Manuel Veth –
Dortmund v Mönchengladbach – October, 30 – SIGNAL IDUNA Park, Dortmund, Germany
Marco Reus was the big story just before kick-off. The Dortmund star had to sit out the game with a muscle problem, but in his absence, Julian Brandt played in a more central role, which would pay off big time for Dortmund. It was an energetic start to the game in which Dortmund had the first significant chance when Thorgan Hazard hit the crossbar with a shot from outside the box in the 30th minute. Gladbach also had chances. In the 30th minute, Florian Neuhaus failed to capitalise from a Marwin Hitz mistake; the Dortmund keeper then came up big six minutes later to keep out Marcus Thuram from a close distance.
Both sides played wide-open attacking football to kick off the second half. But at the same time, proper goalscoring chances were few and far between in the first 15 minutes. Finally, in the 71st minute, Gladbach found a way through. Oscar Wendt produced a fantastic cross from the left, Marcus Thuram escaped defender Dan-Axel Zagadou, to score with a beautiful header. Five minutes later, Jadon Sancho should have scored the equaliser from close-range, Yann Sommer kept his shot out, but Dortmund kept possession and Julian Brandt finally found the back of the net with a low drive. Brandt was the best player at this stage for Dortmund, and in the 80th minute, he had his second scoring with a great header from inside the box.
Dortmund v Mönchengladbach – Three Stars
Julian Brandt (Borussia Dortmund)
Julian Brandt was the man of the match. In Reus’ absence, Brandt started in the number 10 role, and the attacking midfielder finally started to look comfortable in a black and yellow shirt after weeks of trying to find his groove in Dortmund. Even when Dortmund struggled throughout the first half, Brandt was the best player. Then in the second half, he instigated several attacks and, most importantly, scored the equaliser and then the winner for Dortmund.
Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund)
Thorgan Hazard played a crucial role in overturning the result against his former side. The winger had 57 touches and played four key passes. Most importantly, the former Gladbach winger assisted Brandt’s game-winning goal.
Marcus Thuram (Borussia Mönchengladbach)
The son of Lilian Thuram was constant pain for Dortmund’s defence. Energetic and physical Thuram, in many ways, symbolises what Dortmund lack at the moment, which is a true number 9 presence up front. Thuram’s goal that made it 1-0 is a great example, the forward not only escaped his defender but also used his body to score a beautiful header.
GOALS: 0-1 (Thuram 71’) 1-1 (Julian Brandt, 76’) 2-1 (Brandt, 80’)
A real character test for Borussia Dortmund. Until the 76th minute, it looked like Gladbach were going to win the game. Dortmund, without a true number 9, struggled to create chances inside the box. That only changed after Thuram made it 1-0. Julian Brandt scoring twice in quick succession to overturn the result.
For Gladbach it was a bitter pill to swallow. Despite injuries to several key players—the Foals were without 11 players for this game—Gladbach kept the game even and deserved the lead. Once Dortmund had turned the result around Gladbach ran out of steam.
Dortmund v Mönchengladbach – Line-ups
Hitz – Schulz (Götze, 80′), Zagadou, Akanji, Piszczek – Weigl, Witsel – Hazard, Brandt, Sancho – Bruun Larsen (Hakimi, 63′)
Sommer – Bensebaini (Wendt 30′), Elvedi, Beyer, Lainer – Zakaria, Neuhaus – Benes (Herrmann, 82′) – Thuram, Stindl, Hofmann (Makridis, 88′)
Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others, contributes to Forbes.com and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently splits his time between Victoria, BC, and Munich, Germany. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.