Much has been made this season of the struggles of Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga. They made it out of their Champions League group, but they still languished, in a much lower position than expected, for most of the Hinrunde.
To top off their struggles, they already know they will be losing Ömer Toprak to Dortmund when the season ends. Toprak is their vice-captain, and has been the anchor of the Leverkusen defense for years.
BVB have needed defensive help all season, so they were willing to commit €12 million to bring Toprak to the Westfalenstadion. The only question that remains is whether the Turkish defender will actually be the solution to Dortmund’s defensive woes.
Dortmund fans had a chance to see Toprak in action today, as Leverkusen and Atletico Madrid kicked off their Champions League Round-of-16 tie.
If you did get catch the match, you may have come off a little bit worried. It was really ugly in the Leverkusen defense, for basically the full 90 minutes.
Much of Leverkusen’s problems came about due to poor communication/organization at the back. They got their fundamentals wrong from the outset, and that’s why they were down 2-0 within 25 minutes.
The second goal was particularly bad.
90% of the blame for the goal has to go to Aleksandar Dragovic. He put Toprak in a horrible position with that botched-clearance. Ömer initially slowed down Kevin Gameiro, but then he failed to mark Antoine Griezmann as he made a late run into the box.
Leverkusen responded offensively, but could not put out their fires in the back. Dragovic made another poor decision when he gave away a penalty for the third Madrid goal. Then finally, there was a late back-breaker.
Toprak won’t want to watch their fourth again.
Toprak slips, and loses his marker on Fernando Torres. With Ömer on the ground, Torres is easily able to finish with the header.
It’s certainly a mistake from Toprak, but it’s just one of those things that happens. Sometimes you slip.
Overall, it was a really bad night for Toprak and Leverkusen. They played a good Atletico team, but they were certainly not expecting to concede 4 goals at home.
For Toprak I guess it could’ve been worse. He could’ve been Dragovic.