Borussia Dortmund suffered its first loss under Edin Terzic as they were defeated 2-1 by Union Berlin at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei. We saw Youssoufa Moukoko score his first Bundesliga goal (yay!) but saw the return of #sadpieces as both Union goals were scored on poor set-piece defending.
It’s tough coming up with questions, but here we go...
Should our competition expectations change following Favre’s sacking?
During the preseason and in the lead-up to the start of this season, it was assumed that Dortmund should win at least one trophy this season from the competitions they were involved in. So far, outside of the Bundesliga, the club’s standings in the Champions League and DFB-Pokal looks pretty good. They advanced to the knockout stages of Champions League and face Sevilla, a difficult but winnable opponent, and they look to at least make it to the quarterfinals of the Pokal should they beat Eintract Braunschweig (and they really, really should).
However, Lucien Favre’s sacking due to poor form in the Bundesliga and the appointment of first-time manager Edin Terzic shifts the discussion of what we should be expecting from the season. Unless the players massively turn things around and Terzic turns into Jurgen Klopp reincarnated, plus every other club ahead in the table stumbles all at once, I don’t know if the Bundesliga is possible this year. However, Dortmund need to finish in the UCL or UEL positions, for financial reasons and the fact that it’s an added bonus to compete against the best players in the world on a regular basis.
I’m the kind of fan that wants the team to be competitive in every competition possible, so I would like. However, given the opportunity to go on a deep run in cup/UCL competition and finish outside European positions and finishing top four while not having great UCL and Pokal performances, I’d take option 2. If it meant guaranteed UCL/UEL competition next year at the expense of a long run in either cup competition, then so be it.
What the hell has happened to our stars?
Outside of Haaland, Guerreiro, and maybe Hazard, it seems like every one of our key attacking players from last season have regressed, some worse than others. Witsel looks a half-step too slow at times, while Sancho has looked like a completely different player (not a compliment) and looks to do too much at times to perhaps justify his hefty valuation. Reus looks like injuries have caught up with him, and we’ve already spoken about Brandt’s struggles numerous times on this site.
There was an unusually short time of rest between the end of the 2019-20 season and the start of the pre-season, which had to have some effect on a number of Dortmund’s players. The style that Dortmund played with (high possession, an over reliance on counter-attacking goals and individual performances of Erling Haaland) has been found out and opposing managers have found a way to not give up gobs of goals as they had in past meetings and hurt Dortmund’s weaknesses. Perhaps with a new manager and different tactics and some rest, things could be righted and Dortmund would return to their dominant ways.
However, two matches into the post-Favre Dortmund and it appears that things haven’t returned to normal. The struggling players have continued to struggle, and neither the players nor coaches have been able to put together a full performance over 90 minutes. Yes, it’s only been two games under Terzic, but these problems existed until Favre. We’re in the middle of what is definitely the most difficult portion of the schedule, there’s only a break of about two weeks between the Braunschweig Pokal match on Tuesday and the Wolfsburg match on January 3, and it’s only going to get tougher.
Unfortunately, the ones that are struggling are also our best players, so benching all of them is kind of out of the question. I don’t know what the solution is to getting better, more consistent performances from our stars, and I can hope other, smarter people within the club can solve this.
Let me know in the comments what questions you’ve got, or even your answers, following the loss against Union Berlin.