Erling Haaland and Marco Reus struggled as Borussia Dortmund fell to a 3-2 defeat to Hertha Berlin at Olympiastadion on Saturday.
2021 came to a disappointing ending for Borussia Dortmund, as they slumped to a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Hertha Berlin. The defeat has helped Bayern Munich extend their lead to nine points at the top of the table, virtually making them undisputed favourites to clinch a record tenth Bundesliga title in a row.
As the result suggests, it was yet another erratic display from Borussia Dortmund. The visitors were never on top of the opposition, and although they had no problems creating goalscoring opportunities, they were far too wasteful in the final third.
Nevertheless, Dortmund did score the opener around the half-hour mark, thanks to Julian Brandt. But an underwhelming second half performance meant Die Schwarzgelben conceded two goals in the space of six minutes when strikes from Ishak Belfodil and Marco Richter helped the hosts make a sensational comeback.
Tayfun Korkut’s men masterfully took advantage of Dortmund’s ailing backline to further extend their lead in the 69th minute, with Richter completing his brace. There was still time for late drama as Steffen Tigges pulled one back for Dortmund in the 83rd minute. However, it was too little too late, and here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Dortmund players in their disappointing defeat to Hertha Berlin this weekend.
Marwin Hitz: 6.5/10
With Gregor Kobel out with cold, the onus was on Marwin Hitz to man the goal for Borussia Dortmund. The Swiss international did well to make a couple of excellent saves. But he was not helped out by the defender as Hertha Berlin ran rings around the Dortmund backline.
Thomas Meunier: 6.5/10
It was yet another underwhelming display from Thomas Meunier, who has once again lost his sharpness in providing crosses into the box. His decision-making was questionable as well, while the defender struggled in the build-up play.
Dortmunds defense today is literally:
Yet ppl were gagging at the beginning of the season how GREAT and BETTER their squad was to Bayern…
Abeg pass the blunt😭😭😭😭
— Mikel (@TanguyNianzou) December 18, 2021
Axel Witsel: 5/10
Mats Hummels’s absence proved costly for Dortmund as his deputy Axel Witsel was taken to the cleaners by the Hertha Berlin attackers. Indeed, Myziane Maolida took advantage of the Belgian’s lack of pace to run in behind and catch the opposition on the counter.
Marin Pongracic: 5/10
Starting ahead of Dan-Axel Zagadou, Marin Pongracic was far too incompetent to deal with the threat of Ishak Belfodil. The Wolfsburg loanee was often a mere spectator when Berlin attacked on the counter and was far too slow in closing down the opponents. This may well have been his last game in Dortmund colours.
Nico Schulz: 4/10
Nico Schulz produced another disastrous display at left-back. His lack of defensive prowess allowed Marco Richter the opportunity to become the danger-man for the Dortmund backline, with the winger eventually scoring twice in the second half. Dortmund will be lucky if they can find a buyer for the former Hoffenheim left-back in January.
Emre Can: 5/10
Emre Can was another Dortmund player who struggled to find an identity. The German international often seemed puzzled on the ball, lacking direction to offer any real solidity in the middle of the park.
Mahmoud Dahoud: 5.5/10
Mahmoud Dahoud tried to adopt a more passive outlook after the midweek’s horror show. But he too was unable to navigate through Berlin’s second line of press, thus leading to a lack of chances in the final third. Not to mention, the former Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder missed a glorious opportunity to score in the second half.
Julian Brandt: 7.5/10
Julian Brandt was the only bright spark in an otherwise dire outing for Borussia Dortmund. He tried to make things happen with his neat footwork and excellent build-up play with teammates. The playmaker was even rewarded with a goal to show for his troubles, although he was culpable of playing a careless pass that led to the third goal from Hertha.
Brandt's resurgence of late is definitely the most positive development under Rose
— Lars Pollmann (@LarsPollmann) December 18, 2021
Marco Reus: 5/10
Marco Reus tried his best to create chances in the final third with his clever one-touch passing. But it was simply not the best of performances from the Borussia Dortmund captain, who missed at least two golden opportunities to score early on in the game. Later, he picked up a slight niggle that subbed him off early on in the second half.
Donyell Malen: 6/10
By far the most in-form player for Borussia Dortmund heading into this game, Donyell Malen was unable to provide the spark going forward. He was far too isolated, at times, as Hertha did well to close him down.
Erling Haaland: 6/10
Erling Haaland looked unmotivated, which has been a feature of his game lately. The Norwegian failed to show the aggression that has made life difficult for the majority of Bundesliga defenders over the past two years. As a result, he failed to get involved in the thick of things, especially after the first 15 minutes.
Erling Haaland after seeing the result pic.twitter.com/MlL0MajXq4
— 🪄🇳🇱 (@FDJChief) December 14, 2021
Thorgan Hazard: 6/10
Thorgan Hazard replaced Reus to add more energy in the final third. Unfortunately, his introduction had very little impact on Dortmund’s offensive setup.
Raphael Guerreiro: 6/10
It was nice to see Raphael Guerreiro making his return to the pitch. The Portuguese international offered some much-needed quality in the left-back position, but the defender did not have enough time to make any notable impact on the proceedings.
Marius Wolf: N/A
A late replacement for Meunier. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Dan-Axel Zagadou: N/A
A late replacement for Witsel. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Steffen Tigges: N/A
Did well to take his chance late in the game, but he did not play enough to warrant a rating.