Welp, after beating Bayern Munich 1-0 last weekend and the 8-4 mid-week Champions League thriller, BVB’s luck ran out. The trip to Frankfurt on Saturday afternoon ended in a bitter 2-1 loss. There’s a lot to be said about this match, but we’ll start with some positives.
Dortmund dominated most of the first half, with almost 70% possession in the first thirty minutes. Schürrle’s early movement on the left flank with the ball was dangerous and looked to cause American international Timothy Chandler lots of problem. Auba also used his pace to cause a few problems early on for the Frankfurt defense, but was unfortunately unsuccessful. As the first half dwindled down, it seemed increasingly likely that Dortmund would get the first goal, but Frankfurt hung on until half-time. In hindsight, that shouldn’t have been surprising, given that Eintracht has one of the best defenses in the league, and also the fact that Dortmund have only won one game in the last six away games against Frankfurt.
The second-half began in an immediately bleak fashion. Timothy Chandler was allowed space on the right flank to put in a cut-back, which was finished from the top of the 18 yard box by Szabolcs Huszti. Eintracht’s movement was good, to be fair, but there was a lot left to be desired by Roman Weidenfeller’s goalkeeping, as the shot was well within his reach.
Following that first goal, Eintracht firmly controlled the majority of the second-half. Tuchel, noticing a problem, decided for a simultaneous triple substitution of Rode, Dembele, and Reus for Weigl, Schürrle, and Ramos, respectively. Quite a strange tactic when down 1-0 away from home, especially considering that Weigl and Schürrle had a decent game up until that point, while other players, such as the infamous Götze were almost non-existent.
Nonetheless, Tuchel’s tactics seemed to work as Dembele was able to put in a delicious cross from the right-side to connect with Auba to the tie the game. And yet, in what has almost become a mark of Dortmund’s inexperience, a lapse in the defense not even one minute later allowed Frankfurt to go up through a strike from Haris Seferovic.
The next ten minutes were quite frantic, with Dortmund pressing hard, but again, the Frankfurt defense showed an incredible amount of resilience. Dembele, who I really can’t praise enough given his age, had a wonderful opportunity to tie the game (again) in the 92nd minute. After skipping past a defender and cutting in onto his left foot, his shot unluckily struck the underside of the crossbar.
All in all, it was a disappointing loss and there are a lot of unanswered questions floating around the Dortmund camp. In my opinion, if nothing else, this match is part of the greater narrative seen time and time again this season: BVB has a young and exceptionally talented team, but the lack of experience and consistency is troubling.