Dortmund rush out to early lead, then snuff out UCL opponents
By Peter Vice @ViceytheSS
Two weeks removed from their disappointing loss to Lazio Rome in the opening round of the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League, Germany's Schwarzgelben now top their UCL group following a very convincing 3-0 victory.
Missing Mats Hummels with a thigh strain, Dortmund trainer Lucien Favre moved midfielder Axel Witsel back to pair Manuel Akanji at center-back. The BVB coach also paired Mahmoud Dahoud and Thomas Delaney as double sixes and switched American Giovanni Reyna over the the right flank to make room for Thorgan Hazard on the left.
The resulting very narrow 4-2-3-1, anchored by Julian Brandt at ten, wasn't exactly stable in the opening minutes. Hazard blocked an early Brugge chance in the the 5th and another header missed by millimeters in the 11th.
After the early scares, the visitors capitalized on a goalkeeping error from Simon Mignolet. The 32-year-old former Liverpool backstop failed to make contact on a Delaney cross in the14th, allowing Hazard to steak in and score easily at the back post.
Four minutes later, Witsel headed on for Erling Haaland off a corner. The Norwegian superstar saw his initial effort on target blocked by Mignonlet, but remained aware enough to poke home the round. Haaland would add another two minutes after the half-hour mark. This time Thomas Meunier supplied the assist after Dahoud lofted him a long upfield ball. Haaland taped across the line.
Up three goals with nearly fifteen minutes until the end of the first half, the BVB switched over to defensive cruise control for much of the fixture's duration. Their frazzled opponents got some looks in during a bright stretch between the 56th and 65th, but were otherwise decommissioned until the final whistle blew.