Erling Haaland scores a brace as Borussia Dortmund secure a vital 2-0 win over VfL Wolfsburg, despite losing Jude Bellingham to a red card.

Borussia Dortmund make a giant step towards their hopes of making a late push for the UEFA Champions League places, securing a 2-0 victory over VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday. The result helps them bridge the gap to their opponent in third place to just two points, and the difference to the fourth spot could be just one point, should Eintracht Frankfurt lose against Bayer Leverkusen.

It was a valiant performance from the Black and Yellows, perhaps not so much from an attacking sense. In fact, they were quite wasteful going forward, often struggling to come up with the end product and had to rely on a defensive error from Ridle Baku to find the opener through Erling Haaland in the 12th minute.

Defensively, Dortmund were supreme, to say the least, as they barely allowed Wolfsburg to dominate the game even when Jude Bellingham was sent off in the 59th minute for his second yellow card. They were rewarded for their defensive efforts as well, with Haaland netting his second goal through a counter-attack in the 68th minute.

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Although the goal was enough to grant all three points for Die Schwarzgelben, they did have a nervy end to the game and lost possession needlessly on multiple occasions, but somehow maintained their two-goal cushion at the end. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these Dortmund players in their crucial win over Wolfsburg this weekend.

Marwin Hitz: 7/10

Marwin Hitz had to remain sharp in between the sticks throughout the course of the game as Wolfsburg had lethal long-range shooters like Xaver Schlager and Maxi Arnold. The Dortmund goalkeeper wasn’t forced to make any huge save, but he remained composed and was very reliable in regards to his claims and punches. Another clean sheet.

Lukasz Piszczek: 7.5/10

Once again getting the nod ahead of Mateu Morey, Lukasz Piszczek was excellent defensively. He showed his ability to read the game by making multiple interventions, while his overall experience was key in helping Dortmund get over the line. He may have done a bit better going forward, but one can only expect so much from a 35-year-old right-back, playing against one of the best teams in the league.

Manuel Akanji: 8/10

Manuel Akanji stepped up his game brilliantly in the absence of Mats Hummels. He was the defensive leader for Dortmund, keeping things neat and tidy with some strong tackles and brilliant interceptions. The Swiss international deserves a lot of credit for keeping Wout Weghorst quiet for the most part as well, emerging as one of the best players on the pitch.

Emre Can: 7.5/10

There were question marks over Emre Can’s selection, and though the Dortmund star did have nervy moments, he did quite a brilliant job defensively. Especially in the second half, the former Liverpool midfielder was a rock at the heart of the four-man BVB backline, making multiple blocks and clearances to help his team retain the clean sheet.

Raphael Guerreiro: 7/10

Raphael Guerreiro looked more mature than usual in his defensive game this evening, often tracking back and helping out his teammates during defensive phases. The Portuguese international did not have much freedom going forward, but it was his work at the back that proved to be crucial for the Black and Yellows.

Jude Bellingham: 4/10

Jude Bellingham did not have the best of games for Borussia Dortmund this evening. He was almost anonymous in the first-half, mostly trying to keep the likes of Schlager and Arnold at bay. His rash fouls made Dortmund vulnerable as he picked up a second yellow around the hour-mark, forcing his team to play with ten men for the rest of the game.

Mahmoud Dahoud: 8/10

Mahmoud Dahoud had a great game in the middle of the park. He looked commanding in the second line of press, often looking to recycle possession. Although his passing wasn’t as fluent as he would have liked, the former Gladbach star released a vital through ball in the second half to register the assist for Haaland’s second goal.

Giovanni Reyna: 6.5/10

Giovanni Reyna had a relatively poor game for Dortmund considering his recent run of form. He found it difficult to navigate through Wolfsburg’s defensive line, and was either muscled or isolated out wide. He was eventually subbed off midway through the second half, as Edin Terzic opted for fresh faces in the attacking unit.

Marco Reus: 7/10

Marco Reus did not have the greatest of games, looking particularly sloppy on the ball. His link-up play was top-notch, but the experienced forward scuffed some decent opportunities with either poor touches or tame efforts.

That said, Reus was relentless in his defensive game, working hard to press the opposing ball-carriers. Even though the forward could not make an impact on the scoresheet, he did indeed lead from the front.

Jadon Sancho: 5/10

Jadon Sancho was definitely the most inactive Dortmund player on the evening, struggling to make his presence felt up against a Wolves side that pressed him in packs. As a result, he often got isolated and failed to link up with Guerreiro and Reus like he usually does. He was subbed off shortly after Bellingham’s dismissal.

Erling Haaland: 9/10

Erling Haaland was clinical in front of goal, first capitalising on Baku’s misplaced backpass to score the opener before making an amazing run to beat Koen Casteels on the counter. Apart from the goals, though, the Norwegian international made life infinitely difficult for the Wolves centre-backs with his strength and hold-up play, which allowed the Dortmund runners to make incisive movements in behind the backline.

Substitutes

Thomas Delaney: 7/10

Thomas Delaney was brought on shortly after Bellingham’s dismissal. His composure, work ethic and motivation were vital in helping Borussia Dortmund maintain their two-goal cushion during the remainder of the game.

Thorgan Hazard: 6/10

Thorgan Hazard didn’t make too much of an impact after coming on during the final phase of the game. Would have preferred to start, but with Sancho back and Reyna in good form, the Belgian will have to fight for his place in the team.

Thomas Meunier: N/A

A late replacement for Reus. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.

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