Three things we learned as Borussia Dortmund completed the double over Newcastle

Borussia Dortmund overcame Newcastle 2-0 at the Westfalenstadion as they look set to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League. Despite Saturday’s result against Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker, BvB raced out of the blocks against Newcastle, and after speculative efforts on goal, they broke the deadlock after 26 minutes. A smooth interchange between Niclas Füllkrug and Marcel Sabitzer saw the Austrian midfielder square the ball to allow Füllkrug to fire in from close range.

A goal that evoked a strong response from the visitors, Newcastle began to show more life but struggled to create a significant chance to test Gregor Kobel as Dortmund hung on to their 1-0 lead heading into half-time. Nevertheless, as the sides came back out after the interval, service resumed as normal, with Newcastle looking to draw level while Dortmund looked to counter. A chance from Joelinton just before the hour mark went begging as his header from point-blank range fizzed wide of the mark, to the delight of the home faithful.

However, as Newcastle continued to throw bodies forward in an attempt to get back into the game, Dortmund would hit them with a devastating counterattack. Karim Adeyemi’s clearance found Julian Brandt, who took on Tino Livramento before slotting in past Nick Pope at the far post to seal the game. Three crucial points for Dortmund look to all but qualify them for the knockout stages, while Newcastle look at third place as their best chance of continuing their European journey in the Europa League.

Dortmund bounce back from Der Klassiker

Prior to kick-off at St. James’ Park, qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League looked like a far cry for Borussia Dortmund. However, an unexpected, but deserved, three points changed the dynamic of Group F.

With Dortmund in the driving seat heading into the home tie against Newcastle, Edin Terzić would have been hoping for a similar display to that in England just two weeks ago. However, a horror show at home to Bayern Munich on Saturday looked to steer Dortmund off course. Nevertheless, thankfully for the Dortmund faithful, the disastrous performance in Der Klassiker appeared to have all been forgotten as BvB proved their character.

Closing down and applying pressure on Eddie Howe’s side, Dortmund appeared to be a different team than that of three days ago. Their excellent work was rewarded in the first half before they once again showed character to deny Newcastle a route back into the game. Despite Newcastle probing the Dortmund rearguard, the hosts would hold firm before hitting the visitors on a dangerous counterattack to ensure they walked away with three points – a stark improvement from Der Klassiker.

The instrumental Julian Brandt 

While Julian Brandt may have underperformed on Saturday in Der Klassiker, compared to the high standards he has set himself in the last two years, his importance was still emphasised. When he was withdrawn in the 66th minute, Dortmund crumbled.

He was instrumental in everything positive Dortmund achieved just three days ago, and against Newcastle, it was no different. With five recoveries and two successful tackles, Brandt was also able to be a threat going forward, creating opportunities for Niclas Füllkrug and himself.

With five goals and five assists in all competitions prior to kick-off, no other Dortmund player had been able to boast more goal contributions this season. After another breathtaking performance, he would secure all three points by keeping composed by taking on Tino Livramento before calmly slotting beyond Nick Pope at the far post. If Dortmund are to achieve anything this season, they have to keep Brandt firing on all cylinders.

Are Dortmund dark horses?

A disappointing start to their Bundesliga campaign looked to disturb Dortmund’s chances of qualifying from their Champions League group after a lacklustre performance in Paris on matchday one. Nevertheless, despite a 2-0 loss to PSG, Die Schwarzgelben still showed signs of their defensive rigidity that has continued throughout their group stage games.

Yet to concede since, Dortmund have been able to combine their solidity at the back with an attacking threat, which has seen them take six crucial points away from Newcastle. While their Bundesliga form has taken another nose dive, they once again looked like a different beast in Europe.

If they can go to Milan and put on a performance similar to their previous two against the Magpies, then they will have to start being taken seriously in the Champions League. With a compact defensive unit and a blistering counterattack, they have all the characteristics to cause trouble in Europe.

GGFN | Will Shopland

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