Roman Burki saves sleepwalking Borussia Dortmund vs. Ingolstadt
DORTMUND, Germany -- Borussia Dortmund earned what can best be described as a dirty win, as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's goal in the 14th minute was the difference on Friday night in the Westfalenstadion against feisty Ingolstadt. The 1-0 win and three points will take the pressure off Dortmund during the international break.
Three points top this list, as the Black and Yellows needed a lot of luck on their side to keep the second-to-last-placed team in the Bundesliga at bay. It became evident along the way why Ingolstadt seem to be destined for relegation, as they could not punish the hosts for a bad day at the office. Winners of the Friday night game get to watch the rest of the league take points off each other over the weekend, which is always an extra treat for the victors in the "floodlight match."
Dortmund will have nine games in April. As their intensity levels dropped yet again against Die Schanzer, there were some poor performances to be reckoned with. Had Ingolstadt been less profligate in converting the hosts' mistakes, this result could have been different. The three points are welcome, but Thomas Tuchel's team will need to be much better to come out on the winning side of a busy upcoming month.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Probably worked the hardest of anyone during the 90 minutes, giving his team non-stop instructions from the dugout.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Roman Burki, 8 -- "What has to happen that we will get a penalty," Ingolstadt's Twitter account asked after 54 minutes. Burki went through Dario Lezcano to reach the ball, which was a stonewall penalty. The Swiss goalkeeper earned that luck as he saved BVB's bacon in the first half with a couple of tricky saves.
DF Matthias Ginter, 3 -- Shortly after the break, Ginter's attempted clearance hit Sokratis and landed in the path of Matthew Leckie, who blasted the promising chance over the bar. As slapstick as the moment was, it perfectly summed up who Ginter is: making things harder for his teammates.
DF Sokratis Papastathopoulos, 7 -- Kept his backline shut as well as he could, but didn't have too much support from his teammates.
DF Lukasz Piszczek, 5 -- There is little reason for Dortmund to have another overhaul, but purchasing an upgrade over Piszczek could be on their to-do list, as his build-up game is too weak to play right centre-back in a back three consistently.
MF Erik Durm, 5 -- Was fouled pretty hard numerous times, but also not a big help for his team as Ingolstadt gave him little breathing space.
MF Gonzalo Castro, 5 -- Lackadaisical like most of his teammates. Putting pen to a new deal dating to 2020 didn't give Castro the boost BVB was hoping for. He came off after the 82nd minute.
MF Raphael Guerreiro, 4 -- It was not the night for Guerrerio, who was sloppy in the few moments he actually was involved.
MF Marcel Schmelzer, 6 -- Picked up his second league assist with a fine cross to Aubameyang.
MF Shinji Kagawa, 7 -- The birthday boy was the gift that kept on giving on Friday night. Now 28 years old, he was the brightest spark in the team's attack for the third match in a row. He instigated Dortmund's first goal with a fine ball over the top to Schmelzer.
MF Christian Pulisic, 5 -- With Ousmane Dembele suspended, Pulisic was teamed up next to Kagawa in the "double-10" position. He couldn't quite keep his spectacular March spell up, as he was not the influence he has been in recent games.
FW Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, 6 -- Took Dortmund's first real chance of the game with a tidy finish to make it 1-0. Little was seen of him afterwards, but he bumped up his goal tally to 23, equaling the output of the entire Ingolstadt team.
MF Julian Weigl, 6 -- Dortmund gained more structure with his introduction after 55 minutes, as Weigl's ball retention is mirrored by no other Dortmund player at the moment.
MF Andre Schurrle, NR -- Replaced the quiet Pulisic, but was hardly a "super sub."
MF Mikel Merino, NR -- Brought a bit more physicality into BVB's midfield as he replaced Castro, acting as the enforcer as the hosts tried to keep the guests at bay.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.