Sometimes you just come up against a better team. Call it the wrong place at the wrong time. When you face a team that is just better in ever facet of the game, with quality in every single position, there is nothing you can do but hold on for dear life and hope you come out the other side with your dignity intact. When you come into top-of-the-table Augsburg FC’s backyard, you don’t have hopes or dreams. Thankfully, today, we got away with only a 2-0 loss. It’s good to get these games out of the way so we can concentrate on the rest of the season and leave Augsburg to their title contention.
The game started off pretty sloppy. There were many fouls and five yellow cards in the first half. Augsburg might have been a little lucky to keep all eleven players on the pitch, as Gouweleeuw could have received a red card for slapping Haaland in the face. But it should have come as no surprise that Augsburg would look to rattle Dortmund. It was clear that perennial winners Augsburg meant business. Sure enough, on the 39th minute, Augsburg went in front with a Uduokhai header from an excellent free kick. Akanji did a poor job following his man, and failed to contest the header at all, and Burki’s positioning was pretty poor, but Caligiuri’s cross was really good, which made things difficult for BVB.
Things didn’t get a whole lot better in the second half either. Once again Dortmund dominated possession, but failed to really threaten Augsburg at any point. BVB had a total of 18 shots throughout the game, for an xG of 1.53 (according to Understat), but they never really came up with an answer to Augsburg consistently packing their half with players and making it very difficult for BVB’s offense to get going. Caliguiri made the task even taller when he popped up with Augsburg’s second on the 53rd minute. Can seemed a little stranded by Niederlechner’s ball, and while Meunier tried to follow Caligiuri’s run, he was unable to stop him. Burki probably could have done a little better, but Caligiuri did pretty well with the opportunity too.
And that was really the story of this game. Dortmund dominated, but Augsburg were ruthless with their opportunities when they presented themselves. Dortmund had 80% of the possession and 75% of the shots. They also had a slightly higher xG but that was through sheer quantity rather than quality, and I suspect FB Ref’s xG will tell a different story. What good is all that possession if you can’t create anything of real note? Augsburg produced two good chances and they buried them. They knew what they had to do to win, and they did it. That’s what winners do.
After showing off their astronomical ceilings last week, the kids reminded us that they’re still kids. Bellingham was getting into plenty of threatening positions, and proceeded to waste them, Reyna was lively but left a sour taste with his diving, and Haaland didn’t really do a whole lot. At the same time, while it’s easy to be critical of the performances of Dortmund’s young players, it is unreasonable to ask so much of kids when the senior members of the team were either poor or absent. Meunier had a poor game, Hummels and Akanji both looked off the pace, and Witsel and Guerreiro had very little impact.
Dortmund’s best player was probably Sancho, and Brandt looked very bright when he came into the game in the second half, but with the final third so congested, both struggled to find the space to make something happen. Turning the tide became an impossible task once Dortmund were 2-0 down.
The season has started in very Dortmund fashion. A big win against a top four team, giving us plenty to feel optimistic about, followed by a football turd, artfully laid upon our breakfast taco. Did you have dreams of a good season with positive outcomes? Grow up you child. Congratulations to the 2020/21 Bundesliga Champions, Augsburg!