BVB and its structural defensive problems

Updated on 01/24/2023 11:11

  • In the match against Augsburg, the scapegoats for the flood of conceded goals were quickly found.
  • Only Salih Özcan and Nico Schlotterbeck are responsible for this, but it is far from up to par.
  • Instead, BVB still have significant structural issues in their game even after the winter break.

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After a wild game with four goals and three conceded, the awareness is clear: In addition to many good times, there is also a lot to work on and improve before the last game of the first series at FSV Mainz 05.

“We want to take the positive things from the game against Augsburg with us to gain confidence, we will continue to deal with the negative things in order to stop them,” said Edin Terzic and announced a “differentiated” analysis of the Augsburg game.

This should then also include those who are strongly criticized Nico Schlotterbeck and to protect Salih Özcan a bit. Both players had their fair share of goals conceded, through hesitant dueling behavior, carelessness or simply an avoidable bad pass.

Dortmund’s remaining defense lost

Individual errors are one thing, but ranking them in the overall Dortmund context from a group and team tactical point of view is quite another matter. And this becomes especially relevant for the head coach.

Terzic tried his hand against the very aggressive, very masculine FCA with the proven 4-1-4-1 basic order in preparation, in the defensive spread with a residual 1-2 defensive block from Özcan on the six, as well as Schlotterbeck and Mats Hummels as a pair of centre-backs behind.

From above and to the left with Raphael Guerreiro also the slightly offset positioning of the laterals and the fundamentally very offensive alignment of the eight Jude Bellingham and Julian Brandt, Borussia were particularly vulnerable when the ball was lost.

Dortmund’s ball transfer problems were usually the starting point for every dangerous attacking move from Augsburg. Terzic was keen not to talk about it after the game. “If you look at the last seconds before goals are conceded, these are defensive issues. But before every goal we concede, we have the ball in advance – and we lose it. These are attacking issues: why did we lose the balloons?”

The known chain reaction leads to goals conceded

The only big problem is the lag in possession of his own ball. If too many players push forward, if the team is too spread out and then one individual makes the wrong decision or plays the wrong pass, BVB have a real problem: Bellingham and Mark are too far from the ball at the time of transition and have no chance of intervening.

Guerreiro is still neglecting defensive work in his seventh season at BVB and not reliably making the urgently needed yards at the back. Only his new right-wing counterpart, Julin Ryerson, tried to plug a few holes against FCA. In the middle, however, Özcan had so much space to defend that he was often lost to several Augsburg opponents.

Özcan himself still has to learn here, not to react too often to the opponent’s first pass and rather to hold the position. Crater-sized holes in Dortmund’s defensive center repeatedly invited the opposition, then forced the centre-backs to react again.

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This chain reaction could also be seen in the last games before the winter break – which also goes back to Terzic. The trainer is responsible not only for recognizing these structural problems, but also for eliminating them. This will also be urgently needed for the second half of the season if BVB are unwilling to rely on the sheer individual strength of their players in every game. Even that won’t lead to three, four or five goals in every game.

“We took a step forward and realized that the things we studied worked,” Terzic didn’t want to forget the good times against Augsburg. “Nevertheless, we know there is still a lot of work ahead of us.” And this in all phases of the game, not just in defense.

Sources used:

  • “We have taken a step forward”

A great return to normal: 176 days after the shock diagnosis of testicular cancer, striker Sébastien Haller finally played his first match with Borussia Dortmund. The 28-year-old came on after 74 minutes in a friendly against Fortuna Dusseldorf in a 5-1 win in Marbella, Spain. “Of course that support is good,” Haller said after the game.

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