And breathe. It was a very stressful 90 minutes, but in the end, Borussia Dortmund pulled through to finish victorious against FC Köln, all thanks to Donyell Malen’s 88th minute strike giving The Black and Yellows a 1-0 win and all three points to start the season. I guess it should come as little surprise by now that BVB managed to make hard work of their opening game of the Bundesliga season.
Even though Dortmund controlled the ball well, Köln regularly forced them out to the wings and made them play in the infamous “U” shape — BVB’s worst nightmare. The Billy Goats tried to hit BVB on the counter, even succeeding on multiple occasions, but Dortmund held on without conceding. It was 90 minutes of turnovers, rushed passes, and overall mediocrity — or was it?
Here are our ratings from BVB’s 1-0 win against FC Köln on Saturday.
Köln had exactly three big chances — one hit the crossbar and the other two were close calls that Kobel saved. Kobel did everything that was asked of him. Deserved high rating and deserved Zweite Kapitän.
Bens gets an extra point for an improved performance, and I really enjoyed the hard work he put in during the first 30 minutes or so. After that, however, performance levels dropped. He was caught out of possession several times, and Hummels looked the busier of our two center backs by some distance as Köln focused their attacks down our left time and time again. Looked pretty dire in the buildup, too.
I think Bensebaini looked really solid for the most part — especially defensively. His offensive efforts didn’t amount to much, but I appreciate him running his ass of until he was replaced by Wolf.
My personal MOTM — dangerous on set pieces and valiant in defense. Shows that he still has a lot left in the tank.
I have to agree with Anders, Mats was my MOTM as well. Not only did the veteran bail out our defense 3000 times, he was also heavily involved in Dortmund’s attack, registering five of the team’s eleven shots. The top five BVB contributors in terms of xG were:
- Mats Hummels — 1.30
- Marco Reus — 0.22
- Donyell Malen — 0.18
- Julian Brandt — 0.14
- Felix Nmecha — 0.07
Ryerson and Wolf are the prototypical Terzic fullbacks. They may not be the most technically gifted, but their versatility, work ethic and spatial awareness are top notch. Love them to bits.
I admire how scrappy Ryerson is. When he’s dispossessed, he immediately puts pressure on the opponent and tries to win the ball back. However, his passing was also subpar.
Looked lost out there. Not the kind of performance you’d expect from a veteran of Can’s pedigree.
Rightfully hauled off at the hour mark. I trust him to do a better job going forward, but I also got some pretty ugly flashbacks from the 21/22 season.
Everything about his performance was subpar... Are we sensing a theme here? Dortmund’s new captain failed to establish his presence in the midfield and was rightly substituted after an hour.
Decent in the first half but looked completely out of his depth without Can’s physical presence, as the very physical Köln midfield found it all too easy to overwhelm him.
Trying not to give out two many half ratings, so I’ll bump him up to a six. I thought Sabitzer was a bit unspectacular. Wasn’t as secure in possession as Terzic would’ve liked and got bullied off the ball at times. Still, he was good at driving the ball forward, and he ran until the very end.
Our brightest player in the first half, not quite so good in the second. Still, he was involved in pretty much every single one of Dortmund’s bright pieces of play, registering a game-high seven key passes.
MOTM if the match had lasted 45 minutes, but his second half was very mediocre. Lost possession way too many times when considering how little threat he was creating.
Brandt is at his best when he can play through the middle, but on the wing he had a tendency to drift toward the center, which wasn’t vibing with the style Reus was trying to play. I give him an extra point here for the corner that resulted in the winning (and only) goal.
Reus and Brandt dovetail very effectively; both are technically gifted and intelligent off the ball. However, their strengths lie in bringing others into the game. When the more direct players are poor and they don’t get support from midfield, Reus and Brandt’s impact is minimized.
An abject performance that was bailed out by a massive piece of luck. Had Donny been even marginally better, we’d have had three or four.
Marked out of the game, for the most part, and was a non-feature as a result. Probably should have been brought off earlier.
Köln forced every attack out to the wings, making it practically impossible for BVB to play through the middle. This meant that Haller could not be utilized very well. Still, a good striker always finds a way to make themselves useful, and Seb didn’t do that on Saturday.
I swear it was almost twenty minutes before Haller had a touch on the ball. He had a total of 16 touches in the hour he was on the pitch. This was atrocious from the Ivorian.
Much more threatening than Seb, simply because he’s so much more mobile. Köln struggled with his darting runs in the channels.
If you come on at the hour mark you should be one of the freshest players on the pitch and, if nothing else, should run your socks off for the remainder of the match. That’s the absolute bare minimum. Nmecha fell way short of that.
Quick, direct, and aggressive as usual, but the final pass was missing. Expect him to start next weekend instead of Donny.
I think this game was more a failure of individuals than a terrible team performance. While very few of our players put in top performances, the majority were at least competent enough to beat a side with less quality than us. However, certain key players turned in complete stinkers and, as a result, we looked awful.
Terzic might need to rethink his substitutions. He tends to wait until later in the second half of games to make a change, and a couple of early alterations to the XI would not be unwelcome.
Definitely not a fun watch, but the three points are always nice to have. On to Bochum!
Honestly? This game was bad. We looked toothless in attack, and we allowed way too many turnovers. If not for Hummels and Kobel, we would have have come away with a draw, at best. The team looked very disjointed for large stretches of the game.
I’m not sure if it was due to it being the first match of the season, a lack of chemistry with lots of new players in the team, or some other unknown third issue, but I do know that it cannot continue like this.
After about the 70th minute I was pretty sure The Billy Goats were going to walk away with all three points. This was a pretty hapless performance and NOT what fans deserved at home on the first match day. However, a win is a win, no matter how lucky.
Next week we travel to Bochum who were just pummeled 5-0 by Stuttgart. We can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing the next match will be an easy win, right?... Right?
What did you think of Borussia Dortmund’s first game of the season? Was it just a case of a team struggling as they build chemistry and match sharpness? Or were these struggles the sign of wider problems?