On Saturday, Borussia Dortmund suffered defeat at the hands of FC Koln, 2-1. It was a very disappointing game almost all around, as Dortmund controlled much of the match but were undone by two costly errors on set-piece defending, and as a result Koln won their first match in 18 tries.
I’ve got a few questions to ask…
Where else are the goals going to come from?
Of the 35 goals scored by Dortmund across all competitions this season, Haaland has been involved in over half of that figure with 20 (17 scored, 3 assisted). He has been an absolute monster since his arrival in January, and even before that with RB Salzburg. He has developed into an absolutely lethal striker that, at any moment, can change the game.
But he had a bad day in front of net against Koln, and it lead to Dortmund looking a tad lost in front of their opponent’s goal. Yes, Thorgan Hazard scored a very nice goal late in the second half, and others had opportunities to score, but for the most part they were unable to get much of anything past Timo Horn and the compact Koln defense. And when Haaland did have an opportunity to strike, he pushed his shots wide.
Outside of Haaland’s 17 goals, there’s a four-way tie for second on the team in scoring across all competitions between Reus, Hummels, Sancho and Hazard with three goals each. After that is Reyna with two, and Brandt, Passlack, Bellingham, Akanji, Guerreiro and Can with one. When a centerback is your second-highest goal scorer on the team, that should raise some alarms.
When Haaland has an off day, who is going to step up and put the goals in the net? Is it the system Favre plays that leads to so many goal-scoring opportunities for Haaland at the expense of the rest of the squad? Are guys just not stepping up like they did last year?
Someone on this roster needs to take it upon themselves to put themselves into good situations and make themselves another goal-scoring threat.
Where else can we improve the squad?
The January transfer window opens on the fourth of January, and a few months into the season there should be some areas of upgrade for Dortmund to look at. I know in a previous questions article I praised how we have some great depth, but Dortmund should always be looking to improve the squad, even in the short term. And the areas that look the most in need of improving should be along the defense.
At 31, Hummels is starting to get up there in age, while Can splits time as a ball-winning midfielder and centerback. Akanji, for as good as he has been since the COVID restart, has one bad moment a match, and who knows what kind of player Zagadou will be after returning from his lengthy injury.
Rapha is clearly the best of the outside backs. After that is a lot of ‘meh’, with Meunier being up and down in a Dortmund kit, Passlack topping out at serviceable IMO, and Morey constantly on the outside looking in (why is beyond me, but that’s for another time). And guys like Shultz, Pisz or Schmelzer aren’t making the XI unless there’s a mountain of injuries on the squad.
In net, neither Burki or Hitz are the kind of keepers who can consistently stand on their head and impact a match like Neuer or Sommer can.
While I think we have one of the more talented squads in Germany and potentially in Europe, they should still look to improve the defense. We are one or two injuries away from playing someone out of position (Delaney, Piszczek and Witsel at CB, for example) in a very crucial match.
Let me know in the comments what questions you’ve got, or even your answers, following the loss to Koln.