Youngster Ansgar Knauff emerged as the late hero as Borussia Dortmund came from behind to beat VfB Stuttgart 3-2 on Saturday.

Borussia Dortmund remained in the fight for a top four spot after coming from behind to register a 3-2 victory over VfB Stuttgart. Although the result does not help them bridge the gap to fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt, it does help them maintain pressure on their rivals, especially now with VfL Wolfsburg also in the picture.

It was a miserable start to the game for the Black and Yellows, who lacked any cohesion as almost all of the players looked frustrated with nothing really to offer going forward. And quite systematically, they found themselves a goal down in the 17th minute when Sasa Kalajdzic’s accurate header found the top corner of Marwin Hitz’s far side.

The half-time ended with Stuttgart ahead by a goal, almost prompting Dortmund to make a comeback in the second half, which is exactly what they did. The players looked more accountable and diligent, linking up well and creating chances before Jude Bellingham eventually scored the equaliser in the 47th minute.

Dortmund then grabbed the lead in the 52nd minute through Marco Reus, but yet another defensive error allowed Stuttgart to claw their way back into the game by scoring in the 78th minute. The visitors, though, had one sleeve in their hands as substitute Ansgar Knauff appeared from nowhere to score a dream goal, just ten minutes from time.

It sealed all three points for Edin Terzic’s men and here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Borussia Dortmund players following their hard-fought win over Stuttgart this weekend.

Marwin Hitz: 5/10

Marwin Hitz was once again caught out by a perfectly placed header as the Borussia Dortmund goalkeeper was too slow to position himself accordingly. Could not do much to save the second goal either, which should definitely raise concerns over his credibility over Roman Burki in goal.

Mateu Morey: 4/10

Mateu Morey had a disastrous game at right-back for Borussia Dortmund. He failed to offer any real quality going forward but most importantly, the youngster made two grave defensive errors, one of which led to the unnecessary second goal for Stuttgart, changing the tie on its head. The lack of a quality right-back will be a concern for Edin Terzic heading into the Manchester City game.

Manuel Akanji: 7.5/10

Manuel Akanji was by far the most impressive defender for Borussia Dortmund in this game. The Swiss international looked calm and composed at the back, barely looking troubled in dealing with the Stuttgart attackers. His forward passing was also top-notch, with the former FC Basel starlet seemingly becoming BVB’s best defender.

Mats Hummels: 6.5/10

Mast Hummels helped out Akanji with his additional composure and experience at the back. Had a rather peaceful first-half despite conceding a goal, but he had to be subbed off at half-time due to a stomach problem.

Raphael Guerreiro: 6.5/10

It was another poor performance from Raphael Guerreiro, which is odd given his quality. The marauding left-back was very useful with his forays down the flanks, getting into several good positions. However, his decision making was simply horrendous as he struggled to find too many bodies inside the box.

Thomas Delaney: 7/10

Thomas Delaney was tasked with the responsibility of offering stability at the base of Dortmund’s 4-3-3. The Dane looked shaky at times, but his remarkable work ethic and tenacity helped the Black and Yellows make an impressive comeback in the second half. A vital cog in midfield, as always.

Jude Bellingham: 8/10

Jude Bellingham started the game slowly but eventually became a key outlet for Borussia Dortmund in midfield. His tenacity, aggression and inspiring attitude make it almost impossible to keep him out of the game. As such, it was the 17-year-old who eventually broke the deadlock for Dortmund, netting the equaliser that also turned out to be his first Bundesliga goal. A star in the making.

Mahmoud Dahoud: 7.5/10

Mahmoud Dahoud was the beating hard of the Borussia Dortmund midfield that tried its best to make things happen, especially in the second half. Looked calm and composed in possession, even testing the opposing goalkeeper whenever in a little pocket of space. A positive display once again from the midfielder, who is set to play a crucial role against Manchester City next week.

Giovanni Reyna: 7.5/10

Giovanni Reyna made a poor start to the game, lacking confidence in his runs while exhibiting poor decision making. However, an improved second half display saw him emerge as a spark for Dortmund on the right-hand side. The American international played a vital role in the build-up to Bellingham’s opener while also wreaking havoc for Stuttgart with his movements.

Erling Haaland: 7/10

Erling Haaland lacked motivation and confidence in light of Dortmund’s recent struggles. He had a mentality problem especially in the first half, but came back strongly in the second, notably playing a clever dummy to put Marco Reus in acres of space out wide. Looked pumped as usual throughout the remainder of the game, although he once again failed to find the back of the net.

Marco Reus: 8/10

Marco Reus was the only Borussia Dortmund attacker who did not look all that bad in the first half. The captain led his side well, offering a lot of movement in his old left wing position, even netting the second goal with a precise finish past Gregor Kobel. He was taken off midway through the second half, in light of the Manchester City game.

SUBSTITUTES

Emre Can: 7/10

Emre Can replaced Hummels at half-time, slotting in alongside Akanji at the heart of the Dortmund backline. The former Liverpool star offered a lot of energy and motivation, but took too many risks with his driving runs into the final third, one of which eventually led to the second goal from Stuttgart.

Ansgar Knauff: 8/10

Ansgar Knauff replaced Reus in the 67th minute, showcasing incredible bursts of pace that caught the Stuttgart defence by surprise multiple times. However, it was his precise finish that left the opposition completely shocked, as the youngster scored the winner in the 80th minute.

Thorgan Hazard: N/A

Thorgan Hazard replaced Bellingham during the final phase of the game. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Julian Brandt: N/A

Julian Brandt replaced Reyna during the final phase of the game. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

Lukasz Piszczek: N/A

It was a welcome sight for Borussia Dortmund fans to see Lukasz Piszczek making an appearance late in the game. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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