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Three Observations from Dortmund’s 2-1 Loss to Freiburg

An all too familiar feeling

Sport-Club Freiburg v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Borussia Dortmund loses their first Bundesliga match of the season to FC Freiburg in a 2-1 defeat. Despite having new coach Marco Rose at the helm, the match was reminiscent of the underachieving Lucien Favre sides of the past. Timid pressing, calamitous set-piece defending, and a general lack of off-the-ball movement in the final third were just a few of the reasons Dortmund couldn’t muster up much of a challenge against a scrappy Freiburg side. The team from the Black Forest benefited from a brilliant Vincenzo Grifo free-kick that turned the match in their favor in just the 6th minute. From there, It was a frustrating, fearful, and disappointing performance from BVB, and it’s one that I think we’d all like to forget sooner rather than later, so let’s just get this over with.

Felix Passlack Continues to Lack Defensive Quality

After his shocking performance against Bayern, Felix Passlack needed to rebound today against Freiburg if he wanted to keep getting minutes in high-level matches. Unfortunately for him, he was unable to prove the doubters wrong. Passlack gave up the dangerous free-kick that opened the scoring for Freiburg and was seemingly unable to prevent runners from getting in behind him. He put some decent crosses into the box in the second half, including the one that led to the Yannick Keitel own-goal, but it was a rough day for the German, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s one of his last in a Bundesliga match.

Bundesliga Growing Pains for Donyell Malen

Beyond showing a lack of chemistry with his new striking partner Erling Haaland, Malen showed a level of indecisiveness that simply won’t cut it in the Bundesliga. He was closed down in the final third time and time again, and even more frustratingly, he wasted one of the brightest of the game for Dortmund when he tried to round the keeper after being put through on goal by Haaland. It’s still early days for Malen at BVB, but he’s shown little so far to suggest that he has what it takes to play at the top level.

Bad Finishing Across the Board

To say Dortmund were wasteful today would be a massive understatement. Malen wasted his chance to score, Bellingham was unable to strike the ball anywhere but directly at Freiburg goalkeeper Mark Flekken, and Erling Haaland was unable to make a decent connection with a header. Beyond that, every other shot was from 40 yards out and went a mile over the crossbar. It was a masterclass of bad finishing. Every possible way to miss a shot was on show. Thank god for own goals cause it felt like that was the only way BVB could score today.

Final Thought

There aren’t a lot of positives to take away from this match. Dortmund were awful at the back and looked totally out of ideas when trying to break down the Freiburg defense. We can hope that this is just a small blip as the squad adjusts to Rose’s style of play, but if that is the case, they will need to adjust quickly if they want to give Bayern or Leipzig any trouble this season.