With a third league victory in a row – the seventh win in nine games – Borussia Dortmund are on the right track in the Bundesliga. Even without Erling Haaland, they managed another three goals. In Bielefeld, it was three defensive players that came up with the goods for BVB. And Marco Rose also found the answer to the perhaps even greater problem of the missing full-backs.
In the absence of Thomas Meunier, Raphael Guerreiro, Mateu Morey and Nico Schulz, Rose played a back-three with a wide, six-man midfield, with Thorgan Hazard on the left and Marius Wolf on the right dropping in to help the defenders while Bielefeld had the ball. The formation gave BVB an extra man in midfield and thus gave them control.
"Overall, I felt it was a deserved victory. After a good initial phase, it got a bit bumpy at times. The second half was very controlled, and when we made it 3-0, we put the game to bed really," said the coach, who did not complain about the problems in terms of personnel and instead tried to offer solutions for the team.
"That was a really good response from us," Manuel Akanji said, referring to the thrashing in Amsterdam four days earlier. "Unfortunately, we let in a goal just before the end. I would have liked to have kept a clean sheet. Despite that, it was a good game for us over 90 minutes." The penalty was very important, in particular the work done by Donyell Malen to draw the foul. In fact, it looked like Bielefeld felt the game was all over at that point. "We struggled at times," Akanji said: "Going 1-0 up was very important. After that, we got back into our rhythm."
The penalty was preceded by a brief conversation between Emre Can and Marco Reus. "I asked Marco if I could take it," Can revealed after the game: "He asked me if I felt confident. And I said: 'Yes, I feel good.'" With a stuttering run-up, he sent Bielefeld keeper Ortega the wrong way and slotted the ball into the opposite corner.
"It was important that we got the second before the break," Akanji said about Mats Hummels' wondergoal to make it 2-0 – a side scissor-kick from the edge of the area. "It was one of my better goals today," said the veteran with a smile: "It flew in quite nicely."
The third goal was also easy on the eye: Jude Bellingham left two Bielefeld players standing as he made his way into the penalty area. "I feinted to beat the first guy and he fell for it," the 18-year-old told BVB TV: "I wanted to shoot at first, but then I saw the gap I could get into. And then the goalkeeper came out, so I lifted the ball over him."
"Jude's goal was even better than the one before" (by Hummels), said Marco Rose, praising his young star, and he was delighted to win an important victory after a turbulent week: "Unfortunately, we let in a goal just before the end. Still, it was a good game from us for over 90 minutes."
The only bad news was the latest injury: Gregor Kobel was taken off at half-time. "Greg had to risk it all to make the save and he collided with the post. During the break, the muscle seized up," said Rose, who was unable to provide a final diagnosis and said: "I hope the injury isn't anything like Erling's..."