DORTMUND, Germany — Borussia Dortmund comfortably dealt with promoted side FC Nurnberg on Wednesday night, shellacking the Franconian outfit 7-0. The Black and Yellow reduce Bayern Munich’s lead at the top of the table to two points after the league leaders drew 1-1 against FC Augsburg on Tuesday. Dortmund’s faithful would also be quick to point out the 11-point advantage over Ruhr rivals Schalke, who have lost all of their five Bundesliga matches.
For the first 20 minutes, the Westphalenstadion stayed silent as fans across the Bundesliga had agreed to stay mute in an “atmosphere boycott” to protest inconvenient kick-off times and the general treatment of supporters after a breakdown in dialogue with the German football federation (DFB) and German football league (DFL).
The silence was, however, briefly broken in the ninth minute by a riveting combination between Christian Pulisic and Jacob Bruun Larsen. The United States international zig-zagged down the middle through Nurnberg’s half and had the presence of mind to pick out the Danish midfielder, who had made the diagonal run in behind the defence. Larsen lobbed the ball over the Fabian Bredlow first-time.
After 32 minutes, Dortmund punished the timid guests for their passive setup. A move of 20 touches, of which the last five were lightning quick, preceded Marco Reus’ slightly deflected goal from outside the penalty area.
And BVB continued where they left off four minutes after the break. Debutant right-back Achraf Hakimi finished off a counterattack with a precise strike from the right edge of the box to make it 3-0. Nine minutes later, Reus bagged a brace, scoring off a one-two with Larsen. Manuel Akanji added another 16 minutes before full time but that wasn’t the end, as Julian Weigl and Jadon Sancho made it seven quickly after.
Lucien Favre’s men had heard some criticism in past weeks for a meek output up front. That was entirely changed on Wednesday night as one goal was easier on the eyes than the next. Nurnberg showed that not pressing Dortmund is a grave mistake and were punished for it. It was no trouble at all for the hosts to reclaim second place with over 70 percent possession. On top of all that, Reus found his scoring boots again while the youngsters, including Hakimi, Larsen and Dan-Axel Zagadou, impressed.
Obviously, Favre will find something to complain about in the ensuing debrief of the match. But there won’t be much there.
Manager rating out of 10
8 — It was a dominant demonstration from Favre, who brought off Reus and Axel Witsel after an hour to save them for the weekend.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 5 — The goalkeeper had little trouble all game, as Nurnberg produced only one tame shot on target.
DF Achraf Hakimi, 8 — The Real Madrid loanee scored with his first shot in the Bundesliga and otherwise left a very positive impression as Lukasz Piszczek got a rest.
DF Manuel Akanji, 8 — Wore the captain’s band after Reus’ substitution and scored a goal after a set-piece scramble in a striker’s fashion.
DF Dan-Axel Zagadou, 7 — Zagadaou looked as cool as a cucumber but had one or two questionable passes.
DF Marcel Schmelzer, 7 — There must have been a conspiracy against Schmelzer in the first half as none of his teammates picked up his overlapping runs.
MF Axel Witsel, 8 — Thwarted a lot of Nurnberg’s attacks before they could even start.
MF Thomas Delaney, 9 — The Dane provided the assist for Sancho’s goal and was an absolute ball-winning beast in midfield.
MF Jacob Bruun Larsen, 9 — Set the stage for a historic night with an excellent first goal. Assisted Reus’ second goal with a highly technical one-two.
MF Christian Pulisic, 8 — After scoring in consecutive games, Pulisic produced “only” one breathtaking assist here.
MF Marco Reus, 10 — The captain grabbed a brace and an assist in 60 minutes, scoring his 100th goal for the club.
FW Maximilian Philipp, 7 — Like on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” everyone got an assist as Philipp set up Reus to make it 2-0.
MF Julian Weigl, 7 — The Dortmund midfielder scored BVB’s seventh goal of the night. A rare sight in many ways.
MF Kagawa, 7 — Tried his luck but couldn’t convert.
MF Jadon Sancho, NR — Tried his luck and did convert. He scored the sixth.