Three things we learned as Borussia Dortmund stumbled past a relentless Bochum on Derby Day

Borussia Dortmund overcame VfL Bochum 3-1 at the Westfalenstadion to move into the top four in the Bundesliga. After returning from the Winterpause in a positive fashion, having claimed maximum points from their last two games, Dortmund were on the hunt for their third successive league triumph since matchday eight. For Edin Terzić’s side, with six minutes on the clock, they could have asked for a better start when Niclas Füllkrug calmly slotted BvB into the lead from the penalty spot. However, Bochum would soon find their way into the game, and a Nico Schlotterbeck mistake saw the Dortmund defender slide the ball into the back of his own net to see the game go level at halftime.

After the interval, the rhythm of the game would remain largely the same, as Dortmund failed to match up with Bochum’s energy and urgency. Nevertheless, despite Die Blauen’s best efforts, they failed to find the killer blow, and they would face the consequences. A towering Füllkrug header and another decisive penalty restored Dortmund’s lead. While the hosts hardly dazzled, they were able to edge past their neighbours on Derby Day to move above RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga table, as Bochum remain two places above the relegation zone.

Dortmund are their own worst nightmare

Having come out victorious against Darmstadt and FC Köln in their previous two outings, Dortmund were beginning to suggest that they had turned over a new leaf as they looked to take on Bochum in front of the Westfalenstadion. However, while they could boast a 7-0 aggregate scoreline over the last two matchdays, their performances had failed to impress, and little changed as Bochum came to town.

Once again, Die Schwarzgelben failed to impress, with little creativity or urgency on display as Bochum often looked like the side in control. With Jamie Bynoe-Gittens on the bench, Terzić left one of his most influential players out of the starting XI for a second successive week.

Regardless, when the Englishman entered the pitch, Dortmund had an outlet that brought speed and directness, compared to their slow and sluggish nature with him on the bench. His influence upon his substitution should come as a stark reminder to Terzić as to why he deserves more game time. Dortmund have to ensure they get the best out of the squad they have, as otherwise, they could miss out on the top four.

Frustration for Bochum 

For Bochum, being the underdog is nothing new; in fact, very rarely are Die Unabsteigbaren ever the favourites, especially on Derby Day against their Ruhr neighbours. However, for stages throughout their clash with Dortmund, they appeared much the better side.

Compact and stubborn in defence, they offered BvB very little in front of goal after a frustrating start to the game. Then, when Thomas Letsch’s side looked to venture forward, their build-up play was often quick and concise, the complete opposite of their hosts.

However, what ultimately let Bochum down was their inability to create any clear chances on Alexander Meyer’s goal—an all too familiar feeling for the visitors this season. Regardless on Debry Day, Bochum were able to hold their own for the majority of the contest, and it will give Thomas Letsch a number of positives to take moving forward.

Ian Maatsen is magic

Since losing Raphaël Guerreiro in the summer to Bayern Munich, Dortmund have suffered from a severe lack of creativity on their left-hand side. However, Ian Maatsen’s arrival from Chelsea has ensured that the BvB faithful have already forgotten their former Portuguese star, with their Dutch delight warming the hearts of his adoring fans.

Against Darmstadt and Köln, Maatsen showed exactly what Terzić’s side have been lacking this season. A keen eye for a pass and aggressive with the ball at his feet, the 21-year-old has also been a revelation when being required to defend, and against Bochum, this was no different.

Three successful dribbles, a goal-saving tackle, and a remarkable switched ball for Dortmund’s second goal highlight how crucial Maatsen is for BvB. The Dutchman has proven his quality during his brief stint in Black and Yellow, and while it may be difficult to sign him on a permanent basis in the summer, Dortmund must ensure they do whatever they can to achieve his signature.

GGFN | Will Shopland

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