Looking at Dortmund’s ruckrunde fixturesover the winter break, most probably circled the home game again Leipzig as one of the biggest. Coming in there were huge implications for both sides. A Red Bulls victory would essentially secure a top two finish for the Bundesliga newcomers. A Dortmund victory though could jump start a supremely talented young team towards a guaranteed Champions League spot.
And in this huge game, a Borussia team often criticized as inconsistent ABSOLUTELY DELIVERED. The 1-0 scoreline is very deceiving as Leipzig barely had a sight of goal. As Tuchel said after the game:
No matter which statistics you look at it seems like one of Germany’s best young managers wasn’t far off the mark with his assessment. Total shots were 11-2, shots on target 4-1, and shots inside the box 10-1 all in favor of the Black and Yellows. Advanced stats like expected goals illustrate the gap today in even starker terms.
xG map for Dortmund - Leipzig.— Caley Graphics (@Caley_graphics) February 4, 2017
OH GOD pic.twitter.com/KlGoHKH8Cp
The game started out with Dortmund holding most of the possession and Red Bulls content to sit back for the most part and remain disciplined defensively. When given the chance though, the terrifying pace of Reus, Dembele, and Aubameyang were on full display on the counter. This is where most of our best scoring chances came from and how the goal started as well.
With the touch, skill, and pace displayed in that one run alone, it’s clear that Dembele is a one man countering machine.
In the second half, as Leipzig’s defense tired from chasing the Olympic sprint team we started in attack, a barrage of chances flowed for BVB especially towards the end of the game. We really should’ve put this game to bed. Reus in particularly had some egregious missed finishes. For example, in the 82nd minute he pulled his shot wide of a gaping far corner of the net. Then in the 87th minute Reus chose to go it alone when a quick pass to Passlack would have led to a tap in on an open net.
Dortmund’s sloppy finishing on the day almost came back to bite us when substitute Federico Palacios-Martinez was a whisker offside before slipping the ball past Burki.
Overall, this game is really representative of a frustrating season thus far. There’s talent shining across the pitch in black and yellow. Dembele looked like a FIFA cheat code. Auba and Reus looked like mechanically enhanced humans. Pulisic and Passlack looked like they would run through walls and on and on. But they just couldn’t put it all together. Today it was finishing, in the past it’s been defending, or perhaps sloppy passes in defensive half. When all the puzzle pieces come together, there’s the potential to beat any team in Europe. Here’s to hoping the Black and Yellows figure it out and as Tuchel said end the season in Berlin and Cardiff.