Julian Ryerson shows he has the ability to bring his game to another level when needed:
Dortmund have found their next Norwegian dynamo in the unlikeliest of places as Julian Ryerson propelled his side over the finish line in the final minutes of the second half. A lung bursting run from the versatile fullback saw him sprint almost the entire length of the pitch, take on Hoffenheim’s defense and the finally slot past Oliver Baumann with style, nutmegging the veteran keeper in the process.
While we’ve known for some time that Ryerson is an able runner and a warrior on the pitch, he’s shown glimpses of his ability in matches where he’s done things one wouldn’t expect for a player of his profile. You could tell he was growing into the game throughout the second half by being consistently more involved in the attacking third, piling in crosses and overall looking for solutions for his side. He was, as always, one of the team’s hardest runners and his tenacity ended up paying off big time.
While I do think that Ryerson still has a ways to go to really live up to the number he wears on his back (26), he did his predecessor, a certain Łukasz Piszczek, very proud with that performance. He may not be the most glamorous player, but his sheer will and tenacity is something his teammates should both learn from and feed off of.
Overall, as we’ve mentioned, this was certainly Dortmund’s best performance to date, however it doesn’t mean that it was perfect . Defensive frailties are still consistently visible when the opposition really bring the game to Dortmund. They were opened up numerous times by the likes of Ihlas Bebou, Andrej Kramarić and Maximilian Beier, all of which proved dangerous and it really took heroics from Nico Schlotterbeck and Gregor Kobel to make sure Hoffenheim didn’t add to their tally on the night. Dortmund also must eliminate the silly behavior that led to Bensebaini’s red card. The Algerian’s dismissal should prove as a lesson for Dortmund’s more hot-headed players so that the club don’t have a repeat situation of this sort. Games such as the one against Hoffenheim are physically taxing as it is, and making games harder than they need to be will prove taxing on the squad as a whole as the season continues.
As for Dortmund’s upcoming games, a tough matchup at home in the Champions League awaits in the form of AC Milan. The Italian side will be a far more rigid test for Dortmund to overcome than Hoffenheim, but with this win under their belt they will hopefully be able to push on and show the same conviction to take a much needed three points in that match as well.