Borussia Dortmund 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen: Key talking points

Lukasz Piszczek (Photo by FRIEDEMANN VOGEL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Lukasz Piszczek (Photo by FRIEDEMANN VOGEL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /
3 of 5
Reinier Jesus showed flashes of his quality. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Reinier Jesus showed flashes of his quality. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images) /

Dortmund’s fringe players get their chance to shine

Having completed all the hard work in terms of Champions League qualification prior to the last day, Edin Terzic was able to allocate some playing time to the fringe players. The likes of Reinier, Nico Schulz, and Julian Brandt were all afforded a start, and for the most part, each of them had a decent performance.

Reinier on his part was responsible for assisting Haaland for his first on the night, just five minutes in. A nice little through ball into the box would have been called offside had Marco Reus snatched at it, but he cleverly left it for Haaland who slotted home quite comfortably. Schulz put in a solid shift as well, making dangerous runs into the box while attending to his defensive duties. However, he did show his usual indecisiveness and lack of technical ability.

Out of all the players who have had less minutes on the pitch for Dortmund the the last couple months, Julian Brandt really stuck out to me. Playing against his former club, Brandt put in what I thought was a far more energetic performance. Barring the occasional misplaced pass he has become slightly known for, Brandt popped up all over the pitch for Dortmund, playing a critical role in winning the ball back and picking out Reinier, who fed Haaland for his first strike on the day.

You don’t often see Julian Brandt winning the ball back like that, but it was a treat to watch. In addition to his energy, he remained a threat, playing in some clever passes to help spring attacks and create scoring opportunities. In particular, I found his interplay with Schulz in the 59th minute quite smooth. A simple pass to Dortmund’s left back sprung yet another good attack in the box. Schulz ran onto the ball and delivered it rather centrally towards Lukáš Hrádecký, but these simple little ideas from Brandt are one of the reasons he has been such a coveted player in the Bundesliga up until this season. It gives me hope that despite the rumors linking him to Arsenal, he can still revive his Dortmund career under Marco Rose.

A final honourable mention has to go out to Roman Bürki who, after losing his spot between the sticks to Marwin Hitz, has performed admirably in Dortmund’s final games of the season. This game in particular underlined his quick reflexes and just how good he can be on his day. This may have also been his last game for Dortmund, with half the world’s keeper population being linked with the club in recent months.

Gregor Kobel also confirmed Dortmund’s interest in him this weekend, which casts further doubt over Bürki’s future. That being said, Dortmund have him to thank in part for the win, as some of his stops were critical in making sure the result was what it was after the final whistle. If anything, he certainly made sure any potential suitors got a good look at his capabilities as the transfer window looms large.