In another addition to a seemingly endless procession of disappointing performances, Borussia Dortmund dropped two points against SC Freiburg with a 2-2 draw, the club’s third in a row in the Bundesliga. The scoreline flattered Dortmund. Outside of two moments of individual brilliance, BVB’s offense generated nothing, the midfield was ineffective, and the defense was porous. Despite taking two one-goal leads, BVB refused to push for a an insurance goal, and were twice punished. BVB have now fallen all the way down to 9th place in the Bundesliga. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly from yesterday’s match:
Achraf Hakimi (again): In a performance reminiscent of BVB’s midweek Champions League match against Slavia Prague, it seemed like Achraf Hakimi was the only player trying to make things happen on offense. He used his pace and dribbling skills to actually challenge Freiburg’s defenders and make runs down the flank, and was rewarded with a goal. It’s a sad state of affairs when BVB’s most prolific winger is actually a full back.
Axel Witsel’s Goal: While Witsel’s overall performance was average at best, there’s no denying that his goal was a thing of beauty. Thorgan Hazard looped a corner delivery over everybody inside the box and found Witsel about 18 yards from goal. He didn’t even need to let the ball bounce: he just put his laces through the ball and volleyed it into the net. It was so pretty that it’s worth watching again:
Well, that’s about it.
Manuel Akanji: I think that Akanji has received some unfair criticisms over the past few weeks, and still think that he’s a very good player, but he was poor yesterday. His own goal was an obvious blemish, but his positioning on the first goal could have been better too. He’s been run into the ground over the past few weeks, so maybe he could use a rest.
Every Attacker Except for Hakimi: Despite having the talent to run circles around SC Freiburg, BVB’s entire front-four was completely incapable of creating anything. It could be down to tactics, fatigue, or several other factors, but even when put in decent positions, Hazard, Brandt, Reus, and Götze have looked completely out of sorts. Brandt missed a free header from eight yards, but at least he generated a shot. Neither Mario Götze or Raphael Guerreiro registered a single shot, so you can’t even explain away the lack of offense with allegations of “poor finishing”.
Favre’s Game Management: Apparently, Lucien Favre has decided that two-goal leads aren’t something worth pursuing, because both times BVB managed to take the lead, they closed up shop and began to play defensively, letting Freiburg carry the bulk of the possession, and therefore let them get back into the game. BVB didn’t even try to counter. This wouldn’t be a problem if BVB were actually good at shutting down games. Unfortunately, as the past few weeks have shown, BVB’s defense is too porous to try to sustain one-goal leads for long periods of time.
Favre’s time at the club is probably coming to an end, and rightfully so. It’s becoming more apparent each week that he doesn’t have the tactics or leadership to rally the squad and push them in a title race. That being said, BVB shouldn’t find just anybody to replace him, because...
A Theoretical BVB Under José Mourinho: No. Just no. If you think that Mourinho is a remotely acceptable option at BVB, then you haven’t been paying attention over the last five or so years. First, his style of play is boring to watch. Second, he only has mixed success over the past few years: his tenure at Manchester United was a disaster, as was his final year at Chelsea. If you thought that Tuchel was a difficult personality, imagine what Mourinho would be like. Imagine how much he’ll feud with Watzke and Zorc. BVB need a manager with a bold, attack-minded vision who can accommodate the vast level of offensive talent that BVB have. Managers like Daniel Farke, Hannes Wolf, or even Mauricio Pochettino may be available soon enough. I’d be much more comfortable taking a risk on one of these options than opening up the foreboding Pandora’s Box of a Mourinho tenure at Borussia Dortmund.
What about BVB’s performance did you like? What didn’t you like? What did you think was ugly? Leave your thoughts below.