Gonzalo Castro's performance was pivotal to Borussia Dortmund's victory against Stuttgart. There were plenty of others who contributed, but one of them was not the captain, who watched on from the bench.
Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Stuttgart
(Castro 2', Aubameyang 19', 90+1', Niedermeier o.g. 66' - Didavi 40')
It takes a bold man to change the captain, but that is what Thomas Tuchel did for Borussia Dortmund's Bundesliga clash against Stuttgart. Mats Hummels, who has been labeled responsible for most of Dortmund's defensive disasters of late, was benched, Sven Bender playing in his place.
Tuchel's bravery was rewarded as Dortmund won the game, but there was a passage of play in the first half that, had Hummels being playing, would have been another piece of evidence against the World Cup winner. Daniel Didavi's goal five minutes before the break came from some of the worst Dortmund defending this season. Lukas Piszczek cleared the ball of the line, but only in the direction of Lukas Rupp. The midfielder drove forward, played it wide and although Timo Werner missed the low cross, Didavi did not. Hummels' form might be poor, but he's not alone when it comes to making mistakes in Dortmund's defense.
What was more remarkable about Stuttgart's goal was just how quickly it changed the momentum of the game. Dortmund started at lightning speed, striking faster than the weather phenomena itself on a stormy day in Dortmund. Gonzalo Castro reacted quickly to a shot from Henrikh Mkhitaryan to head in a rebound and leave the home crowd rocking. Soon after, Tuchel's men doubled up when Castro's cheeky back-heel set up Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who finished with supreme confidence.
Although Alexander Zorniger was fired as head coach last week, Stuttgart still looked a similar side against Dortmund.
Dortmund Pushes Back
Castro was controlling proceedings, delivering the type of performance that is slowly becoming more of a regular occurrence in yellow and black. From the start, it looked as though Dortmund were going to blow their opponents away, but then that nasty defensive lapse cropped up.
In the second half, Marco Reus, wearing the armband, scored but was correctly ruled offside. Dortmund tried to settle things down with the arrival of Julian Weigl for a quiet Shinji Kawaga. Although not responsible for the decisive third, the substitution helped force it. Georg Niedermeier was caught having to make the clearance at the near post after Reus' low cross, but in his attempt to do so he guided the ball beyond the grasp of a sprawling Tyton.
With that, the result was secure. Stuttgart's fourth own goal of the season provided Dortmund with the momentum they needed to see out the win and stop the rot of two defeats in a row. With 10 minutes to go, Hummels took the armband off the departing Reus and even had the pleasure of watching Aubameyang add Bundesliga goal number 17 of the season. Dortmund's form is back. The question is, will Hummels be come next Saturday evening in Wolfsburg?