Erling Haaland scored his 21st Champions League goal as Borussia Dortmund beat Besiktas 2-1 on Wednesday.
Borussia Dortmund started their UEFA Champions League campaign with a hard-fought win over Besiktas. They were made to work really hard by the Turkish giants at Vodafone Arena, but Marco Rose’s men will be happy with the three points in this tricky affair on Wednesday.
Facing Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League for the first time, Besiktas had an excellent start to the game. They may even have scored had it not been for an early save from Gregor Kobel. After that, Dortmund started to settle in, before eventually dominating the game for the most part of the first half.
Their performance was backed by goals from Jude Bellingham and Erling Haaland. But in the second half, Dortmund became more passive, showing very little adventure going forward and being content with the clean sheet. The move worked out well for the most part until deep in the injury time when Francisco Montero scored from the set-piece to pull one back for his team.
Unfortunately for the hosts, it was too little too late, as the opposition managed to hold on to their slender lead. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Borussia Dortmund players in their narrow win over Besiktas this Wednesday.
Gregor Kobel: 8/10
Gregor Kobel’s early save to deny Michy Batshuayi was a vital moment in the game. It wasn’t his only save of the night either, with the Swiss international denying Besiktas multiple times with his quick reflexes and positioning. He was particularly brilliant in one-on-one situations, though he has been very unfortunate to have failed to keep a single clean sheet for Borussia Dortmund, since joining the club in the summer.
Kobel is the best one-on-one keeper Dortmund have had since Jens Lehmann
— Lars Pollmann (@LarsPollmann) September 15, 2021
Thomas Meunier: 7.5/10
Thomas Meunier had an excellent game down on the right hand side. He looked much more confident in possession, moving forward well and establishing himself as a passing option in the final third. His crosses often looked dangerous as well, while the Belgian was willing to take on opposition players. Dortmund will need a lot more of this in the Bundesliga.
Manuel Akanji: 7/10
Manuel Akanji barely put a foot wrong all game, once again emerging as a rock at the back for Borussia Dortmund. The former FC Basel starlet has really improved a lot over the past 12 months and his work ethic was crucial in helping his team keep the opposition quiet up until injury time.
Mats Hummels: 7/10
Mats Hummels’ inclusion in the starting eleven was a pleasing sight for many BVB fans. The veteran centre-back made a noticeable impact too, adding some much-needed composure at the heart of Dortmund’s four-man backline. Die Schwarzgelben did indeed look rock solid at the back, but he had to be subbed off during the final phase of the game.
Raphael Guerreiro: 7/10
Raphael Guerreiro had a good evening out on the left hand side. He was always an attacking outlet for the visitors going forward, linking up quite well with Donyell Malen and other attackers. He put in a decent shift defensively as well, notably making a couple of excellent recoveries, especially in the second half.
Mahmoud Dahoud: 6.5/10
Mahmoud Dahoud had a key role to play in the first goal, producing a crisp long ball to switch the play. But other than that, the midfielder endured a difficult game, especially in the second half. He couldn’t orchestrate the game as fluently, making a lot of errors, including the tackle that led to the late set-piece goal. Needs to improve on his temperament.
Jude Bellingham: 9/10
Jude Bellingham was the undisputed star performer in this game, dominating Besiktas with his skill and quality. Although a central midfielder by trade, what struck out most about the Englishman this evening was the quick footwork that allowed him to get past multiple defenders, even leading to him creating the goal for Haaland.
18 – Jude Bellingham (18y 78d) has become the youngest player ever to score in consecutive Champions League games, surpassing Kylian Mbappé (18y 85d in March 2017). Prodigy. #BJKBVB pic.twitter.com/gqsbqtNCmT
— OptaFranz (@OptaFranz) September 15, 2021
The 18-year-old also showcased excellent finishing to score the first goal for Dortmund. He was indeed the spark that made the Black and Yellow the better of the two teams, though the youngster was surprisingly subbed off during the final phase of the game.
Julian Brandt: 7/10
Julian Brandt didn’t particularly have a bad evening against Besiktas. In fact, the former Leverkusen star offered decent support to Dahoud in midfield. His ball-carrying ability was a real bonus for the visiting team, although it didn’t last long as he was subbed off at half-time for tactical reasons.
Marco Reus: 6/10
Marco Reus had an underwhelming evening for Dortmund. While he was certainly involved in the game, especially in the link-up, the German could never really offer the end product in the final third. He even missed one of the biggest opportunities in the game, failing to put together a shot on goal from inside the box, late in the game.
Donyell Malen: 7/10
Donyell Malen started the game really well, showcasing pace, energy and dribbling prowess in the final third. He was always a threat to the Besiktas defence, but his influence faded as the game progressed. The attacker looked very tired in the final third, almost sapping out of energy before being replaced by Youssoufa Moukoko.
Erling Haaland: 8/10
Erling Haaland was a threat for Besiktas due to his imposing presence, strength and pace on the counter. As one of the fastest players on the pitch, his presence prevented the opposition from stepping ahead too much. He was also very hard to wrestle off the ball, as he created multiple layoffs for the likes of Reus and Malen.
🔥 21 goals in 17 Champions League games
⚫️🟡 66 goals in 66 games for Dortmund
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) September 15, 2021
Haaland was rewarded for his efforts with a goal late in the first half, capitalising on a chance created by Bellingham. It is his 21st goal in just 17 Champions League appearances as he continues to overtake star players like Gareth Bale in all-time goalscoring charts.
Axel Witsel: 5/10
Axel Witsel’s introduction at half-time was hugely detrimental to Borussia Dortmund. The ageing midfielder slowed the game for the visitors and was way too passive. It allowed Besiktas the opportunity to push forward for a comeback.
Youssoufa Moukoko: 6.5/10
Youssoufa Moukoko made a real impact after coming on for Malen in the 70th minute. He was an attacking dynamo with his pace and aggression and was close to beating Ansu Fati’s record of becoming the youngest goalscorer in Champions League history.
Marius Wolf: 6/10
Marius Wolf was brought in to add more energy and aggression in the Dortmund midfield that lacked fuel. He notably created a glorious opportunity for Ansgar Knauff.
Marin Pongracic: 6/10
Marin Pongracic didn’t offer too much solidity after coming on for Hummels during the final phase of the game.
Ansgar Knauff: N/A
Missed an excellent scoring opportunity late in the game, which could have proven costly.