Real Madrid won for the first time at Borussia Dortmund, triumphing 3-1 in an entertaining game. For the neutral, the game lived up to both — its history and its hype. It has to be said, Peter Bosz’s tactical naivety was exposed, as predicted by ESPN’s Stefan Buczko. It was no surprise to see Real’s class and calmness come to the fore, as hinted by the excellent Graham Hunter. My pick for this game on the other hand, was a bit naive.
There were some excellent performances from the men in white, rather less so for the home team. Here are the ratings for all the players on the Through Ball.
Roman Bürki 7
Couldn’t do anything to prevent the goals scored by Real. Made some smart saves and kept his composure in the face of Real’s numerous breaks. Collected with authority and more could have been made of his good distribution.
Lukasz Piszczek 6
Is still excellent in possession, but increasingly vulnerable defending on the flanks. Feels particularly vulnerable in Bosz’s system. Accommodating him at right-back also results in sacrificing Jeremy Toljan away from his favoured position.
Stable and won almost everything in the air against Ronaldo and Bale. Whether he can succeed in a high pressing system without Marc Batra at his side is up for debate.
Ömer Toprak 4
Struggled to adjust to a pressing system at Leverkusen and the same is happening at BVB. Toprak was caught on the break time and again. Managing only two clearances and no tackles, Toprak seems a liability in his early days at Dortmund.
Jeremy Toljan 5
Still to play in his preferred position, Toljan tried his best at left-back, but never seemed completely at ease. If Dortmund are going to have an open philosophy, they could do worse than let players attack from their natural side.
Nuri Sahin 6
One of Dortmund’s favourite sons, Sahin was neat in possession, but couldn’t keep up his early season form. Having no partner beside him against Modric and Kroos meant he couldn’t stem the tide of the game.
Gonzalo Castro 6
Delivered an excellent cross to assist Aubameyang’s goal. Picked up several good positions, but his control let him down in key moments. With so much creative talent in the starting eleven, was Castro’s roving role necessary?
Mario Götze 8Embed from Getty Images
A supreme performance that highlighted all of the German international’s best attributes. Götze glided through his markers easily, suggesting a return to his best form after a nightmare two years. Unfortunate not to get an assist from his many delightful through balls.
Andriy Yarmalenko 7
A superb start to the Ukrainian winger’s Dortmund career continued on the night. Dovetailed naturally with Aubameyang and Götze. Used his trickery to retain the ball in dangerous positions and delivered crosses with devilish whip that stretched Real’s defence.
Maximilian Philipp 5
A sobering night for the young German, who until this game, had made an excellent start to his BVB career. Struggled to get change out of Ramos and Varane and his delivery from out wide was woeful.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 7
Kudos for his excellent finish that brought Dortmund back in to the game. The Gabonese striker was a threat throughout with his movement, though his touch let him down on a few promising occasions.
Mahmoud Dahoud 5
Came on along with Weigl and brought some control and ball retention in midfield. However, wasted some opportunities to deliver a precise ball in the final third.
Julian Weigl 6
In an ideal world, would have started alongside Sahin in such a fixture. Registered a 95% passing accuracy during the half an hour he was on the pitch. The damage however, had already been done.
Christian Pulisic N/A
Couldn’t really get into the game when he came on for the last 15 minutes. As usual, the touches the American had, suggested class and technical quality.
Keylor Navas 6
Despite Dortmund playing on the front foot, Navas wasn’t really called into action. Couldn’t do anything about Aubameyang’s goal and was solid the rest of the time.
Daniel Carvajal 8
A brilliant performance from Real’s right-back. Should probably have scored or passed square when put through early on in the game, but that was his only blemish. A beautiful assist for Bale’s stunner and an excellent last-ditch tackle when Dortmund could have equalized, highlighted a memorable night.
Raphael Varane 8
A colossus at the back, it’s easy to forget that Varane is just 24. Handled everything thrown at him with composure and strength. His elegant use of the ball started many of Real’s breaks. Pure class.
Sergio Ramos 7
Made several important clearances and interceptions, Ramos was his inspirational self. Could have conceded a penalty in the first half and should have scored a header from a corner, the kind of chance we are used to seeing him bury.
Had his difficulties with Yarmalenko, but in a game where his lack of pace was meant to be exposed, Nacho generally held firm. He is never going to have the attacking flair of Marcelo or Theo Hernandez, but his defensive reading of the game means he is more than an able back-up in such circumstances.
Made some crucial tackles as expected, but despite Real having the advantage in midfield, the Brazilian defensive midfielder was bypassed rather easily. An exception rather than the norm for one of Real’s most consistent players.
Luka Modric 8
The midfield maestro was his usual self. Purring from the centre of the pitch with his touch and excellent distribution, Modric took up advanced spaces in the last quarter of the game to great effect. Assisted Ronaldo’s match-winning goal and could have had one himself after an exquisitely timed run in the box.
Toni Kroos 8
The second half of Real’s midfield metronome was excellent. For someone who was a fitness doubt before the game, the German exuded authority throughout. Managed to switch tempo with perfectly timed passes to release Real on the break. Kroos also laid the pass out wide that enabled Bale to deliver the assist for Ronaldo’s first goal.
This rating is not an indictment on the brilliant Spaniard. It’s just that by his recent stellar standards Isco didn’t do anything defining in the game. Excellent in possession whenever he was involved.
Cristiano Ronaldo 9
It’s no surprise anymore when Ronaldo delivers. Regardless of the occasion, the difficulty of the opponent, home or away, Ronaldo will find the net. And, find it when it matters. Two precise excellent finishes to put Dortmund to the sword.
Gareth Bale 10Embed from Getty Images
Without wanting to go into hyperbole, this was easily the Welshman’s best performance of the year. Considering the current narrative is that Madrid are better without him, this was a performance to remind everyone how much of a difference maker Bale is at his best. Finally looking match fit, Bale was a constant threat with his runs, dribbling and directness. His volley to open the scoring married technique and skill of the highest order. The cross on the run to Ronaldo for Real’s second goal was made to look easy only because of his impeccable timing and unerring accuracy. Quite simply, a superstar performance.
Marco Asensio 5
Stretched the game when he came on, and should probably have passed to an open Ronaldo when he broke through Dortmund’s defence near the end.
Lucas Vazquez N/A
Neat and tidy, though he didn’t have much to do. Will remain a useful weapon from the bench as the tournament goes on.
Dani Ceballos N/A
A ceremonial appearance, but will likely have a role to play down the line considering Zidane’s mastery of rotation.