was an abysmal performance, but it also wasn’t a game that we really took control of, and as a result there wasn’t a ton of standout players. I think, of the rest, Malen was probably the best. He contributed the assist for Adeyemi’s goal, and he was relatively busy while he was on the pitch. Not brilliant, but he was decent, at least.
Borussia Dortmund stay top of the table, but with only two points over Bayern, that might all change tomorrow. It was a disappointing Friday night. Cast your vote for today’s MOTM below.
Who was your Man of the Match?
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