Borussia Dortmund came into today’s match against Union Berlin in desperate need of something to lift everybody’s spirits. It was evident in the comments here over the last week, but even more than that, you could see it in the body language on the pitch. It’s clear that the losses to Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig hit everyone at BVB hard, and a win against third-placed Union Berlin would be the perfect way to put a smile on faces again. Well, hopefully, you’re all feeling a little brighter now after Dortmund’s hard-fought 2-1 win over Union.
Not only was it a vital three points for BVB’s title hopes, it was a solid performance against a very tough opponent too. Donyell Malen gave Die Schwarzgelben a deserved lead in the first half, and for much of the game Dortmund looked in control, but Union Berlin are not the kind of team that gives up easily, and Kevin Behrens leveled things up on the hour mark. At this point, it started to feel like BVB were going to throw away two points, as they were struggling to create any clear-cut chances against a side that looked happy to take the draw. Luckily, however, after a bit of a muddle at the back for Union Berlin, Youssoufa Moukoko popped up to capitalise and secure all three points for BVB.
Here are the nominations for BVB’s Man of the Match against Union Berlin:
Rapha Guerreiro has struggled at left-back this season, possibly as age catches up with him, so it didn’t fill me with optimism to see him slotting into the defense with Ryerson shifted over to right back in Marius Wolf’s place.
However, it turns out that I needn’t have worried, as Guerreiro put in an excellent shift. He was very dangerous going forward, finding tons of space in the final third, and he delivered an inch-perfect cross for Donyell Malen to give BVB the lead. Perhaps most impressive, however, was how effective he was on the other side of the ball, even putting in an amazing last-ditch tackle to save BVB’s bacon in the second half.
While Guerreiro’s cross for Malen’s goal was a delight, the player that did the most to create the opportunity was actually Malen himself. He did some excellent work in the buildup, keeping possession while under pressure from multiple players, so it was well-deserved that Malen was the one to put the ball in the back of the net.
Besides his goal, I thought Malen was pretty lively throughout the game and was arguably BVB’s biggest threat in offense. It’s really great to see Malen finally putting together a good run of form. Long may it continue!
Emre Can did what Emre Can apparently does nowadays. He was a disruptive force in defense, making a particularly impressive tackle to break up a potentially dangerous Union counter-attack in the first half while contributing plenty in possession too. Emre Can at his best is an incredibly dynamic player, capable of doing basically anything required of him, at any moment.
We did catch a glimpse of the Emre Can we all know and most certainly do not love towards the end of the game. Can picked up a silly yellow after he lost his temper with a Union player, and when he turned his attention to the referee it looked like he might find himself picking up a second just moments later too. Luckily he took heed of what looked like the referee’s final warning, and he stayed on the pitch. He will face a one-match suspension for the next game though.
Unfortunately, the most memorable thing that Karim Adeyemi did today was probably the incredibly obvious dive he attempted in the first half. It was dumb as hell and there can be no complaints that the referee booked him for it.
Besides that, though, I thought Adeyemi put in a pretty solid shift. He was doing a lot of the groundwork that was opening up space for Guerreiro to make things happen in the final third. He did a really good job of drawing Union defenders out and opening up space for Rapha to run into.
On top of his offensive contributions, Adeyemi also put in the work out of possession too. He ran his socks off and was, for me, one of BVB’s brightest players until he was substituted with twenty minutes left in the game.
Who was your Man of the Match?
This poll is closed
Feeling a little cheerier after that win? Who impressed you most today? Let us know!