Here’s how Dortmund’s players rated in their 1-0 win over Borussia Moenchengladbach in the Borussen derby:
Piszcek – 7
Firm and unflustered, Piszcek held his ground yet again in another vital game.
Sokratis – 8
Sokratis’ display was one of his best so far this season. He won the majority of his aerial duels, managed the backline with his oft-underrated organisation skills and had an overall spirited performance.
Akanji – 7
Manuel Akanji’s second start for the club was satisfactory and straightforward. He wasn’t involved on the ball as much as in the previous game but he did well to maintain his concentration and helped the team keep a clean sheet.
Toljan – 7
Toljan seemed to enjoy himself throughout the match by getting into advanced positions as often as he could. He was even found in a central attacking position late in the game. Just like Akanji, he had a decent defensive performance. The only flaw in his game when he plays higher up the pitch and leaves space behind him vacant. Hopefully, it won’t be an issue but with upcoming fixtures against Bayern and Red Bull Leipzig next month, Stoeger should make sure that he prioritises his defensive tasks.
Germany’s answer to Sergio Busquets played like a champion, intercepting balls with ease and tackling Moenchengladbach’s players time and again to put a stop to their dangerous attacks. This wasn’t a game where he shone with his deadly distribution. Rather, he put all his energy into ensuring that the team kept a clean sheet, despite an overall poor team performance.
Castro – 6
Efficient yet unspectacular. His selection by the manager was certainly a tactical one, considering his work rate and his hardness when challenging for the ball. He was aggressive and conceded a few fouls too but he carried out his duties with a professional attitude.
Reus – 7
Once again, Reus hardly had to be involved in the game to make a difference. His presence on the field just seems to have an impact on the team and they look more assured with him back in the side (offensively). In the 32nd minute, he banged in the opener which turned out to be the winner and spent the rest of the game playing with his usual verve and finesse
Gotze – 6
It was an unfortunate night for the babyfaced creator who struggled in a scrappy fixture, that actually called for a player like him to take control and dictate the flow of the game. Alas, it wasn’t to be with Dortmund opting to defend for large parts of the game, leaving Gotze without the weapon he uses to destroy opposition defences…the ball. With 15 minutes left, he was replaced by Christian Pulisic.
Schurrle – 8
I’m not comparing Schurrle to Gerd Muller but he certainly lived up to the legend’s nickname: ‘Der bomber’. His bombing runs from deep constantly put Moenchengladbach on the backfoot and helped Dortmund create several chances on the break. He also provided the assist for Reus’ opener. Were it not for Burki’s excellent performance, Schurrle surely would’ve grabbed the Man of the Match award.
Batshuayi – 6
Batshuayi continued to play with his usual vigour but it was not enough in a match that demanded a lot from Dortmund’s forwards. His hold up play was excellent but that was the only positive aspect of his performance on the night.
Pulisic, Dahoud and Toprak all came on but did little to have a positive effect on the game. They all warranted a 6 for their cameo displays.
Man of the Match:
Roman Burki – 9
Switzerland’s no.1 came to the fore and kept a clean sheet in a vital game for Dortmund. He made an array of top saves and helped Dortmund grind out a victory in a difficult game for the visitors. It was great to see him being the star of the show after weeks of playing under scrutiny by fans and journalists(myself included). Because of his solid showing, Roman Burki wins this week’s Man of the Match award.