Having been embarrassed in last week’s Der Klassiker against Bayern Munich and also suffering a 2-1 defeat against this week’s opponents VfB Stuttgart back in November, a classy performance was needed for Borussia Dortmund in order to continue to push for a Champions League place at the end of the season.
A 3-0 victory would’ve settled both players’ and fans’ nerves once the game was over with goals coming from the impressive three of Christian Pulisic, Michy Batshuayi and Maximillian Phillip.
A much-improved performance from Dortmund then and will really signify how they intend to end what’s been a disappointing season both in Germany and in European competition as they look to develop in August.
So which players impressed against an in-form Stuttgart side forming a late charge for a European place of their own? Read below to find out more about each player’s performance and rating out of 10 to highlight their influence in the game:
GK – Roman Burki – 6/10
Although they were some dodgy moments early on in the game with the Switzerland international, his performance levels did step up and looked much more composed as the game went on.
Stuttgart’s pressure and attacking threat did die out throughout the game which left Burki with less to do which is why his score is slightly less than the others as he had less to do. However, the 27-year-old did keep a clean sheet and when he was called upon did step up, which many fans will be glad to see as the former Freiburg man will admit that this season has not been his best.
But this showing will give himself and the rest of the Dortmund side great encouragement going into the final few weeks of the Bundesliga.
RB – Lukasz Piszczek – 7/10
For years, Piszczek has been one of Dortmund’s most consistent performers but the Polish international has struggled so far this season along with many of Borussia Dortmund.
But against VfL Stuttgart, he looked back to his best with a strong defensive display and a dynamic attacking threat going forwards which really benefitted his side at both ends of the pitch.
With a performance like this one, it seems like both he and his club’s luck is changing and should take this inspiration to give themselves the best chance of playing European competition next season.
CB – Sokratis – 7/10
One of the stalwarts at the club who has also not been at his best this season, looked a much stronger defender against Stuttgart, signifying a real improved performance from Dortmund.
The Greek international looked much more comfortable on the ball as well which is a big difference from recent performances where he’s looked nervous and unsettled in possession.
Hopefully, he like most of the other Dortmund players, can take things forward and take inspiration into the remainder of the season.
CB – Omer Toprak – 8/10
Omer Toprak has been in and out of the side this season, but from his performance in this game it’s clear that he is a real difference defensively.
Not only does he bring a settled style of play at the back of this Dortmund defence with his ability on the ball but he gives his centre-back partner Sokratis confidence in his own ability to play passes he wouldn’t usually with youngster Manuel Akanji.
Toprak looked like had he been fully fit and playing regularly this season, then perhaps things could’ve been different in particular the number of errors and sloppy goals that his side have conceded this season.
LB – Marcel Schmelzer – 6/10
Marcel Schmelzer is another player who is in a similar position to his full-back counter-part Lukasz Piszczek after a poor showing in his side’s defeat to Bayern Munich last week but there were signs of an improvement this time out.
Schmelzer looked much more like the same defensive wall he has been for several seasons but although there were improvements, the 30-year-old could’ve shown more of a presence going forward but did play much better defensively than in recent weeks.
The German was also substituted by Jeremy Toljan which is further showing that perhaps Schmelzer is not as athletic as he once was but still provided a strong defensively display for his side in this one.
CDM – Mahmoud Dahoud – 8/10
Since joining from Borussia Monchengladbach, many people have wondered if Mahmoud Dahoud could make the step up to a top competitor in both German and European competition.
After a few mixed performances when starting, some fans may be unconvinced but his showing today proved that he can be the dictating playmaker in central-midfield that many believe he can be.
A really strong showing from the youngster and probably his best since joining, leaving many fans hoping he can take confidence and push on from this dominant showing.
CDM – Nuri Sahin – 7/10
Another fringe player this season, Nuri Sahin has been in and out of the starting XI but provided another strong showing like Dahoud to show that this pairing is between than others competing in their position like Gonzalo Castro.
Sahin was everywhere, providing defensive coverage and managing to help his side getting one of their goals as he got down the left-hand side to cut the ball back to Batshuayi to top off what as an impressive showing from the Turkey international.
The performance from the midfield duo of Dahoud and Sahin was a real head-turner and will give fans a great feeling looking at the end of the season and next season as well.
RM – Christian Pulisic – 8/10
Another real difference maker in this Dortmund side, on his day American Christian Pulisic can ignite his side’s attacking threat with his pace and skill.
This skill Pulisic possesses allowed him to pull off a perhaps lucky goal from down the right-hand line catching out keeper Ron-Robert Zieler and giving his side motivation to inspire an impressive 3-0 win.
The USA international not only scored but was a prominent influence with his pace and vision offering chances for his team-mates as well.
He’s another one who’s been in and out of the squad through injury and after this performance and given the fact he’s only 19 will give Dortmund fans real optimism for future seasons.
CAM – Marco Reus – 7/10
Marco Reus has been a funny one.
For years, he has been the talisman of this Dortmund side but injury and poor form has played its part with some question whether he deserves to play in the World Cup squad for Germany this year.
His performance was acceptable and although he was involved in some of his side’s attacking threat, there were moments when you forgot he was playing.
A player of Reus’ quality and calibre should be involved continuously throughout a Dortmund game, particularly if they are to be as successful as the German side plan to be but Reus himself needs to make himself more available in games at the same time.
LM – Max Phillip – 9/10 (MOM)
A summer signing from SC Freiburg, Max Phillip has been troubled with injury but in the games, he has been involved but this could be the game that Phillip announces himself at Borussia Dortmund as a stand-out player.
The German was a persistent threat throughout the game and was involved in almost everything Dortmund attacked with, the Stuttgart defenders simply couldn’t handle him.
The 24-year-old picked up his fully-deserved goal in the 59th minute with a well-taken finish and showed glimpses of a prime Marco Reus at times in the game.
If Phillip was to play at this level from now own, then there’s no reason as to why he can’t replace Reus once he retires as he’s four years younger than Reus, giving him time to overcome Reus’ place as the talisman at Borussia Dortmund.
ST – Michy Batshuayi – 7/10
A surprisingly quiet game for the ‘Batsman’ but still managed to bag himself a goal even though he wasn’t as involved as he is been in Dortmund colours in the past.
Particularly in the first-half, the Belgium international was almost non-existent and struggled to create an opportunity for himself to score his 7th goal in 9 in the Bundesliga.
However, once he had scored his goal in the 48th minute, this gave the 24-year-old a real confidence boost and looked much more threatening, picking up the ball in dangerous places and looked a more dangerous threat for the remainder of the second-half.
Overall, not a terrible game for Batshuayi but not his best in a Dortmund shirt and the fact he scored and looked a real threat for a majority of the second-half means he is credible of his rating in this game.
Subs off the bench:
LB – Jeremy Toljan – 7/10
The term ‘fresh legs’ is a common term in football and this is exactly what the young full-back brought to the side when he came for Schmelzer in the second-half.
He definitely provided much more of an attacking threat for Dortmund and a bit more ability in the final third of the pitch.
The 24 year-old looked in this game that he can be the replacement for Schmelzer once he retires as he put in a much stronger performance in this game, but will need to continue to work on defensive work to become a world-class full-back and earn a place in the starting line-up.
LM – Jadon Sancho – 6/10
The young Englishman only came on with a few minutes left to play after he returned from a spell on the sidelines through injury for the first time since February.
However, although it took a little while to get back to get used to the pace of the Bundesliga, the youngster did have flashes of his silky brilliance that fans were just getting used to before he got injured.
But that’s all in the past now as Sancho looks to earn his place back in the first-team and starting line-up to fulfil that star potential that many Dortmund and England fans feel he can reach.
CAM – Sergio Gomez – 6/10
For any young player to come on and make their debut is always a great moment for both the player and the club so for 17 year-old Sergio Gomez to come on for a 3 minute debut is hopefully a sign of things to come.
Signed from Spanish giants Barcelona in January, Gomez initially joined up with the u19 squad but has clearly impressed to earn himself his first-team debut at just 17.
Gomez has a clear future in the game and if he continues to impress, there’s no reason why he can’t gradually increase the number of minutes he gets for the first-team for the remainder of the season and if not, upcoming seasons.
Where does this leave Dortmund?
This leaves Dortmund in 3rd place and looking forward to arguably one of their biggest games of the season, their Revierderby tie against rivals FC Schalke on Sunday.
VfB Stuttgart meanwhile stay in 9th place and look ahead to their game against 13th placed Hannover 96 as they continue in their late charge for a European competition place of their own come the end of the season.