Nuri Sahin, Jeremy Toljan woeful as Dortmund lose at home to Leipzig
A frenetic Bundesliga Topspiel on Saturday night marked the first loss of the season for Borussia Dortmund against RB Leipzig in a highly entertaining 3-2 home defeat. For BVB, an impressive 41-match home unbeaten streak in the league came to an end as they failed the first domestic litmus test against a top-four team.
The 81,000 spectators created an electric atmosphere at the Westfalenstadion, while a five-goal thriller unfurled on the field that included two penalties and a sending off a piece, as both Dortmund's Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Leipzig's Stefan Ilsanker were sent to the showers in the second half.
Nobody picked up an injury -- for Dortmund, the positives already end there as they come out of Matchday 8 empty-handed.
It was very much a statement game for the Ruhr side against an opponent that is brimming with talent. It was the third loss in the third high-profile match of the season after 3-1 defeats against Tottenham and Real Madrid in the Champions League for Dortmund, with a worrying trend coming apparent that the Black and Yellows seem not competitive against top opposition, although for once, the high defensive line was not the issue. The loss is even more painful as Leipzig had two of their best players in Timo Werner and Emil Forsberg unavailable.
Bayern Munich, who bounced back with a resounding 5-0 win against Freiburg under newly installed coach Jupp Heynckes, will have gleefully watched as Peter Bosz's side were held at arm's length by Ralph Hasenhuttl's team that had the tactical edge over the hosts.
In the title race, it was a big momentum swing in favour of the Bavarian's as Dortmund's five-point advantage shrunk to two points at the top of the table.
Manager rating out of 10
4 -- Bosz's approach seems highly predictable with opponents getting a better feel for how to stifle BVB. With Julian Weigl, Mahmoud Dahoud and Marc Bartra a press-resistant axis was left on the bench and came to haunt Dortmund. The 53-year-old's halftime switch to three-at-the back was punished within minutes.
Player ratings: (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 6 -- Looked a bit awkward coming off his line as Marcel Sabitzer equalised but otherwise saved his team from even more embarrassment, making a handful of vital saves. Had to play a disturbing amount of long balls due to the lack of creativity of his teammates. His pass to Julian Weigl right after the break was easy prey for the guests, ultimately resulting in a third goal.
DF Jeremy Toljan, 2 -- The ligament injury Lukasz Piszczek picked up during the international break became all the more worrying as Toljan had a night to forget. After 10 minutes, he let Marcel Halstenberg head the ball in box uncontested with the equaliser being the ultimate consequence. Fifteen minutes later he was eaten alive by Bruma, who simply ran around the right-back to set up Leipzig's second. Hence his shift ended after 45 minutes.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 4 -- His tug on Jean-Kevin Augustin in the 47th minute rightfully resulted in a penalty for the guests and a red card for Sokratis.
DF Omer Toprak, 5 -- Arguably the best defender of a shaky backline.
DF Dan-Axel Zagadou, 5 -- Could not quite impose himself going forward as left-back but did not get overrun like his counterpart Toljan, either.
MF Mario Gotze, 8 -- Bosz said that Gotze used the international break to improve his fitness and that was for everyone to see. A sublime performance by the midfielder, who was the best Dortmund player on the pitch.
MF Nuri Sahin, 4 -- Signaled that he was taken off due to an elbow to the face at half-time while walking past journalists, but might as well have been subbed off as he was constantly overrun by Leipzig in midfield.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 5 -- BVB hardly had any structure in their possession. It had to do with Leipzig's setup but also with Castro too often hiding in the cover shadow.
FW Andrey Yarmolenko, 7 --.The Ukrainian lobbed an audacious pass into the path of Aubameyang and probably should have scored himself at the death of the game.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 7 -- Responsible for BVB's early lead, as he stole the ball off Ilsanker and had no trouble to slot it into the far corner in the fourth minute. His penalty in the 64th minute made it a brace, but the Gabon international also missed two sitters which proved costly in a close contest.
FW Maximilian Philipp, 5 -- Was not much of a factor and was subbed off in the 51st minute after Sokratis' red card.
MF Julian Weigl, 6 -- Apologised to his teammates after losing the ball early in the second half against three Leipzig players which led to the 3-1 although there were not too many things he could have done about it.
FW Christian Pulisic, 6 -- Created a lot of momentum in the second half but his actions never translated into a full chance for his team.
DF Marc Bartra, 7 -- After coming on in the 51st minute, BVB unsurprisingly had better ideas when playing out of the back. Arguably should have started over either Toprak or Sokratis.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.