Borussia Dortmund came out victorious against VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday, winning a cagey affair at the Volkswagen Arena 2-0. According to Manuel Akanji, defensive solidity was the key to victory.
“It was a tough bit of work today,” the 24-year-old told BVB’s press officer after the game, adding: “We had to defend really well for a long time. Me and everyone else were elated when we finally scored a second goal and, additionally, the red card helped to reduce the pressure in the final minutes.”
There were only a total of 13 shots between the two teams throughout the 90 minutes, with BVB finding the back of the net with each of their shot on target.
Left wing-back Raphael Guerreiro scored the opener half an hour into the game but the match remained stingy as the hosts were probing for an equaliser until the 77th minute when right wing-back Achraf Hakimi finished off a counterattack, as substitute Jadon Sancho racked up his 16th assist of the season — a club record for most assists in a single season with seven games to go.
Wolfsburg’s uphill battle became even steeper in the last eight minutes. Referee Daniel Siebert showed a straight red card to Wolfsburg substitute Felix Klaus after VAR called for a review for the attacking midfielder’s kick against Akanji’s calf, decimating the hosts to ten men.
“At the start of the second half, we were a bit too careless with the ball. Had too many giveaways in our build-up, and upfront we tried to force it a bit too much or had some poor ball controls. You always have such phases in a game, but it was important that we kept things tidy at the back. Overall, we defended very well for 90 minutes, only allowed one chance by Renato Steffen, if I remember correctly, which luckily didn’t result in a goal. So, scored two, none conceded. All very positive,” Akanji said.
Dortmund picked up their 12th clean sheet on Saturday, conceding only one goal in the past six matches.
“Right now, the whole team is defending very well. It’s not just the backline or the goalkeeper. It’s a lot of fun watching our attackers do their thing. It’s also good to see that Raphael Guerreiro is on the scoresheet again,” the Swiss international said.
BVB will look for their seventh consecutive Bundesliga win against league leaders Bayern Munich on Tuesday.