Dortmund's stingy defensive record exposed again in Europe

Borussia Dortmund stay on zero points after two Champions League matchdays, deservedly losing 3-1 against Real Madrid on Tuesday night. For Dortmund, it was the first loss against Los Blancos on home soil in a competitive match in the seventh fixture between the two at the Westfalenstadion.

With both Madrid and Tottenham boasting six points in Group H, it will be an uphill battle for the Black and Yellows from here on out to claim a top two spot.


Although BVB were deserved losers on the night -- and Roman Burki kept Madrid's tally to only three goals -- it wasn't as much doom and gloom as this writer had predicted. The hosts will feel hard done by referee Bjorn Kuipers who didn't send Sergio Ramos off for a handball on the goalline in the 15th minute.

But still, Dortmund were within the grasp of a point until Cristiano Ronaldo's thump in the 79th minute that killed off the match. The German side created a healthy amount of chances themselves with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Andriy Yarmolenko popping up dangerously in front of Keylor Navas several times to potentially equalise.


In the end, Dortmund's high defensive line proved too much of a burden to keep the guests, who had Gareth Bale and Ronaldo lurking upfront, from scoring. Especially since Real's second and third goals came by long passes behind BVB's backline. Another concern for Peter Bosz will be that his team failed to keep the pressure on a press-resistant opponent, making the job for his backline even tougher. In the final 15 minutes, the hosts looked dead in the water with little chance to put any real pressure on Madrid.

BVB now have to take nine points from the next three group stage games or else their ambitions to reach the knockout stages are toast.

Manager rating out of 10

5 -- On the one hand, Bosz's side looked competitive against Real Madrid, on the other hand they sometimes looked a tad too naive in order to grab a result. There remains a question mark behind Dortmund's dealings in high-profile matches.

Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Roman Burki, 8 -- He will once again hear a lot of criticism as Ronaldo's shot 10 minutes before the end beat him at the near post -- a recurring theme from the loss away to Tottenham. Burki, though, pulled off a handful of excellent saves to keep his team in the game, showing a lot of class.

DF Lukasz Piszczek, 6 -- Piszczek's obligatory bad giveaway only happened once the match was decided. He made some impressive defensive plays in a contest that would be unkind to full-backs.

DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 5 -- Sokratis was not too big of a factor in this match with the ball either being played over or around him.

DF Omer Toprak, 5 -- A few vital interceptions here but also some questionable positioning there. Toprak couldn't shine as much he did in the last three league matches.

DF Jeremy Toljan, 6 -- Also had a bad giveaway but he can overall be happy with his performance. Helped as an outlet in attack with overlapping runs.

MF Gonzalo Castro, 7 -- Castro is known for his inconsistency. On Tuesday night he had one of his better matches crowned with a gorgeous assist for Aubameyang.

MF Nuri Sahin, 6 -- Probably wouldn't have started, had Julian Weigl been fit enough. He masked his lack of pace with good positioning off the ball, winning seven interceptions in the process.

MF Mario Gotze, 8 -- Arguably Dortmund's best outfield player on the night. He played some passes in behind Real's defence that deserved a goal but it's Gotze's maturity and footballing IQ that make him a valuable player for the Black and Yellows.

FW Andriy Yarmolenko, 6 -- No wonder strike this time from the Ukrainian, who was a handful on the right side. With a tad more precision in his final ball, Dortmund could have grabbed a point.

FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 6 -- Thirteen goals in 10 competitive matches for Aubameyang, who could have had another on the night. The 28-year-old, however, looks like he could use a break to regain some freshness.

FW Maximilian Philipp, 6 -- The 23-year-old earned himself the nod in recent matches. Helped to balance Dortmund's left side with an adventurous Toljan while making many intelligent runs.


MF Julian Weigl, 6 -- Replaced Sahin with 30 minutes left to play. For about 15 minutes he helped his team to regain some structure and push for an equaliser.

MF Mahmoud Dahoud, 6 -- Was brought on for Gotze together with Weigl. Dahoud always looked close to finding a hole in Madrid's defence but it never came off.

FW Christian Pulisic, NR -- Maybe Pulisic should have been subbed on at the hour-mark as well instead of the 76th minute. His pace might have been utilised then. In the final 15 minutes, Real were mostly on the backfoot.