Borussia Dortmund have made a successful start to their most congested fixture period in the first half of the season (10 games in the space of 32 days). Having trailed 1-0 at half-time on Matchday 8 of the Bundesliga campaign, BVB came back to win 5-2 away to Hertha BSC courtesy of four goals from Erling Haaland and a strike from Raphael Guerreiro. They now sit in second place with 18 points, one behind league leaders Bayern Munich. Youssoufa Moukoko made his debut in the closing stages.
Boris Rupert and Timo Lammert reporting
This game – played behind closed doors at a typically freezing Olympiastadion – saw the hosts take the lead through an unstoppable long-range drive from Matheus Cunha on 33 minutes. Borussia had chances to score before the interval, dominated possession (65%) and had the superior tackle win rate (62%). But the game was eventually turned on its head by a quick-fire Haaland brace (47, 49) after the restart. The Norwegian completed his hat-trick on the hour mark to put his team 3-1 ahead and virtually kill the game. Guerreiro then added another (70) and Haaland netted his fourth (79) to seal a comfortable away win. Cunha had pulled one back from the spot for Hertha directly before the final Haaland goal.
Third-placed Borussia Dortmund had lost only one of their previous 13 competitive meetings with 12th-placed Hertha BSC and were on a six-game unbeaten run against the capital club (W4 D2). The hosts were yet to win a game on home turf this term and had picked up six of their seven points on the road. The visitors, meanwhile, had claimed victories in eight of their previous nine Bundesliga away matches.
Borussia made three changes to the team that started the final match before the break. Can replaced Delaney, who had returned from international duty with a calf injury, while Dahoud and Brandt started in place of Sancho and Reyna. The Englishman and the American lined up alongside the likes of Hazard, Moukoko and Bellingham on a bench brimming with attacking talent.
Having opted for a back four in the last five games, Favre reverted to a back three (Akanji, Hummels, Can) for the first time since the 3-1 defeat to Lazio on 20 October and lined his team up in a 3-4-2-1 formation with Reus and Brandt in central roles behind Haaland. Meunier and Guerreiro occupied the wide berths, while Witsel partnered Dahoud in central midfield. Hertha lined up with a back four and two defensive midfielders, kept the centre compact and took a very aggressive approach. They were flexible going forward with four players that frequently switched positions and roles. Stark sometimes dropped back into the defence when they lost the ball to create a back five and limit the space around the box.
The match & analysis:
The Black & Yellows began the match on the front foot and put Hertha under pressure from the off. They dictated the action in the middle of the park but initially struggled to make an impact in the final third. The first opportunity of the game actually fell to the hosts, though Lukebakio's effort from a central position was wayward. The game was 17 minutes old before BVB had their first chance. Having controlled the ball beautifully, Haaland went for goal but his attempt was blocked and the ball fell to Reus, whose follow-up failed to trouble Schwolow in the Hertha goal.
While Hertha had some difficulties with their build-up play, BVB went into the challenges very aggressively – but rarely ventured in the opposition box. The main threat on the Dortmund goal came when Hertha used the flanks, where they looked dangerous. Hertha showed more purpose on the ball, and on the 33-minute mark they opened the scoring. A long goal-kick from Scholow found Lukebakio, who fed Matheus Cunha. The Brazil youth international went for goal from around 20 metres out and fired the ball into the top right corner to open the scoring.
BVB continued to look purposeful after conceding the opener but did not manage to inject sufficient pace into their play. Hertha continued to look defensively compact and repeatedly managed to press their opponents without leaving gaps for the Black & Yellows to exploit. Only in first-half stoppage time did Borussia create a clear-cut goalscoring opportunity. Having been fed by Brandt, Guerreiro squared the ball to Haaland six metres from goal but the centre-forward appeared to be taken by surprise and a great opportunity went begging. Having spurned the chance, the Black & Yellows went in at the break a goal behind.
But it did not take long after the restart for the equaliser to come. Barely 70 seconds were on the clock by the time Reus received the ball from Meunier and played it first-time into the penalty area. Can latched onto the pass and drove it low across the face of the six-yard box for Haaland to level at 1-1 (47). Things got even better two minutes later when Brandt brilliantly threaded the ball through to Haaland, who beat the offside trap, picked his spot and fired into the far corner from a wide position to make it 2-1 (49). Fortunately, Hertha squandered clear-cut chances either side of that goal.
Haaland was simply too hot for the Hertha defence to handle. On the 62-minute mark, the Norway international took advantage of a misplaced backpass from Alderete and ran in behind the home defence. He first waited for Schwolow to go to ground and then sidestepped the keeper before putting the ball in the back of the net to make it 3-1.
Guerreiro increased the Dortmund lead to 4-1 eight minutes later. The move started with Haaland before Reus played it out to the right for Meunier to cross into the middle. Guerreiro initially slipped on the poor surface but was quick to react and tapped home from close range.
Referee Dankert, who had denied BVB a penalty in the 37th minute for a foul on Haaland, then gifted the capital club a spot-kick in the 79th minute. Cunha took a delayed run-up and slotted home. But Haaland re-established the three-goal cushion to make it 5-2 only 44 seconds later, latching onto a pass from substitute Bellingham and firing home.
With 84 minutes and 44 seconds gone, the 16-year-old Youssoufa Moukoko came on for Haaland and made his debut for a Borussia side that created several more clear-cut chances for the likes of Reyna and Bellingham during an outstanding second-half display.
The Champions League fixture against FC Brugge on Tuesday evening (kick-off 21:00 CET) marks the start of three successive home games for BVB. They will then play host to 1. FC Cologne in the Bundesliga next Saturday (15:30 CET) before taking on Lazio on the Wednesday of the following week (21:00 CET).