Borussia Dortmund asserted themselves late on at the Signal Iduna Park, with a 3-1 scoreline against Eintracht Frankfurt telling most of the story.
A dull first 45 minutes, the travelling club were more than happy to sit deep and look for counter attacking opportunities. Die Schwarzgelben really missed the influence of Christian Pulisic and Shinji Kagawa, as their attacking creativity was limited.
Fatefully, the stalemate was broken by an old fashioned set piece. With Frankfurt’s defence failing to clear, a bouncing ball saw centre back Abdou Diallo direct his header goalwards. Parried by on loan PSG keeper Kevin Trapp, a free-for-all ended in BVB taking the lead.
The slog continued into the second half, with Dortmund’s slow build up lacking any cutting edge. However, it was a surprise when Frankfurt equalised, as the away side had offered nothing in front of net up until that point. Positioning his body acrobatically, Sebastien Haller struck with his first real chance of the whole match.
The game then somewhat exploded into life as substitutes Axel Witsel and Jadon Sancho stepped up only four minutes after Eintracht’s leveller. Searing down the right flank, BVB’s young Englishman picked out Marius Wolf at the back stick. A very quiet game all round, the former Die Adler man produced a composed finish to reestablish Dortmund’s lead.
Die Schwarzgelben then sealed the victory after a smartly worked short corner between Sancho and Paco Alcacer. The former showcased his intricate footwork to create an angle for the latter, and a thunderous finish from the Spaniard saw his Bundesliga account opened.
Key Talking Point
Lucien Favre’s youthful starting eleven.
After four goals in a friendly last week, Jacob Bruun Larsen did enough to start his first senior game since back in October of last year. With Christian Pulisic still recovering from a muscular problem, many supporters had expected Sancho to start.
Wolf’s inclusion may have surprised a few, as previous performances haven’t exactly pulled up trees. Elsewhere, the established international duo of Mario Gotze and Witsel only made the bench.
Most questionable of all was the Swiss manager’s decision to go with Max Philipp up top. Zero goals so far this campaign, it was expected that on -loan Barcelona man Paco Alcacer would slot in. A debatable call, it seems Favre may live to regret showing faith in the German striker.
With Witsel and Sancho combining to create Wolf’s winning goal, it could be suggested that a different starting eleven would’ve allowed Dortmund to have a far more comfortable night.
Starting XI (4-3-3): Burki (6); Piszczek (6), Akanji (7), Diallo (7), Schmelzer (6); Dahoud (5), Delaney (6), Larsen(5); Reus (6), Philipp (5), Wolf (6)
Substitutes: Sancho (8*), Alcacer (7), Witsel (7)
Star Man – Jadon Sancho
Only entering the game after 55 minutes, the winger brought an energy this match was desperately crying out for. Sancho’s pace and verve troubled Frankfurt defenders, who up until that point had been unchallenged.
Assisting Dortmund’s second and third goals, the teenager has given boss Lucien Favre something to think about ahead of next week. Praise has to be given to Manuel Akanji and Diallo also, as the young centre back pair kept Frankfurt’s attack in check.
Worst Player – Jacob Bruun Larsen
Drifting in and out of the game, Larsen looked like he was struggling with confidence. A lack of poise on the ball and poor first touches killed many a promising BVB move.
Substituted after pulling his hamstring ten minutes into the second half, Larsen will be disappointed with how his day went. Max Philipp and Mahmoud Dahoud were also very poor, as BVB found it difficult to break down Frankfurt’s defensive banks.
Starting XI (4-2-3-1): Trapp (5); Da Costa (5), Abraham (5), N’Dicka (6), Falette (5); Torro (4), Fernandes (5); Gacinovic (5), Fabian (4), Kostic (5); Haller (6)
Substitutes: Jovic (6), de Guzman (6*), Muller (5)
Star Man – Jonathan de Guzman
It can’t be said that any of Die Adler’s players stood out, but the introduction of de Guzman did give Frankfurt an outlet.
The Canadian born midfielder linked up play nicely while on the field, and a few speculative efforts kept Roman Burki on his toes.
Worst Player – Marco Fabian
Every single player in Eintracht Frankfurt’s team was poor, but their so-called midfield maestro did nothing except make unsatisfactory tackles.
Removed around the hour mark, Adi Hutter would’ve hoped for much more from his Mexican creator. After a move to Fenerbache collapsed in the summer, you could question Fabian’s current level of motivation.
Reacting positively to losing their lead, BVB could’ve fallen foul if not for depth of squad. Dominating possession is all well and good, but without turning it into goals you always leave yourself vulnerable. Up against Club Brugge on Tuesday, the correct team selection is needed.
As for the away side, it is unsure what coach Adi Hutter is to take from this game. Clearly setting his team up in a defensive manner, Frankfurt looked shakiest just after equalising. Possibly seeing a tough trip like this as a throwaway, points could’ve been earned.