Borussia Dortmund were knocked out of the German Cup after a shocking 2-1 defeat to second division side FC St. Pauli.

Borussia Dortmund suffered an indefensible blow in their DFB Pokal retention hopes after slumping to a shocking 2-1 defeat at the hands of second division league leaders FC St. Pauli.

Coming on the back of a morale-boosting 5-1 win over SC Freiburg, the Black and Yellows produced one of their weakest performances at the Millerntor Stadion. Devoid of desire, aggression and speed, the lacklustre Dortmund team was superbly exploited by an inspiring St. Pauli side who were in the mood for a big upset.

Playing behind the support of 2,000 fans, the hosts were not only energetic but also showcased discipline and tactical superiority over Marco Rose’s diamond shape that failed to combat the man-marking setup of Timo Schultz. Perhaps more importantly, St. Pauli started the game well, capitalising on an early opportunity to score the opener in the 4th minute.

While they allowed Dortmund to control possession, there was very little space available for the attackers in the final third. Their discipline and patience paid off when a quick counter-attack led to Axel Witsel scoring an own goal just before half-time.

The two-goal cushion at half-time was enough for St. Pauli defenders to hold on to, even though they conceded an early second-half goal through Erling Haaland. At the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the Borussia Dortmund players in their abject performance over St. Pauli this midweek.

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Gregor Kobel: 7/10

Despite conceding two goals, Gregor Kobel was a solid performer in between the sticks for Borussia Dortmund. He kept his side in the contest, especially in the second half, making a couple of excellent saves to deny the third goal for St. Pauli. The goalkeeper deserves a better defence ahead of him.

Thomas Meunier: 5/10

After scoring a brace on Friday, Thomas Meunier was merely a shadow of himself against St. Pauli. There was a clear lack of focus and consistency in his game. His passes were often misplaced, while barely any of his crosses found the target. Not a good outing for the “Belgian Beckham”.

Manuel Akanji: 5/10

Manuel Akanji once again showed signs of vulnerability as he looked off the pace in the first half. He was caught out of position at times, and simply didn’t provide enough solidity at the back. He looked more comfortable as the game progressed but was subbed off during the final phase of the proceedings.

Mats Hummels: 6.5/10

It was a mixed performance from Mats Hummels. The defender looked out of pace dealing with the St. Pauli attackers and was caught in behind on multiple occasions. At the same time, he was an inspiration with his forward passes, notably creating an excellent opportunity for Marco Reus in the first half before winning the penalty in the second half.

Raphael Guerreiro: 5.5/10

Raphael Guerreiro was heavily involved in the game on the left flank. He was a constant outlet out wide but lacked the ideas to create any chances. Often tried to be too intricate with his passes, giving the St. Pauli defenders the time to recover and clear the ball out. It has been a disappointing start to 2022 for the highly-rated Portuguese international.

Axel Witsel: 2/10

Axel Witsel was by far the worst performer in the game for Borussia Dortmund. Filling in for the absent Mahmoud Dahoud, the Belgian often slowed the game in midfield with his passive style of play and a sheer avoidance of delivering forward passes. It reflected poorly on Dortmund’s chance creation, while the midfielder’s lack of pace allowed the opposition to launch multiple counters.

Witsel capped off his disastrous performance with a late first-half own goal. He looked tired and is certainly not cut out for the highest level of football anymore.

Julian Brandt: 5/10

It was a sloppy performance from Julian Brandt, who is once again starting to showcase the poor aspects of his game. The playmaker conceded multiple turnovers thanks to his clumsy touches. He was also unable to create anything meaningful going forward, often being hurried and hassled by the St. Pauli defenders.

Jude Bellingham: 6.5/10

It was one of the few games where Jude Bellingham failed to assert his dominance in the proceedings. Especially in the first half, the Englishman kept losing the ball on many occasions and struggled to deal with the St. Pauli press. He improved as the game progressed and ended up becoming one of the few bright spots for Dortmund.

Marco Reus: 4/10

It was arguably one of the worst performances from Marco Reus in a Dortmund shirt. He was lacklustre going forward, failing to put together a sequence of touches and lacking the understanding with most of his teammates. He also missed a glorious opportunity to level the scoring in the first half and looked frustrated, to say the least.

Thorgan Hazard: 5/10

Thorgan Hazard was rewarded for his performances against Frankfurt and Freiburg with a start over Donyell Malen. He made a couple of good runs in behind but missed an excellent opportunity to level the scoring. He didn’t offer much creativity, leading to his substitution around the hour mark.

Erling Haaland: 5/10

Erling Haaland once again lacked the body language to do anything meaningful against the St. Pauli defence, which kept him quiet throughout the course of the game. The Norwegian didn’t quite excel in aerial or physical duels either, and it appears the speculation surrounding his future is starting to affect his performances. Nevertheless, he did keep up his excellent scoring tally by converting a penalty in the second half.


Donyell Malen: 4/10

Donyell Malen didn’t offer anything to the pitch after coming on for Hazard. He tried to make things happen, but a majority of his runs either led to dead-ends or turnovers for the opposition.

Dan-Axel Zagadou: 5/10

Dan-Axel Zagadou replaced Akanji during the final phase of the game. It was nice to see him back in action, and it will be interesting to see if the French-Ivorian pushes for a start on the weekend ahead of Hummels.

Youssoufa Moukoko: N/A

A late replacement for Witsel. Should have come on much earlier.

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