So yeah, that sucked didn’t it? Borussia Dortmund suffered a 3-1 defeat to Lazio in the Group F opener of the 2020 UEFA Champions League.
After a performance like that, I’ve got quite a few questions that need to be asked. Let’s go...
What does Meunier bring to this team?
47/67 passing accuracy. Two fouls. 27 times dispossessed, according to SofaScore.
That is absolutely unacceptable for anyone, let alone a multi-time league champion and Belgian starter. Thomas Meunier, what the hell, man?
I was lukewarm on his signing back in June, leaning towards hopeful. He was coming in as a winner from PSG and a full-on starter for Belgium, but so far Meunier has been… lackluster. His defending has been fine, but his play in the attack has been negligible. He has seemingly forgotten how to hit a good, consistent cross; his passing totals for the year is 88% is skewed because of his short easy passes. He also has no key passes, and has lost possession 12 times. Not as bad, but not eye opening either.
Yes, he came in during a shortened preseason and may still be learning the system, so I’ll give him a slight pass. But then why is he still starting if he doesn’t fully know how Favre like Dortmund to play? Is this performance on Meunier for still not knowing the system or Favre for playing a guy who’s performances have been subpar to straight bad?
If it were up to me, I’d bench Meunier for a little while going forward and instead start Felix Passlack. He might not have the pedigree of Meunier, but right now Felix is playing and fighting every minute he’s on the pitch and should be rewarded for that.
What should be our Champions League expectations?
Once again, Dortmund stumble out of the gates in Champions League competition in a group that, at the very least, they should progress from. BVB looked timid and unsure of themselves for most of the night, only showing signs of fight later on in the match. To lose the way they did against a beatable opponent is frustrating and puts us on the wrong foot moving forward.
So I think it’s not outrageous to ask what we should expect from Dortmund in European competition. We’re not a super club that can regularly expect to compete and win the trophy, but we’re not a smaller club just happy to be here and competing in some of the greatest stadiums in Europe. Instead, we’re in this weird midpoint; We’re like a wild-card team in an American playoff that can either make a deep playoff run or get knocked out in the first round.
The bare-minimum we should shoot for is winning the group, and while Group F isn’t anything like Groups H or D, topping the group shouldn’t be too difficult if we don’t play like we did against Lazio last night. I’d also like to think making it past the Round of 16 should be a nice goal to shoot for, as getting knocked out so early in the knockout stages is getting old.
Realistically, how long can we hold on to Erling Haaland and Giovanni Reyna?
I don’t know if you all know this, but Haaland and Reyna have a pretty good friendship. Hell, you might even say they have a “bromance” together. Since Gio and Erling both made their Dortmund debuts in January, Gio has assisted five of Haaland’s goals. It may not seem like much, but when you consider how young they are it’s pretty surprising to see such chemistry these two have with one another.
Lately, rumors have been swirling regarding clubs such as Real Madrid and Liverpool scouting the two very closely, enough that a club could potentially go for both of them!
In a perfect world, Dortmund would be able to hold on to these two for their entire careers, winning multiple Bundesliga and Champions League titles before they retire as legends for Dortmund and their respective national teams. But realistically, making transfers is how Dortmund does most of its business, and these two will make the club a ton of money whenever they leave. I would like to see Dortmund hang on to these two for as long as possible, ideally another two seasons, before they cash in on them and buy the next footballing wonderkid.
Leave your own questions below. Let me know what questions you’ve got, or even a few answers to the ones above, following the Lazio match!