Borussia Dortmund comprehensively beat Eintracht Frankfurt 4-0 on Friday night to grab three important points in the title race.
The Black and Yellows needed a strong defensive showing after the DFB Pokal exit against Werder Bremen last week and the 3-4 loss away to Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga, which dampened the euphoria after three initial league wins in the new calendar year.
BVB responded by showing one of their season’s best defensive performances against hapless Eagles, not allowing a single shot on Roman Bürki’s goal in 90 minutes. Infogol rated Frankfurt’s only registered shot by Timothy Chandler from 26 yards in the 26. minute at 0.03xG.
A key contributor to Dortmund’s defensive cohesion was Emre Can. The 26-year-old, who joined the Westphalians on loan from Juventus in winter, made his second start under Lucien Favre and his home debut at the Westfalenstadion on Friday.
“I’m happy with [Can’s] performance,” the Swiss coach told his news conference after the game, adding: “He fights, he goes into the challenges and denies his opponents. Also, he communicates a lot with his teammates, which is very important.”
The German international has visibly assumed an instant leadership role in the Dortmund midfield and offers a sophisticated defensive awareness that the club has been lacking thus far.
“It’s nice to feel important again,” Can told Sport1 after the game. “I didn’t have that [feeling] in months. I have it again, even after this short time. I hope it can continue like that.”
In his 64-minute cameo the midfielder, who was paired with Axel Witsel in the centre of the pitch, led the team in tackles (6) and had the second-most interceptions (3) behind Raphael Guerreiro.
Can picked up a knock on his ankle after being fouled by Chandler in the 21. minute but Favre explained after the game that the substitution was due the of match fitness since the central midfielder has yet to go the full distance in a game this season and only appeared sporadically for the Italian outfit toward the end of 2019.
Dortmund will be hoping that their new January addition will be able to also tighten the defence on Tuesday night in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 home leg against Thomas Tuchel’s Paris Saint-Germain.
At least as of now, he seems poised to become a fan favourite.
I’m in love with Emre Çan. Can already see the rust getting knocked off. His positioning was sublime. His leadership manifest. What a signing for Dortmund.— Joshua Hall (@BVBGrandRapids) February 14, 2020