With PSG looming this Wednesday and bitter rival Schalke then following on Saturday, getting a good result against league contender Borussia Moenchengladbach in Gladbach was a necessity this weekend. Dortmund must stay within reach of Bayern, while also building some momentum for the PSG and Schalke showdowns. The trip to Moenchengladbach was far from easy, as, but for, two of Burki’s best saves of the season , BMG could have and should have scored more than just 1. The first save was the Burki coming out, arms stretched, and standing tall to prevent a forward through the defense from getting it past him. And the second, possibly one of Burki’s highlights of the year, was his diving and outstretched to barely push off a quick Plea burner. In fairness, Sommer had his own miraculous save off of a perfect Hazard header from a perfect Hakimi cross.
But at the end of the day, the Black and Yellow just had more individual talent that stepped up in a big road game and delivered when it counted. Dortmund had BMG’s number this year, sweeping the league home and away series, while also eliminating BMG from the German Cup.
The first goal for the Black and Yellow was unorthodox to say the least. A Brandt ball through to Hazard that he never seemed to get a good touch on and found himself overrunning the ball. Impressively, he recovers the ball and tries to push it out wide of the defense, but realizes he is being surrounded and running right at two defenders with a third closing. Somehow, he manages to reverse direction back towards the middle of the box and finding an opening on the inside of the defenders, who are standing flatfooted trying to adjust to his quick change of direction, he rips a perfect shot right into goal. Precisely the craft move that reminds Dortmund fans why the club worked so hard to sign him last summer.
The Foals’ goal was a clusterf*ck off a set piece. Zagadou is looking in at the pack of players all huddled waiting for service and doesn’t see the player he is purportedly defending slip back wide of the pack. The wide open player easily slides the ball into Stindl, who had just finished some clever, quick run with enough faints to bluff Brandt into running off into no man’s land. Haaland saw what was happening and dropped back to protect the goal, but the big forward couldn’t get set up in time in front of goal to block Stindl’s quick shot. An all too familiar Dortmund mess of a defense on a set piece.
In the end, though, it was Hakimi’s blazing speed that was the difference in the game. A perfect through ball to the sprinting Hakimi out on the right side of goal and he hit the afterburners well past the Foals backline, who were powerless to stop it, and turning it in to find himself one-on-one with the goaltender, where he confidently ripped one in for the game winning goal. Okay, maybe it wasn’t exactly as smooth as I made it sound, but Hakimi has enough control of the ball to put it exactly where he wanted it.
Now the Black and Yellow travel to Paris for no easy feat. Mbappe has raised his game recently, and Dortmund only hold a one goal lead after their 2-1 win in Dortmund. THe Black and Yellow are playing well, though, and were able to rest Sancho for the first half, giving Hazard a start at his former home. A tough situation for both coaches as Tuchel needs to win at home, but has to be careful not to expose his D. Similarly, Favre’s nature will be to set up a mid-block or god forbid, even try to sit deep, in a hostile ground with a one goal advantage. However, he also knows his team is at its best when it is attacking. Should be fun.