Borussia Dortmund have qualified for the Europa League knockout rounds. It was the expected easy 4-0 victory over Qäbälä that was achieved without breaking a sweat, but might have come at the expense of Marco Reus.
Borussia Dortmund have listed it on their official website. 31-3 shots were counted in what has been the most one-sided match of Borussia Dortmund’s season thus far. Even though Thomas Tuchel rotated his starting eleven, giving Roman Bürki, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Ilkay Gündogan and Shinji Kagawa a break, the win seemed set in stone from the outset.
Sven Bender filled in for Sokratis, Piszczek started on the right and Ginter replaced Gündogan in midfield. It took the Black and Yellows around half an hour to fully settle into the match. Until then it was Sven Bender, who proved to be adamant in defense, making important tackles and interceptions to shut out Qäbälä.
Mixed zone – find the post match quotes here
The guests didn’t produce a single shot on target, which probably tells more about their weakness than about Dortmund’s defensive strength. The match looked already done and dusted when Marco Reus scored the opener after 27 minutes.
But Reus’ goal might have come at a heavy price, making the rest of the match almost irrelevant. Henrikh Mkhitaryan played a superb match topping it off with a thumping strike, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang got his name back on the score sheet and Adnan Januzaj is apparently still alive.
Though Reus strained a thigh muscle when scoring that might keep him out for the derby on Sunday. Thomas Tuchel was vague on the post match news conference on Reus’ chances to be fit in time: “Everything is possible; Marco Reus may be fit for the derby, but he also might miss the match.”
Obviously, that’s far from ideal. Reus has just found back to form and he would be a definite loss against Herne-West. It begs the, admittedly hypothetical, question why players like Adnan Januzaj and Jonas Hofmann didn’t get the chance to play instead. It’s always hard to foresee an injury, but in the end a win over Schalke will always be more important.
Borussia Dortmund cannot allow themselves the luxury of thinking that three points in the Europa Leauge will be gained without making a genuine effort, but hindsight tells us that they would have comfortably picked Qäbälä apart with a complete B team.
Though BVB supporters shouldn’t fret. FC Schalke drew 1-1 against Sparta Prague and looked far from impressive. Only a big anomaly can prevent a Derbywin on Sunday – with or without Marco Reus, the difference in quality between the two sides is just too big.
The good news is, that Reus probably won’t be out for long, if any. Borussia Dortmund are currently the momentum kings and there is little to assume that this will change within the week. Thanks to Krasnodar beating PAOK Thessaloniki 2-1, the Black and Yellows will certainly feature in the knockout stages of the Europa League.
BVB can put their focus fully on the Bundesliga now and maybe Thomas Tuchel is inclined to rotate even more in the upcoming Europa League matches. Qäbälä proved to be the right sparring partner ahead of the big derby on Sunday, which will most likely not be as cozy as the 4-0 win on Thursday night.