Daniel Pinder – DORTMUND, Germany
Julian Brandt’s masterclass put Borussia Dortmund ahead of Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig into second place after the hosts put three past an uninspiring Wolfsburg side.
The first half was a dull affair, particularly from a Borussia viewpoint. Despite dominating possession, Lucien Favre’s side were unable to carve their way through a packed Wolfsburg defence who boasted the best defence in the Bundesliga, conceding just five goals before their trip to Dortmund.
Lukas Nmecha came closest for the visitors in the first half, clipping the Borussia crossbar after a sublime piece of skill before Lucien Favre was forced into a change. The Swiss tactician’s gamble of starting Marco Reus despite a recent ankle injury didn’t pay off with the Germany international replaced by Mario Götze after 27 minutes.
Götze’s introduction pushed Julian Brandt into his favoured No. 10 position, which paid dividends in the second half with the former Bayer Leverkusen midfielder movement off the ball allowing Borussia into dangerous positions.
The Schwarzgelben came out of the break a reenergised side with Thorgan Hazard putting the hosts ahead seven minutes into the second half. The Belgium international has struggled since his move from Borussia Mönchengladbach in the summer but the 26-year-old is slowly integrating into life at Borussia.
His low drive past Wolfsburg stopper Pavao Pervan spurred Favre’s side into action with left-back Raphaël Guerreiro adding a second momentarily. It was vital that Borussia didn’t sit on a 1-0 lead as by their account, they’ve been poor despite what the scoreline suggests. Götze capped off his performance with Dortmund’s third from the spot two minutes from time.
They were lucky to go home with a point last weekend against Schalke in the Revierderby and whilst they deserved three points on Saturday against Wolfsburg, they still look as though they’re lacking in confidence in comparison to the start of the season.
Bayern Munich’s 4-1 defeat at Eintracht Frankfurt means that Borussia Dortmund climb above their league rivals – who took the Bundesliga title away from them on the final day last season – into second, three points behind leaders Borussia Mönchengladbach.
A stubborn VfL Wolfsburg
If there is one thing we’ve learned about Wolfsburg this season under Oliver Glasner, it’s how stubborn they can be. They came into this game conceding just five goals in nine Bundesliga games. But with just 11 goals all season, they’re over-reliance on Wout Weghorst shows whilst Glasner doesn’t seem to have a plan B. Another uninspiring performance.
Man of the Match – Julian Brandt
Leading the line for Borussia Dortmund ahead of Mario Götze, Julian Brandt was immense after Marco Reus was forced off through injury – allowing the German a free role after the introduction of Götze as Borussia’s striker.