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Three Observations from Borussia Dortmund’s 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen

At least we lost to a decent team this time.

Bayer 04 Leverkusen v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

Coming off a frustrating draw against Mainz, Dortmund entered this game looking to redeem themselves against Bayer Leverkusen and former manager Peter Bosz. Instead, BVB turned in one of the more disappointing performances of the season, losing 2-1 and dropping 10 points below first-place Bayern Munich.

It was a match that had excitement throughout, but ultimately Dortmund was the less clinical team. Several key chances went begging, as players like Marco Reus and Jadon Sancho lacked clinicality today just as they have for most of the season. Leverkusen used BVB’s propensity for errant passes to their advantage, as Moussa Diaby used his incredible pace to start quick counter-attacking moves. Diaby’s influence on this match can’t be overlooked, as his goal and assist proved decisive in securing the victory for Die Werkself.

Another Frustrating First Half

The game started well enough for BVB, as they pressed effectively for the match’s opening minutes. Several half-chances were created from Dortmund winning the ball high up the pitch, but most of them ended without a shot on goal. However, the momentum completely shifted in the 14’ minute when Leon Bailey found Moussa Diaby with an exquisite ball from midfield, and the Frenchman nutmegged Burki to score the game’s opening goal.

After that, chances for Die Schwarzgelben were few and far between in the half, while Leverkusen’s hold on the game only grew stronger. In particular, Diaby looked incredibly dangerous on the right side, as he consistently outpaced Raphael Guerreiro, Thomas Delaney, and Mats Hummels. Dortmund was honestly quite lucky to escape the games’ opening frame with just a one-goal deficit, as Leverkusen could’ve easily increased their advantage had they been more clinical. If the Black and Yellows are ever going to gain consistent form under Edin Terzic, they will have to get off to much better starts than what we have seen thus far.

Julian Brandt Breaks His Duck

Julian Brandt’s performance against his former team was largely frustrating with several passing errors and a few half-chances missed, but he did finally break his goalless streak, as he found the back of the net for the first time in 30 matches. After a good bit of pressing from Delaney and a settling pass from Guerreiro, Brandt found himself with the ball right outside of the box with a lane to shoot. He turned onto his right foot and placed his shot into the bottom right corner of Hrádecký’s goal. The Finnish keeper got a hand to the shot and probably could’ve done a better job of stopping it, but Brandt’s strike was ultimately good enough to level the score at 1-1. Unfortunately, Brandt’s luck ended there as he had another opportunity to score just minutes later in the form of a close-range chance that was blocked off the line by Edmond Tapsoba. Though he could have done better today, seeing the ball go in the back of the net will hopefully give Brandt the confidence he needs to regain form.

Roman Burki’s Struggles

Roman Bürki has seemingly been on a steady decline for the past two years, and today was another example of his lack of form. Though neither of the goals Leverkusen scored today was exclusively Bürki’s fault, both were opportunities for him to keep his team in the game, and both times he was unable to make a save. Diaby’s shot, in particular, is one that most average Bundesliga keeper would have been able to save. It might be slightly unfair to be critical of Bürki today, considering both Leverkusen goals came from one on one opportunities, but it seems like it has been quite some time since he’s been able to make a game-changing save.

Your Thoughts

What did you think of today’s match?