That’s the best way I can describe watching Dortmund fight Augsburg for 90 minutes. In a match where nothing but a victory would suffice, Dortmund were well-tested by the opposition's defense. A slew of chances went begging due to exceptional goalkeeping, just-a-second-late timing, and the heroics of the post. Finally, in the 58th minute, Sébastien Haller pounced on the smallest of mistakes from the Augsburg defense and found the opener for BVB.
The match was exhausting as a spectator, with emotions running high. Augsburg challenged Dortmund to earn their points, but BVB managed to collect the victory they so desperately needed and took control of the Bundesliga title race with one game to play.
Hot Can Keeps Cool
In the 73rd minute, Emre Can upended Augsburg striker Ermedin Demirović as the two came together for a loose ball. Demirović did his best to get a rise out of Can, but the midfielder laughed off the approach, avoiding a certain second yellow had he engaged. Can has been notoriously hot-headed throughout his career, so his ability to keep calm when aggressed was impressive to see. The midfielder has maturely enormously this season, and having him available for the final matchday will be crucial for BVB.
I'm sure Emre Can had about a thousand things he'd love to be able to say. Did what he had to. pic.twitter.com/slJNXyNk1p— Reece Edwards (@_reeceedwards) May 21, 2023
A Striker’s Instinct
What an opening goal from Sébastien Haller. Augsburg were not exactly air-tight in defense up until Haller broke the deadlock, but it did seem like a mistake would be needed for BVB to find the opener. Haller pounced on an opportunity almost out of nothing when Donyell Malen’s cross was met by the Augsburg defense. A loose touch from Maximilian Bauer put the ball in front of Haller and the striker made no mistake, showing excellent pace and awareness to take the ball past the back line and stream it across the face of goal. It was an exceptionally difficult chance that Haller made look routine, and the towering Ivorian has silenced his doubters with a pair of braces in the last two matches.
HALLER PUTS DORTMUND IN FRONT!— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) May 21, 2023
THEY ARE NOW TOP OF THE LEAGUE pic.twitter.com/fVPUZzcch8
The Captain’s Impact
In the final ten minutes of the match, Dortmund were beginning to feel the pressure of Augsburg’s late attempt to snatch an equalizer. The team lost organization and was beginning to look susceptible to a slip. Terzic, sensing the danger, subbed in his captain to provide stability. Reus’s movement helped get Dortmund out of the Augsburg press and provided a new attacking threat in front of the Augsburg back line. The captain found the perfect space when he broke past Augsburg’s back line. Although his finish was not perfect, his striker was there to pounce on the chance, and Dortmund took firm control of the match. The value of this moment cannot be overstated, as BVB desperately needed to cement their hold on the game. Reus may not get all the plaudits for this performance, but he was the joker BVB needed off the bench.
Dortmund have a job to finish on Matchday 34. Nothing more to say.