Traveling to Frankfurt is always a nervy time for Borussia Dortmund. In non-COVID seasons, the Waldstadion is typically a cauldron of imposing noise, but even in a silent atmosphere on Saturday, Dortmund struggled to create against the scrappy Eagles. Frankfurt, while not the imposing offensive juggernauts of a few seasons ago, are certainly no pushovers. They were desperate for a win after drawing so many games in recent times. Dortmund are in the same boat, limping along after injuries to Rapha, Haaland, and Akanji. In many ways, the 1-1 result feels a bit fortunate given how the match progressed. Here are 3 observations from an annoying outing.
Injuries Are Killing The Team
Dortmund came into a road match missing 3 key starters. To try and salvage the situation, Favre moved Brandt to CF alongside Sancho and Reyna. It was clear that Brandt really wasn’t cut out to play that position, but that’s nothing new. He’s struggled in this role before, and today was no exception. To Brandt’s credit, he was dropping very deep to try and offer defensive support where he could. That’s just not what you want to see from your “lead” attacker.
The team clearly lacked a creative spark, and Sancho tried to do as much as he could to create scoring opportunities. Without Haaland to feed, many of Sancho’s runs and passes had no outlet. The team is struggling to cope without Erling, but they need to figure it out soon because there are still several matches left in 2020. Dortmund can’t afford to keep drawing games and surrendering points.
Lucien Didn’t Make Many Subs
This seems to be a sticking point across all Dortmund fan channels, but I think Favre only used 2 out of 5 subs today because he is nervous about adding injuries to the rapidly thinning offensive depth. Dortmund had 2 keepers on the bench today, leaving Passlack, Reus, Hazard, Bellingham, and Moukoko as the only real subs. With a 1-0 deficit at half-time, Favre turned to Moukoko. The change worked brilliantly, as Moukoko’s pace and central runs opened opportunities in and around the box. One of those chances eventually found the back of the net thanks to Reyna’s world-class finish.
I have a feeling we didn’t see Reus or Hazard because they’re not really fit. Both have had injury struggles recently and Lucien may have been concerned about exposing them further. Frankfurt were very reckless with tackles today, racking up yellows left and right. One of those tackles injuring either of Thorgan or the captain long-term would be a serious issue, so I understand the hesitance to bring them on. That said, a few minutes of Hazard might still have been safe enough.
Schulz And Morey Played Pretty Well
The central defensive depth isn’t great, but it appears Dortmund have plenty of fullbacks to turn to. Nico Schulz had a nightmare appearance against Lazio a couple days ago, but was very solid in a return to the starting rotation today. While he didn’t contribute as much as you’d expect in the attack, his defensive reads and tackles were on point. Schulz even saved what looked to be a clear goal-scoring attempt and helped keep the match within reach.
Morey had a solid outing as well, darting up and down the flanks to create space. He forced some good turnovers and made a number of quality passes. It’s clear how much better he is than Meunier as the RWB, and I hope Favre agrees. Having Morey and Meunier gives Lucien flexibility in the formation he chooses. Favre needs to make better use of that and run Morey out more frequently.
What did you think of today’s match? Leave your comments below.