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Match Ratings: BVB Drop Points in Dull Draw With Heidenheim

1. FC Heidenheim 1846 v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Marcel Engelbrecht - firo sportphoto/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund went into Friday night’s game away to Heidenheim knowing that a win could keep their winning run since the winter break going and further secure their place in the Bundesliga top four. A win wouldn’t have convinced fans that this team is now very good, but it would have edged BVB closer to making up all the ground they lost in the first half of the season, and inspired just a little more optimism among the Dortmund fanbase. Instead, contributed more than their fair share towards turning the Friday Night Lights into one of the most boring games I’ve ever seen.

Granted, BVB are dealing with a lot of injuries and illnesses at the moment, and Heidenheim are no pushover this season. In the preview of Friday’s game, I argued that a draw wouldn’t necessarily be the end of the world, as a result of these factors. Instead, it was the completely lifeless Dortmund performance that was a cause for concern. Surely even a BVB side that is weakened by multiple absences should at least be able to put up a bit of fight and pose even the most basic threat to Heidenheim’s defense. It would appear not.

Here are our ratings from BVB’s 0-0 draw with Heidenheim.

Starting XI

Alexander Meyer

Paul: 5

Joey: 6

Meyer recovered the ball several times, and caught a couple of crosses, but he was never really challenged between the sticks.

Yash: 6

Untested, but distributed well.

Ian Maatsen

Paul: 6

One of the best of a bad bunch.

Joey: 7

Maatsen’s 91% passing completion impressed me. He only misplaced six passes in this match. (four of them were attempted crosses)

Yash: 6

Continues to be one of our best players this Rückrunde.

Nico Schlotterbeck

Paul: 6

Joey: 7

Yash: 6

Niklas Süle

Paul: 5

Joey: 6

Strong passing, several recoveries, and heavy involvement in this match were overshadowed by poor one-on-one dueling. I expect a bit better from Süle.

Yash: 5

Thomas Meunier

Paul: 4

Joey: 4

Pretty poor in all aspects of this match. Dispossessed too easily, and far too passive in pressuring opponents.

Yash: 3.5

Salih Özcan

Paul: 4

Joey: 4

Yash: 3.5

I’ve been very pro-Özcan recently, but much like almost everyone out there, he was subpar on Friday. That horrible moment early on did not help his case.

Marcel Sabitzer

Paul: 5

Joey: 6

Marcel Sabitzer has found a regular starting place in Dortmund’s match day squad, but his inconsistency, at times, is concerning. From my observation, Sabitzer struggles when the players around him struggle, when he’s forced out of position. This was a match like that.

Yash: 6

Sabitzer is a clear beneficiary of the new system, but, on days like this, is handed the unenviable task of covering for two or three underperforming teammates. Struggled as a result.

Jamie Bynoe-Gittens

Paul: 5

Joey: 5

Bynoe-Gittens was pretty quiet on Friday night. He was one of the more creative players on the pitch, but found himself heavily marked, barring him from impacting this game.

Yash: 4

After a couple of really sharp cameos, it looked like JBG would seize the opportunity to start in Sancho’s absence. Unfortunately for us, he didn’t make life particularly hard for Heidenheim’s well-organized defensive setup, creating very little of note before being subbed off on the hour mark. Gets an extra point for an impressive work rate.

Donyell Malen

Paul: 6

Joey: 6

Yash: 6.5

One of a very small number of bright sparks in Friday’s performance, accumulating the highest expected assists and making multiple clever runs, one of which resulted in the disallowed goal.

Youssoufa Moukoko

Paul: 5

Joey: 5

I’ve suggested that Moukoko deserves to start, but I have been unimpressed with his performances when given opportunities recently. He was great as a sub against Darmstadt and Köln, but his appearances as a starter leave much to be desired.

Yash: 4

No involvement of significance, beyond the pass for the disallowed Malen goal. Looks significantly better off the bench.

Niclas Füllkrug

Paul: 6

Joey: 6

Had a few decent attempts, but nothing that was good enough to challenge Kevin Müller

Yash: 6

Heavily involved, and very useful as a creative foil for the more direct players around him, but his efforts were ultimately in vain.

Substitutes

Marius Wolf

Paul: 4

Joey: 4

Yash: 4.5

Emre Can

Paul: 5

Joey: 5

Significant improvement replacing Salih Özcan, but still not good enough.

Yash: 5

Ole Pohlmann

Paul: 6

Joey: 5

Yash: 5.5

Ramy Bensebaini

N/A

Overall

Paul: 4

I don’t know what to say man. Nothing happened. Two hours went by and nothing happened. Sky Sports haven’t responded to my emails demanding a refund, and my local MP won’t answer my calls anymore after the incident with the bins.

Joey: 5

This was a very neutral game. As Paul said, nothing happened. Dortmund tend to entertain, but this game was just dull. Let’s see, we got a clean sheet. That’s something. The squad was depleted, and we faced a newly-promoted side. Did you expect a blowout? Teams new to the Bundesliga spell disaster for Dortmund every season. It could have been worse. Hopefully Brandt, Reus and company will return soon.

Yash: 3

When I saw the squad that was travelling to Heidenheim, I turned to a friend and, half-joking, said “this one’s going to be a 0-0 and we’ll have a sub-1 xG”. Vindication has rarely tasted so sour. Not only did the game finish 0-0, BVB also finished with a paltry 0.6 xG, according to FB Ref.

The only thing I’d hoped for going into this game was that we’d see the impressive Kjell Wätjen make his senior debut. Unfortunately, all we got was a whole load of nothing, with only a small number of players turning in acceptable performances. It’s games like these where it looks like Dortmund haven’t got a lot of strings to their bow. There was no one they could bring off the bench to change their fortunes going forward. This made BVB rather predictable and easy to defend against, as Heidenheim’s disciplined defense eased Moukoko and Bynoe-Gittens out of the way without breaking much of a sweat. I can’t wait for Brandt and Reus to be back; we really needed their creativity and experience here.

Your Thoughts?

What did you make of Borussia Dortmund’s failure to create any offensive threat against Heidenheim?