Borussia Dortmund secured their first clean sheet in the Bundesliga by registering a comprehensive 2-0 win over 1.FC Koln.

Borussia Dortmund maintained pressure on league leaders Bayern Munich after securing a comfortable 2-0 victory over 1.FC Koln. The win helped them remain just a point below the Bavarians, who had secured a thumping 5-2 triumph against Union Berlin on the same day.

Starting the game without the likes of Erling Haaland, Donyell Malen, Raphael Guerreiro, Giovanni Reyna and Mahmoud Dahoud, Borussia Dortmund performed rather well. It wasn’t the most polished performance from the Black and Yellow, who struggled to maintain constant pressure on their opponents, but they were able to create the occasional openings.

One of such moments led to the well-deserved opener from Thorgan Hazard, whose well-directed header beat Timo Horn in goal. The breakthrough came just before the half-time whistle, so Koln did start the second half with intent. The Billygoats even dominated the first ten minutes and created a few notable chances.

However, Steffen Baumgart’s men lacked the end product in the final third. And unsurprisingly, it cost them dearly as Dortmund doubled their lead in the 63rd minute through Steffen Tigges. The goal helped them build a strong two-goal cushion and seal all three points. Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Borussia Dortmund players in their comprehensive victory over Koln this weekend.

Gregor Kobel: 7/10

Back into the starting lineup after picking up a knock last weekend, Gregor Kobel once again put it a brilliant display in between the sticks. He made excellent saves to deny Anthony Modeste, and his ability to get off his lines was hugely helpful in covering for Dortmund’s high backline. The goalkeeper also got the taste of his full Bundesliga clean sheet with his new club.

Manuel Akanji: 7.5/10

It was yet another faultless defensive performance from Manuel Akanji. The Dortmund centre-back barely put a foot wrong in this game, often appearing strong and firm with his tackles. The Swiss international is certainly turning into one of the best defenders in the Bundesliga.

Mats Hummels: 7.5/10

Mats Hummels used his experience and imposing presence to offer composure at the heart of the Dortmund backline. His diagonal balls forward were often a delight to watch. The veteran looked solid in one-on-one situations as well, which was often a key weakness in his game. He is looking more comfortable in a central role of a back three.

Marin Pongracic: 7/10

Marin Pongracic operated on the left-hand side of the defence. He didn’t have the greatest of starts, though, causing an error that led to a chance for Koln. He did look rusty in the first period but eventually recovered. His pace and physique were useful in dealing with the Koln pressure throughout the game.

Thomas Meunier: 6.5/10

After a blistering start to the new season, Thomas Meunier hasn’t performed all too well in recent matches. This game was no exception as the right wing-back wasn’t as useful with his forays down the flanks. However, he was pretty solid in defence while his crosses, though limited in numbers, were dangerous as ever.

Jude Bellingham: 7.5/10

Jude Bellingham’s box-to-box qualities were once again useful for Dortmund as the youngster produced another sublime show of athleticism and energy in midfield. He was never bogged down by the Koln press and offered excellent support to Witsel in the middle of the park. Also made his presence felt in the final third, notably clipping the ball delightfully for Hazard’s opener.

Axel Witsel: 7/10

Axel Witsel had a good game in the holding midfield role this afternoon. The veteran midfielder did not slow the game down for the Black and Yellows and was willing to take more risks with his passing. His security in possession is often an asset for any team, especially when facing a side like Koln.

Marius Wolf: 7.5/10

Marius Wolf put in another spirited display on the left flank. He exhibited his pace, aggression and commitment and notably created a glorious opportunity for Marco Reus in the first half. Wolf’s improving performances are a very good sign for Marco Rose, especially in the absence of his two main left-backs.

Julian Brandt: 8/10

Julian Brandt was arguably the best performer for Dortmund in this fixture. The former Leverkusen starlet looked much more solid on the ball while improving his link-up play. The midfielder also showcased his quick feet to squeeze through tight spaces before creating chances for his teammates.

He was notably involved in the opener, valiantly winning a header just outside the box before producing the assist for Tigges’ second-half goal. It appears Brandt is really starting to find his feet under Rose after falling behind Gio Reyna in the pecking order earlier in the campaign.

Marco Reus: 6.5/10

Marco Reus was exceptional as ever, with his attacking and defensive work rate and most importantly, his one-touch football skill that served as a catalyst for Dortmund’s attractive football. At the same time, the German missed two clear cut opportunities in this game, which pretty much summed up his form in front of goal this season.

Thorgan Hazard: 7.5/10

Starting in the number nine role in the absence of Haaland, Thorgan Hazard produced an excellent shift this afternoon. He was aggressive in the press, often looking to attack the opposing ball-carriers. He was sharp on the counter as well and was rewarded for his efforts with a goal in the first half. Certainly a better attacking outlet than Donyell Malen in the number nine slot.

Substitutes

Steffen Tigges: 7/10

Steffen Tigges came on around the hour mark at the expense of Pongracic. It was a smart move by Rose as BVB had needed a strong centre-forward who could offer the physical presence upfront. Tigges, with his tall frame, provided just that while also scoring a headed goal just minutes after coming on.

Donyell Malen: 4/10

While Tigges was very impactful after coming on, Donyell Malen was the polar opposite. The Dutchman was far too predictable for Koln defenders, often losing possession in key areas. His decision-making was questionable as well, which is not a good sign for Dortmund at all.

Felix Passlack: 5/10

A late replacement for Wolf. He simply isn’t strong enough to thrive at his level.

Ansgar Knauff: N/A

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

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