Paco Alcacer makes the difference in Dortmund debut, setting up winner vs. Eintracht
DORTMUND, Germany -- Borussia Dortmund jumped to the top of the table by beating Eintracht Frankfurt 3-1 on Friday, opening the third round of the Bundesliga. It marked the first of seven matches in 22 days for the Black and Yellows.
Centre-back Abdou Diallo almost looked too ashamed to celebrate after stumbling the ball over the line after a corner kick to hand his team the 1-0 lead in the 36th minute. Diallo also did not feel like celebrating in the 68th minute when his botched clearance bounced off Marcel Schmelzer and just moments later into his own net as Sebastien Haller poked home for the guests.
But the hosts responded well. Dortmund's latest addition Paco Alcacer directed a ball into open space for Jadon Sancho. The 18-year-old Englishman let two defenders slide the wrong direction with a shimmy and crossed the ball to Marius Wolf, who volleyed home against his former club -- also refusing to celebrate.
One who did celebrate emphatically in the 88th minute was Alcacer. The Spaniard put the dagger into Frankfurt's hearts and twisted it with a thumping strike from the right edge of the box. The curler took a slight deflection on its way to the top left corner but was unstoppable for Eagles keeper Kevin Trapp.
Usually, this is the place where one would praise the defensive stability or the promising debut of Alcacer, but that has to take a back seat to Borussia Dortmund's very important statement against racism on Friday.
Football is a fabric deeply woven into Germany's culture, and it's important that top-flight clubs consistently take a stand against all kinds of discrimination. BVB are leading by example, and that deserves praise -- and hopefully inspires more clubs, players and official to take a stand as well.
As mentioned above, Dortmund will play seven matches in three weeks. However, one might argue that their looming schedule might come too soon for them as the Ruhr side still looks like a team in preseason. Lucien Favre's men are behind in their progress: too many passes go astray, misunderstandings happen left, right and centre. It just happened to work out against the Eagles because Adi Hutter's men are in a similar spot.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- In the end, substitutes Sancho and Alcacer put the Black and Yellows on the winning path.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 5 -- The Swiss goalkeeper had a few interceptions to make but otherwise was hardly called into action as Frankfurt scored with their only shot on target.
DF Lukasz Piszczek, 4 -- Dortmund had designed a play in which the right-back was supposed to receive the ball in space by making an overlapping run. The routine broke down thrice as his teammates did not account for the 34-year-old's declining pace.
DF Manuel Akanji, 6 -- Both centre-backs arguably showed the most playmaking acumen on the field, feeding their midfielders with passes into half spaces. While that can be helpful, there should be more facets in BVB's buildup.
DF Abdou Diallo, 6 -- Scored a goal and caused a goal. A balanced night for the young centre-back.
DF Marcel Schmelzer, 6 -- "Gegenpressing" describes an aggressive running at opponents by a swarm of players. In the first half, the left-back exercised a one-man counter-pressing, being highly successful at that.
MF Thomas Delaney, 5 -- The Danish international indicated for his defenders where to play the ball, a nice service by the holding midfielder. On the flip side, that meant he was rarely demanding the ball for himself and when he did, his passes rarely went forward.
MF Mahmoud Dahoud, 6 -- Dortmund's only true playmaker on the pitch over- and undercooked a lot of balls.
MF Marius Wolf, 5 -- The former Frankfurt winger unlocked the achievement "worker bee" -- a species unable to pass opponents via take-ons. He did redeem a so-so performance with a thunderous strike to restore the lead.
MF Marco Reus, 4 -- Reus is fit for long enough to have a crisis of form for once. The Dortmund captain has struggled visibly in his past three games, including the ones on international duty for Germany. Many enticing chances died with his poor touch or wayward pass.
MF Jacob Bruun Larsen, 4 -- The 19-year-old earned his first Bundesliga start aqfter scoring four goals against third-tier side VfL Osnabruck a week ago. While making a lot of important defensive runs, his lack of routine was evident, but his corner kick yielded an assist. After 57 minutes, the young Dane was substituted due to hamstring issues.
FW Maximilian Philipp, 3 -- Philipp was a victim of BVB's lack of creativity in buildup, rendering him a passive member for most of the time until his substitution in the 67th minute.
MF Jadon Sancho, 7 -- The substitute skilfully and inadvertently assisted his team's third goal of the night as his attempted dribble bounced off a defender into the path of Alcacer.
FW Paco Alcacer, 7 -- One second assist and one stunning goal meant a promising 23 minutes on his Dortmund debut for the former Barcelona man.
MF Axel Witsel, 6 -- Always cool as a cucumber in his 20-minute run-out.