Borussia Dortmund’s poor spell continued as they fell 2-1 at Augsburg, opening up an opportunity for Bayern to draw level depending on their upcoming match at Borussia Mönchengladbach on Saturday.
It was an absolutely poor showing from everyone wearing a yellow uniform. Even with the long-waited return of Marco Reus, Dortmund looked lost on the attack. Misplaced passes, poorly-timed runs, and incredibly sloppy play were the cause of Dortmund’s abysmal performance. Credit to Augsburg as they came to play and did everything necessary to earn out the win, but this was absolutely embarrassing from the league leaders.
The match started off with a pair of errors by both sides, with neither squad able to punish the other. The Augsburg centerback Danso whiffed on a clearance attempt and Götze pounced on the ball, but the attack stalled, while Zagadou tried to play out the back and gave it away before Dortmund were bailed out by an offside call.
It wasn’t long before Augsburg punished Dortmund as Ji Dong-won scored from close range at the 24th minute. It all started when Zagadou completely botched a clearance on a bouncing ball in their half down the left sideline, allowing for Hahn to gather the loose ball and send in a low cross into the box for Ji. His first shot was blocked by Akanji, but his follow-up was struck well towards the top right corner, and there was nothing Bürki could’ve done to stop it.
Dortmund had a chance to equalize late in the half when Bruun Larsen had a go that was saved by Kobel. Götze sent in a lovely cross towards the center of the box, and Bruun Larsen – who had the first-touch of a hammer all match – brought it down beautifully. Unfortunately, he went for power and shot it right at Kobel for the save. Dortmund went into the half trailing 1-0 in a sloppy match.
The night went from bad to worse when in the 67th minute Ji struck again to put Augsburg up 2-0. The goal resulted from another head-scratching error, this time from Hakimi. He attempted a pass into the center of the pitch, intended for who is an excellent question, and the South Korean pounced on the errant giveaway. He drove at Zagadou into the box, and unleashed a beautiful curler into the back of the net.
Dortmund gave themselves a sliver of hope in the 81st minute when Alcácer ended his goalless run with a well-placed shot. Immediately following a saved shot from Sancho, Augsburg gave the ball away as they tried to play out of the back. Sancho forced the giveaway and crossed it into the box for Götze, who laid it off for Alcácer and the Spaniard calmly slotted it into the back of the net.
Unfortunately, the equalizer never came as Dortmund couldn’t pick their way through the compact Augsburg defense and their goalkeeper Kobel. Kobel stood on his head today, especially in the second half when Dortmund were frantically looking for goals. His stop against Bruun Larsen in the first half and Alcácer and Götze in the second were particularly noteworthy.
If I had to pick a MOTM for Dortmnd, it would be Alcácer. He only played 20-ish minutes, but he was making dangerous runs for that entire time, and was in the right place at the right time for his goal. If it weren’t for the excellent play of Kobel, he might’ve had two and gotten Dortmund a draw. Götze also put in a MOTM performance for his overall play, and was probably the only starter who played well. If the team could’ve finished chances, Götze might’ve had three assists tonight.
Dortmund are back home against Tottenham on Tuesday in Champions League action, then again on Friday at home against Stuttgart. We’re all Gladbach fans tomorrow if we want to maintain our three-point lead over Bayern.