Football is so strange sometimes. One week you show up with a half-assed effort in Heidenheim, and the next you dominate one of the most solid and well-disciplined squads in the Bundesliga. Everything basically went right for Terzic and co. on Friday night, as Christian Streich and his men seemed helpless and out of ideas for basically the entire match. There is no doubt that this was one of Dortmund’s best league performances this season, and while Freiburg are not in the best run of form, they are still a very good team that can trouble even the biggest teams, both domestically and internationally. The Black and Yellows played with a lot of patience and precision today, and you really get the sense of what this team can do when (almost) everyone is healthy.
Here are my observations from Friday’s convincing win against Freiburg.
A Deadly Partnership in the Making?
We gotta talk about it, don’t we? Niclas Füllkrug and Donyell Malen respectively had probably their best games in a black and yellow shirt, period. I will not get too ahead of myself, but the performance from those two tonight was very reminiscent of performances we’ve from duos such as Harry Kane and Son Heung-min at Tottenham or Sané and Kane at Bayern Munich. Malen demonstrated his innate finishing for the first two goals, while Füllkrug showed that he’s more than capable of acting as an elite creator and hold-up player. While this is only based on this one match, it’s clear that Malen feels at home when he has a more direct run at goal and another striker to play off of, and it was this the exact formula that spawned goals galore during his time at PSV Eindhoven. You’ll probably need to decide whether Malkrüg or Fülen sounds better because it’s hard not to imagine them combining for one or two goals next week after what they showed tonight.
Finally, A Good Game Across 90 Minutes
I seriously have a hard time remembering the last time this team played well from start to finish, but tonight they did. Terizc’s team kept pushing from minute one, and didn’t stop after scoring the first and second goals. The build-up combinations were largely successful when Freiburg decided to press, and it seems like the team are getting more used to Sahin’s automatisms. Even when Freiburg managed to snatch the ball, everyone seemed well-positioned and ready to win the ball back.
The first 30 minutes were straight from the gegenpressing handbook, as Dortmund managed a ball recovery time of just 9.7 seconds, while Freiburg’s was 28.2 seconds. Freiburg ended the 1st half with an xG of just 0,05 according to the official Bundesliga stats. The final xG (2,39 - 0,25) was very telling for the match. Tonight, Dortmund weren’t lucky, and Freiburg weren’t unlucky. They outplayed a good team for basically all 90 minutes. Let’s not get too used to it, folks!
Mateu Morey’s Finally Playing Football Again!
I’ll never get the picture of Morey’s injury out of my head. This guy has been through hell, and on Friday night, his hard work was rewarded with 81,365 people chanting his name again and again and again. Morey was one big smile in his short cameo tonight, and I couldn’t help but smile when I saw him enter the pitch. He might be an unknown player to the rest of the world, but I’m sure all Dortmund fans will remember this kid for a long time. An incredibly inspiring story, and let’s just hope he can get his career back on track! Welcome back, Mateu!
Do you think Morey has a chance to play a meaningful role for Dortmund going forward? And do you believe in the Malkrüg hype? Let me know in the comments below!