What we learned from Borussia Dortmund’s 3-1 win over Hoffenheim

Borussia Dortmund claimed a 3-1 win over Hoffenheim (Photo by DANIEL ROLAND/AFP via Getty Images)
Borussia Dortmund claimed a 3-1 win over Hoffenheim (Photo by DANIEL ROLAND/AFP via Getty Images) /
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In an exhilarating 3-1 win while being down a man for a significant portion against a surging Hoffenheim side, Borussia Dortmund had many ups and downs.

There were many positives to take away from the match, with the first goal from a striker for Borussia Dortmund this season opening the scoring and the defence showing great resolve. The game got off to a quick start as the two sides exchanged goals that came off errors from veteran defenders John Brooks and Mats Hummels.

Niclas Füllkrug’s opener was the first goal for BVB from any of their three strikers in the Bundesliga this season. Marco Reus then restored his side’s lead in added time in the first-half, before Julian Ryerson finished off the game with a spectacular 80 yard dash that he followed up by nutmegging Oliver Baumann.

Here are three things we learned from Borussia Dortmund’s 3-1 win over Hoffenheim:

Emre Can remains a problem

Salih Özcan is the solution. The Turkish international started ahead of Emre Can for the second game running and showed a good account of himself once again. Özcan has made big strides in his ball-playing skills and has adapted after just one season to a high possession team that is asking a lot more of him than his former club.

Off the ball, Özcan may not win possession as much as Can does; but there is more to those stats with the former slowing transition play and not seeing his tackles and interceptions numbers boosted by opposition teams targeting him to try and win free-kicks.

However, Can’s fiery personality is still an issue on the pitch. Playing in a back three was not where Can was supposed to play when he came on around the 70th minute mark. But Ramy Bensebaini was sent off just moments later, and the club captain was asked to play in defence.

Can’s mistake cannot be attributed to the position forced on him but more so to his self control, raising further questions over his ability as captain. The Germany international appealed for offside incorrectly to the referee three times in the space of twenty seconds. While it is the job of the captain to talk to the referee, the player in question was comfortably onside. More importantly, however, Can was appealing for offside after Dortmund had possession and weren’t able to step up and offer Füllkrug support, allowing Hoffenheim to use their man advantage and then some. This led to Füllkrug losing the ball and a Hoffenheim counter-attack that could’ve been more dangerous than a rushed effort from distance had they been a bit more patient.

As a captain it is your job to be mature. Emre Can should not have stopped playing and gotten his team to properly control more of the space in midfield after the ball was won and worry about arguing with the referee after play was stopped. With a yellow card about every 100 minutes this season, Can needs to start setting a better example for his teammates.