Erling Haaland once again bagged a brace as Borussia Dortmund secured a nail-biting 4-3 win over Bayer Leverkusen.
Borussia Dortmund completed a late comeback to secure a hard-fought 4-3 win over Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. It was a riveting encounter that saw both teams put their attacking arsenal to the test, ultimately ensuing a high-scoring fest at the BayArena.
It was Leverkusen who dominated the game for the large part, showcasing more efficiency and speed in attacking the opposition. Their high press was also making it difficult for Dortmund to settle in, which is why a ninth-minute opener from the exciting Florian Wirtz was hardly a surprise for any.
Dortmund, though, kept fighting for the equaliser and were rewarded in the 37th minute through Erling Haaland. They even scored another through Jude Bellingham minutes later, but it was ruled out quite controversially by VAR. The tension was fueled further by the late first-half goal from Patrik Schick that restored Leverkusen’s one-goal lead.
The Black and Yellows, nevertheless, scored the second equaliser four minutes into the second half, with former B04 Wunderkind Julian Brandt netting the goal. But the drama continued as Moussa Diaby scored the third for Leverkusen, just six minutes after Brandt’s second equaliser.
Borussia Dortmund, though, upped the ante during the final phase of the game in an attempt to find the third equaliser. The goal arrived in the 71st minute through a mesmerising direct free-kick from Raphael Guerreiro. And moments later, the visitors scored the winner, after receiving a penalty from Odilon Kossounou.
Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will rank the Borussia Dortmund players in their hard-fought win over Bayer Leverkusen in this weekend’s Westduel.
Gregor Kobel: 7/10
Gregor Kobel couldn’t have done anything to save any of the three goals scored by Bayer Leverkusen this afternoon. But he always remained alert and pulled off a very crucial late save from Kerem Demirbay to deny Leverkusen an equaliser in the dying embers of the game. A very reliable presence in between the sticks, even with the ball at his feet.
Kobel conceding 60 goals this season and none his fault
— Lars Pollmann (@LarsPollmann) September 11, 2021
Thomas Meunier: 6/10
It was another disappointing performance from Thomas Meunier, who never really seems to master the art of receiving the ball. His first touch game is very sloppy, and certainly not on the same level as some of his teammates. It becomes a real weakness in the build-up play, although the right-back does deserve credit for the excellent cross that led to Haaland’s equaliser.
Marin Pongracic: 7.5/10
After joining from VfL Wolfsburg on deadline day, Marin Pongracic was given the start in the absence of key players. He didn’t disappoint either, as the Croatian’s towering figure made him a standout presence at the heart of the Dortmund backline. Most of his challenges were also crisp, with the defender ending the game with a duel success rate of 100%. Did lack communication with his teammates, though.
Manuel Akanji: 7.5/10
Manuel Akanji was another Dortmund defender that made a solid impression once again. He was very reliable more often than not, particularly with his challenges and ability to spread the ball from the back. There was a huge misunderstanding with Pongracic for the early opener from Wirtz, but the former Basel man was otherwise top class.
Raphael Guerreiro: 7/10
Raphael Guerreiro really found it difficult to impose his dominance on the left-hand side. He was not very expressive in the final third, and more importantly, looked to be a weak link in defence. But the Portuguese international pulled off one moment of magic late in the game by scoring a direct free-kick and giving Dortmund the much-needed third equaliser.
— 𝙁𝙎 🐝 (@Fs_BVB) September 11, 2021
Axel Witsel: 6/10
Axel Witsel clearly did not fit Borussia Dortmund’s system as he was often too slow to deal with any kind of press. Indeed, there was often a big gap between the two central defenders and the ageing Belgian did very little to fill it up. Not the greatest of performances from Witsel, and it is evident that Dortmund need a more dynamic replacement.
Jude Bellingham: 7/10
Jude Bellingham had to operate in a relatively wider role in the absence of Giovanni Reyna. It affected his game, but the youngster eventually started to settle in, notably scoring a goal in the first half that shouldn’t have been disallowed. Nonetheless, he kept on fighting for his team, riling up the opposition fans and players with his exploits on the pitch. A classic Bellingham display.
— Jude Bellingham (@BellinghamJude) September 11, 2021
Mahmoud Dahoud: 6.5/10
Mahmoud Dahoud wasn’t among the best performers for Borussia Dortmund. He failed to make enough impact on the proceedings, especially with his forward passing. That said, the midfielder did well during the final phase of the game, and even had to play in a more defensive position after the substitution of Witsel.
Julian Brandt: 6/10
Julian Brandt had a disastrous first-half and was culpable for conceding the possession that led to Schick’s late goal. The former Leverkusen man redeemed himself, to an extent, with a well-taken second-half goal. But he continued to struggle and was often slow or lethargic to have any impact on the proceedings.
Marco Reus: 7/10
Marco Reus certainly didn’t have the greatest of games, but he was certainly a better and more reliable creative outlet than Brandt. The absence of Reyna clearly had an impact on how he was marked in the final third. However, the captain showed tremendous determination and won a penalty for his team during the late stages of the game.
Erling Haaland: 8/10
Erling Haaland led the line for Borussia Dortmund with aplomb once again and it is apparent that the young forward is improving his game in more ways than one. His first goal itself came in the form of a header, which is bizarrely a rare phenomenon despite his towering figure in the final third.
The Norwegian continued to make an impression with his work rate on and off the ball. He was rewarded with a late penalty, which the forward did well to convert, despite Lukas Hradecky diving the right way. A mature attacking display from the 21-year-old.
Erling Haaland for Borussia Dortmund:
◎ 65 games
◉ 65 goals
Incredible! 💪 pic.twitter.com/c80SrUrAw7
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 11, 2021
Donyell Malen: 6.5/10
Donyell Malen wasn’t directly involved in any of the goals, but he gave Dortmund some much-needed thrust during the final phase of the game. It was crucial in helping the visitors gain some momentum in the final third.
Mats Hummels: N/A
Mats Hummels used his experience to help his team see out the game. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Marius Wolf: N/A
Frustrated Leverkusen fans and players with his incredible determination in keeping hold of the ball, stealing at least two minutes from the opposition. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.