Borussia Dortmund traveled to an imaginary city hoping to continue their winning run. The game played out in a familiar manner, with BVB dominating throughout, but failing to create too many clear cut chances in the first half. Dortmund kept plugging away, and were able to break Arminia Bielefeld down in the second half. The goals coming from an unlikely source: Mats Hummels! Hummels got on the end of corners from Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus, to lead BVB to a 2-0 victory. Here are my observations from the game:
The Work in the First Half Leads to Goals in the Second Half
So far this season, Dortmund have struggled for goals in the first half of games. Of their 11 goals in the Bundesliga, only 2 have come in the first half. This is because most of their opponents have chosen to sit deep to make it hard for Dortmund to break them down.
But this issue isn’t going away. Teams are afraid of Dortmund, and they know that opening the game up exposes them to risk. We have to be able to score goals, even when teams refuse to engage.
Dortmund’s success is a product of the work they put in in the first half. They wear down their opponents, and after an hour of pressure, mistakes start to crop up. As long as BVB continue to capitalize on those mistakes, they’re fine.
Another Solid Defensive Display
We have grown used to the idea that BVB are a defensive liability. In recent seasons Dortmund have scored plenty of goals, but they have also been vulnerable at the other end. It was difficult to relax when watching Dortmund. No matter the score, they could concede at any moment. But is that still true? BVB have conceded only 2 goals this season, which is the best defensive record in the Bundesliga.
We are only 6 games into the season, so we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves. But maybe Dortmund’s defense is now good? Akanji’s return to form has made him a perfect partner alongside Hummels, and this has stabilized the backline. The defense also appears to be stronger for Hakimi’s departure. The team is weaker without his offensive threat, but Hakimi’s lax defending often left BVB vulnerable down the right flank. I want to see the good run carry on for a little bit longer before I am convinced, but these are promising signs.
Sad Pieces? More Like GLAD Pieces! Hahahaha
Not only have Dortmund become a solid defensive outfit, they have become a threat from set pieces too! Four of the club’s last five goals in the Bundesliga have come from center backs converting from corners. Dortmund have 28 games left to score 1 more goal from a set piece to match last season’s tally.
Dortmund have been pretty bad at handling set pieces at both ends of the pitch. But if they could increase the threat they pose from offensive set pieces, that would be great news. Especially with teams sitting deep against us. Posing a threat from set pieces gives Dortmund another way of breaking teams down when they’re struggling to make it through in open play.
Of course, it is four goals in two games, so it might not mean anything, and the guy that scored three of them also left the game injured. So lets wait and see how it goes!
What did you think of today’s match? Leave your thoughts below.