Borussia Dortmund stayed top of the Bundesliga table with a 0-0 draw against Hannover on Friday night, but missed a crucial chance to keep up the pressure on Bayern Munich in the title race by dropping two points in just their second game of the season.
The first half saw both sides trying to assert themselves in possession, but both defences did well to prevent the opposition attacks from creating too many chances. Max Philipp was isolated as the lone man up front for Dortmund, whereas Takuma Asano and Niclas Fullkrug for Hannover struggled to find space against a deep-lying Dortmund defence.
The second half saw even less chances created as neither side ever truly took the game into their own hands.
Dortmund will be the more disappointed of the two teams, as they will feel this has been two points dropped in the race for the Bundesliga title and for the league’s coveted Champions League places.
Key Talking Point
Hannover’s best chance of the game, and really their only chance of the game, fell to centre-back Waldemar Anton following a cross into the box. His half-volley looked to be heading in, but Thomas Delaney’s crucial intervention deflected the ball wide.
Hannover never did enough to trouble Roman Burki in Dortmund’s goal though, despite the efforts of Linton Maina on Hannover’s right-wing – who was their only bright spark in the game.
Starting XI: Esser (8); Sorg (7), Anton (7), Wimmer (7), Albornoz (6); Bebou (6), Walace (8), Fossum (7), Maina (9*); Fullkrug (5), Asano (5).
Substitutes: Wood (5), Ostrzolek (5), Bakalorz (5).
STAR MAN – Hannover’s young right-winger Linton Maina put in a standout performance for his side. Maina came through Hannover’s youth team and made his debut last season, showing on Friday night just why Hannover have placed such faith in him.
The 19-year-old was Hannover’s best player on the pitch. He showed youthful exuberance, getting forward well and taking on his man whenever possible, and his determination to get back to defend stopped several dangerous Dortmund attacks. He will be a player to watch out for in the Bundesliga this season.
WORST PLAYER – It may be harsh to label Hannover striker Asano as their worst player of the game, as he did not do anything wrong per se. Both Asano and his strike partner Fullkrug lacked the supply needed to cause problems for Dortmund.
Asano was substituted at half-time and was replaced by another striker in the form of Bobby Wood though, which meant Hannover’s manager was not seeing enough from Asano during the game.
Key Talking Point
Dortmund came into this game knowing they just needed to get the job done away from home against a dogged mid-table side in Hannover. This meant Dortmund would need someone to step up when a good chance presented itself. Both of Dortmund’s best chances of the game fell to Marco Reus.
Reus was denied by a great save by Michael Esser in goal before then hitting the crossbar. The game showed why Dortmund made the loan signing of Paco Alcacer from Barcelona, as Max Philipp as the lone striker did not do enough to add to Dortmund’s chances to win the game.
Starting XI: Burki (6); Piszczek (6), Diallo (8), Akanji (8), Schmelzer (6); Delaney (6), Witsel (6), Dahoud (6); Wolf (4), Philipp (5), Reus (8).
Substitutes: Sancho (5), Guerreiro (5).
STAR MAN – Reus was the best of an average bunch for Dortmund against Hannover. He looked lively in the first half, and was front and centre for Dortmund’s best two chances of the game.
His first chance would have led to a goal if it wasn’t for a brilliant save off the foot by Esser in goal. Reus could have arguably done better with his second chance, however, managing only to hit the crossbar.
WORST PLAYER – Wolf was anonymous on Dortmund’s left wing throughout the entire match. He was often caught in two minds, opting to pass back into midfield to Schmelzer rather than taking on defenders.
Dortmund will be counting the days until the return of Christian Pulisic, who will surely replace Wolf on his return to the first team.
Dortmund did not do enough against Hannover to win all three points, and their manager Lucien Favre will be demanding vast improvements for his side, going forward.
For Dortmund to compete against the likes of Bayern for the Bundesliga title this season, they will have to put in better attacking displays than what they showed against Hannover.