After the worst Video Assistant Referee decision in the history of football, Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus came to life to inspire Borussia Dortmund to a 2-1 victory in the Riverderby.
It was a quick start for Borussia Dortmund, an early foul on Achraf Hakimi was turned into a brilliant set-piece by Marco Reus. Reus whipped the ball into the box and Thomas Delaney, Dortmund’s new brilliant box-to-box midfielder, headed it home into the back of the net to give his side the lead. Thomas Delaney is a unicorn in Borussia Dortmund’s lineup; a player that they haven’t had anyone like in years. He can go box to box, break up play, pass his way to Mars and apparently he’s even a threat from set-pieces. Dortmund dominated the rest of the first half, in particular through some excellent defending from Manuel Akanji and some brilliant attacking from Marco Reus.
Schalke 04 were poor all game long and showed no signs of life at all. There only hope was Amine Harit, a 21-year old Moroccan midfielder who has struggled to make an impact in any match this season. Harit, an undoubtedly talented carrier of the ball, was phenomenal for Schalke 04, particularly in his ability to deceive the referee.
His first act of brilliance came early in the first half when he conned the referee into giving Lukasz Pisczcek a yellow card for the most minimal of touches. He soon afterward earned his side a free kick in a promising position after giving his best impression of getting mauled by a bear following a tackle by Axel Witsel. But his most exceptional piece of brilliance came in the 58th minute when he earned his side a penalty…a penalty that I don’t think anyone not dressed in blue will ever understand. At the top of the box, Dortmund’s talisman Marco Reus won the ball, shielded it from Harit and then ran away with it. Harit, fell over like he had been hit by a train, although when the “contact” by the train that is Marco Reus possibly could have occurred is completely unclear. The referee knew it wasn’t a penalty and was never going to call it. But minutes later he was somehow influenced by VAR to take a second look at the incident. After several replays showing Marco Reus shielding the ball and running away while Harit falls over like a sack of potatoes, the referee decided to award his favourite team Schalke 04 a penalty kick. Daniel Caligiuri was never going to miss and after never being in it, Schalke suddenly had a foot in the match and had the game tied at 1-1.
Dortmund always looked the likeliest to score after the referee scored for Schalke (yes you read that right) and thanks to the brilliance of Jadon Sancho, the horrible use of VAR was bailed out as the 18-year old scored the goal of his lifetime. Cutting in off the left wing with his right foot, Sancho motioned as if he was going to cross before taking a quick second touch and then finishing bottom corner, sliding it underneath the arm of goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann. If anyone could teach Amine Harit how to deceive in a manner that is fair, it would be Jadon Sancho, who completely deceived every Schalke defender before slotting it in the bottom corner. Shortly thereafter Reus and Gotze took control of the game and nearly inspired the team to score another when Raphael Guerreiro hit the post from close range. In the end, Dortmund won the game by a score of 2-1 despite all of Harit’s best efforts to con the referee and now go top of the table by 9 points.
Borussia Dortmund continue to look like the likeliest side to win the Bundesliga title this season, especially given Bayern Munich’s struggles in recent weeks. However, anything can happen in the new year and Borussia Dortmund cannot take their foot off the gas. As for VAR, in the future it has to be used to assist the referee when he has made a clear and obvious error as it is intended to, not to police every minuscule incident that happens in a match.
For more like this check out our German Bundesliga articles. See you next time!