The Edin Terzic era of Borussia Dortmund football got off to a solid if unremarkable start today, with a close 2-1 win over Werder Bremen. BVB showed improvement in some areas, and in other areas, displayed habits that have plagued the club for months. Terzic won’t magically fix the squad over night, but today he did the best thing possible, which was to get a win. Here are a few observations from today’s match:
It’s only been a few days since Lucien Favre’s departure, but Borussia Dortmund’s pressing has already noticeably improved. The fullbacks continually pressed up the pitch, shielded by Bellingham dropping behind and covering the spaces in front of Hummels and Akanji. While inconsistent at times, especially in the minutes before the first half ended, actual existence of a BVB press contrasted Favre’s laissez-faire approach to the defensive side of the ball.
Werder was not given the time on the ball that is usually afforded to BVB’s opponents, and that evidently made the difference as BVB gave up only 0.2 expected goals, with Werder’s only goal coming from Möhwald’s fantastic strike. A better team would have perhaps been more dangerous with the inconsistent play and defensive effort that Dortmund presented on the day, however improvements were certainly made today compared to the past.
Moukoko Played Like His Age
I really like Moukoko. He showed his potential several times tonight, making some crisp turns on the ball, finding space consistently, and lurking into a couple runs. He was a clear improvement to not having a genuine CF playing in that position - * cough * Brandt isn't a CF, Favre * cough *. But Moukoko showed that he was 16 today, which is not a bad thing, it just shows that he has a lot to learn and room to grow. After a fantastic turn off of the defender’s shoulder, he found himself with nobody to pass to, three Werder defenders in-front of him, and tried to dribble out of the problem instead of attempting to create an angle and take the shot.
After a fantastic run to the back post, Moukoko was a step behind on the cross across the goal mouth and missed a fantastic opportunity to score. After receiving the ball in the box, Moukoko tried controlling the ball rather than quickly laying the ball off to someone else. There were definitely positive takeaways from the game for Moukoko. He just showed that he needs time to grow as a player and time to adjust to the speed of the game when he is not coming on when everyone is already tired.
BVB Showed Urgency on the Ball, But Mediocre Play Continues
Today, the attack felt sharper than in previous weeks. Sancho, Morey, Guerrero, Reyna, and Reus all felt more willing to make runs into the box, move without the play, embrace direct play and create more opportunities in the match. The game was more enjoyable than watching paint dry - queue footage of BVB over the last month. But Sancho’s rut continued, being more effective on the ball, but was unable to find the quality chances to score that he did last season. Reus, despite being arguably the best player on the pitch, struggled to finish chances. Reyna failed to create efficiently, and other than Guerrero’s several runs forward, the fullbacks failed to create consistent pressure on Werder’s backline.
Werder Bremen sit in 13th place, without a win in their last 5 matches following today’s loss. Their toothless attack with Josh Sargent and Yuya Osako have combined for one goal this season. Yet, BVB did not dare to, as one might say, risk it for the biscuit. The combination of Morey and Sancho looked non-ideal, barely an improvement compared to the completely void of any chemistry partnership of Thomas Meunier and Jadon Sancho. Hopefully this changes in the future, because the lack of inspired attacking play cannot continue.
What did you think of today’s match? Leave your thoughts below.