Borussia Dortmund started off the new year with a solid 2-0 victory over Wolfsburg from inside the Westfalenstadion. While it may not have been the prettiest game in club history, BVB did just enough to earn the clean sheet and come away with all three points.
Wonderwall my questions…
What should be done about central midfield?
I was hoping that a week from competition would allow for the staff and the players to regroup and come up with ways to make adjustments and improve from a poor end of 2020. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. As has been the case for the last series of matches, the central midfield looked very poor in generating any sort of creativeness in attack while looking unable to keep up with Wolfsburg in defense. They were also exposed greatly by the Wolfsburg press, and against a team that can actually attack, that will bite this team in the ass.
I think Axel Witsel, who turns 32 next week, is showing signs of slowing down and not looking like the Witsel of the last two years. Yes, he set a very high bar for himself since arriving from the Chinese Super League in 2018, and yes, he is more than likely a very prominent voice in the locker room, but there have been many points this year where he made a poor decision on the field and I had to ask myself if those aliens from Space Jam stole his talent. And for as much as he has definitely improved this season, I don’t believe Thomas Delaney’s ceiling is greater than a pure defensive midfielder.
Right now, I don’t think there’s anyone outside of maybe Emre Can that can consistently impact a match from this area. 2020/21 Julian Brandt has looked nothing like his 2019/20 form, Jude Bellingham is still very early in his professional development and has been up-and-down in his first year at BVB, and I don’t think Mahmoud Dahoud has been given enough chances to prove that he is quality enough for the BVB first team. Outside of these eight players, who else is on this roster that can come into this position and positively impact a match?
I know money will be tight for the near future so there probably isn’t going to be many signings this summer, but Michael Zorc and the Borussia Dortmund management have to be thinking of retooling the central midfield position and to bring in more creative-minded players.
What role should Steffen Tigges have with the club?
In the 80th minute of Sunday’s match, Steffen Tigges made his Bundesliga debut in relief of Erling Haaland. And Tigges, who was recently brought up from the second team and played all 90 minutes against Eintract Braunschweig in the DFB-Pokal, looked like he belonged. It was only 10 minutes, but he looked very lively when Dortmund were in possession, almost scoring himself a goal with his first touch of the game, and even helped out in defense when Wolfsburg were throwing everything at Dortmund’s tired defense. I strongly think that, were he subbed in earlier in the second half, he might have even bagged himself a goal.
He’s played in only two matches for BVB this season, but I really like what he brings to the team. He’s a big guy, like Haaland, but lacks Haaland’s speed or timing for making his runs. He’s able to use his size to effectively hold up play and hold off defenders, and in can chip in effectively in defense. I really like what I’ve been seeing from him in such a short amount of time, and I hope Terzic and the rest of the BVB staff feel the same way.
Listen, this is not me advocating for Tigges to start over Haaland. Hell, this isn’t even a call for him to get more minutes over Youssoufa Moukoko. I would, however, like to see him get more minutes moving forward. It can never hurt to have more depth on a squad that seems to go through several injury crises per season.
Let me know in the comments what questions you’ve got, or even your answers, following the win against Wolfsburg.