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Dortmund 2-2 Bochum: The starters turn it around

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76 ugly minutes and 14 good ones

AC Milan v Borussia Dortmund - 2017 International Champions Cup China Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund took on 2.Bundesliga side VfL Bochum in a friendly today and it wasn’t BVB’s best game to say the least. However a late surge from the starters helped Dortmund to get a 2:2 draw after falling behind 0:2.

Coach Peter Bosz experimented with the lineup today as we saw his preferred 4-3-3 but he started with a let’s say “special” combination of players in midfield. The midfield consisted of Sebastian Rode in the middle and Mario Götze and André Schürrle(!) which did not really help with our build-up play in the beginning. Rode was ok in Weigl’s spot, especially on defense where he stopped a few of Bochum’s counter attacks but he did nothing on offense, you can say the same thing about Schürrle who was non-existent in that game. The bright spot was Götze who tried his best to organize BVB’s attacks and looked competent doing it but despite his best efforts Dortmund’s offense seemed mostly disjointed.

Despite controlling the ball for most of the first half Dortmund found themselves trailing 0:1 when Bochum finished a counter attack in the 39th minute. Bochum was able to get the ball behind BVB’s backline where Diamantakos was left completely alone by Toprak. Diamantakos passed the ball into the box where it got deflected by Zagadou but unfortunately the deflection landed in front of Celozzi who had no trouble converting to give Bochum the lead.

The second half did not start much better. Bochum started strong out the gate and they had two great chances to start of the second half, if it weren’t for Reimann’s heroics (he got subbed on for Bürki) this could have been very ugly. Nevertheless even Reimann could not stop a shot from Losilla in the 55th minute from just outside the box to give Bochum the 2:0 lead.

Dortmund looked lost for most of the game, until the 76th minute when Bosz finally decided it was time get the first team on the pitch. Mor, Isak, Rode, Passlack, Zagadou, and Toprak got subbed off for Sahin, Aubameyang, Subotic, Piszczek, Dembélé and Sokratis.

Within minutes Dortmund was able to turn this around. Dortmund picked up the pace with some quick combinations that resulted in two goals from Castro (85’) and Pulisic (87’) to equalize the score and give us the 2:2 end result.

Should this be a cause for concern? No, not really. Pre-season friendlies don’t really mean anything and you probably won’t see that starting eleven ever again. Realistically only one player that started the game (Bürki) will also be a surefire starter when the season starts. In addition the team looked much better once the starters were actually on the pitch.

A couple observations:

  • Zagadou might be the number 3 on the center back depth chart. Sokratis and Bartra will probably start at CB for now (as they should) but Zagadou is quickly making an impression. The 18-year-old has been great so far for Dortmund and has played way better than Subotic or Toprak. He is comfortable in the build-up and a force on defense, especially in aerial duels where BVB struggled last season.
  • Emre Mor still doesn’t know how to pass the ball. The youngster continues to be one of the most frustrating players in the BVB-squad. He’s clearly talented but he disrupts Dortmund’s flow, time and time again with his “me against the world” mentality. Once Mor gets the ball the attack is basically over for the rest of the team, either he creates a highlight play where he dribbles past the entire opposition or he loses the ball, with the latter being the outcome most of the time. He needs to work on his decision-making or he won’t have much of a future in Dortmund.