It took them a while, but Borussia Dortmund pulled out a 2-0 win over Arminia Bielefeld, with Mats Hummels scoring both goals for BVB. Dortmund were in control once again despite ending the first half with the score tied.
Let’s dive in…
Can we PLEASE score a few goals in the first half?
For the fourth straight match and third straight Bundesliga match, Dortmund failed to score in the first half before putting one (or more) in the back of the net in the second. For the fourth straight match, Dortmund has failed to register a first-half goal against a weaker opponent (yes, I’m putting a Kramaric-less Hoffenheim in this category) before putting them to bed towards the end of the match. Hell, even in the matches where Dortmund score in the first half (vs. Monchengladbach and Freiburg) they still didn’t put the game away until the second half.
What I want to know is:
Is it the tactics? Is it the players trying to do too much for the perfect goal? Is it the defense completely laying out or getting lucky in their defense of goal? Are the football gods just getting their rocks off making Dortmund work extra hard for their goals?
It’s a problem Favre and the players have to solve because they’ll get absolutely waxed against teams that can go toe-to-toe or better with Dortmund like Bayern Munich or RB Leipzig, or any of the frontrunners for Champions League. Defensively, they’ve been the best team in the Bundesliga with only two goals allowed, and the only reason they currently sit behind Bayern in the table is because Bayern are averaging nearly 4.5 goals a game.
In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter how Dortmund score as long as they win, but can’t they just score a couple of goals in the first half so that I (and other BVB fans) don’t have to worry about blowing the game late?
How screwed would Dortmund be without Mats Hummels?
In the dying moments of Saturday’s win, Hummels tweaked his hamstring on a shot attempt and eventually needed to be substituted by Lukas Piszczek. Cameras showed him limping towards the locker room and everyone thought the worst; He will not be available for the upcoming Champions League match against Club Brugge and Bayern Munich.
Thankfully, it looks like the injury won’t be serious as Hummels said this to the media following the win:
“The thigh has tightened. Fortunately, I didn’t feel a sting, which is a good sign. I hope to win the race against time by Wednesday.”
It looks like we’ve dodged a MASSIVE bullet with Mats and his injury. Dortmund is very thin at center-back depth, as we’ve noted before. Akanji just came back from COVID quarantine, and Can is still in quarantine due to a positive COVID test. Piszczek and Thomas Delaney have filled in admirably at CB when called upon, but this would be something different. Despite being a polarizing figure since his departure to Bayern in 2016 and return last season, Hummels has been the best defender for Dortmund. Yeah, he’ll play like a donkey every now and then during a match, but for the most part he’s been very solid since re-donning the BVB black and yellow. According to Sofascore, Hummels has been averaging a 7.95 in Bundesliga matches. Has it been inflated from Dortmund as a whole not allowing a goal in three Bundesliga matches? Perhaps, but Hummels has still been the best BVB defender by far in 2020.
I said this after the Hoffenheim match, but I think Dortmund’s lack of true center-backs will definitely hurt them if Can and Hummels are both unavailable. What’s the point of switching from a back-three to a back-four if they have only one true center-back?
Thankfully, it doesn’t appear that Hummels’ injury should be severe enough to keep him out of Saturday’s Klassiker, but the thin CB depth is something Dortmund’s scouting and transfer team will have to address sooner rather than later.
Leave your own questions below. Let me know what questions you’ve got, or even a few answers to the ones above, following the Arminia Bielefeld match!