Same shit, different day.
Borussia Dortmund suffered their first disappointing-away-defeat-to-a-midtable-opponent-after-surrendering-an-early-lead™ of the season today, following a formula that is becoming as predictable as it is frustrating. Freiburg scored a wonder goal off a brilliant free kick from Vincenzo Grifo early on that immediately put them in the driver’s seat, and BVB were not once able to seize any level of momentum. Energized by their lead, Freiburg pressed harder, clogged the midfield, and took advantage of a turnover to snatch a second goal on a counter attack. A lackluster BVB never looked remotely likely to come back into the match, and despite an own goal that brought them within one, ultimately fell short in their first defeat of the season.
BVB were played off the pitch and Freiburg fully deserved the win. Almost the entire squad played poorly; here are our match ratings for each player:
Kobel has continued to surpass my expectations. There’s not a single goalkeeper in the world that could have stopped Vincenzo Grifo’s free kick, and Freiburg’s other shot was also very difficult to stop. His presence on the ball was once again solid, and he made a few key saves as well.
Had a couple of good saves and could do nothing about either of the goals.
Defensively, he was once again a complete liability, demonstrating that his future in the squad should be as limited as possible. HOWEVER, I should point out that it was Passlack’s cross that created the own goal that put BVB back in the game, even if it ultimately came to nothing.
Passlack has been poor for virtually every minute of the new season. He gets a bit of credit for the assist, but he had already done enough damage.
If the defense was bad today with Manuel Akanji, then it would have been downright dreadful without him. At times he felt like the only remotely competent defender on the back line. He would cover for Axel Witsel who would occasionally lose his position, he would cover for Felix Passlack whenever he got beat, and he would even cover for Nico Schulz and Raphael Guerreiro.
While Akanji was not perfect on the day, he saved the team many times to keep the game close. It looks as if he feels like he has to do everything resulting in him putting in some really aggressive challenges throughout the match. Akanji, more than anyone, will be glad to have Hummels back.
Witsel was exposed one too many times today. It’s plainly obvious that he’s a midfielder masquerading as a center back, and the sooner he gets back to his natural position, the better.
There are going to be games where we will need Witsel in the midfield, but I do not want to see him play at the back again.
Schulz was having a poor game before he was subbed off in the first half. I’m still not sure whether he was injured or he just played poorly and Rose wanted to send a message, but regardless his play was not deserving of a full 90 minutes.
Schulz had a couple of really good crosses, one that should have been steered on target. It looked as if he was talking to Rose during a throw in just before he came off, so the substitution was precautionary.
If Dahoud’s performance on Tuesday was a masterclass, today’s was summer school remedial geometry. Freiburg did a good job double marking him whenever he was on the ball, and as a result of him constantly falling under pressure, his decision-making was lacking.
What Sean said.
Jude had three golden opportunities to score. He shot one right into the keeper, another glanced off the post, and the third he missed entirely — ironically causing Freiburg’s defender Yannick Keitel to deflect the ball into his own net.
The end product needs a little work, but Bellingham was a consistent threat going forward, which is more than could be said for any other BVB player.
Gio had a few bright moments, but ultimately couldn’t get much accomplished in the final third.
I am almost tempted to give a 7, but nothing ended up coming off. However, Reyna could have had three assists if finishing by others didn’t let him down. His ball over the top to Haaland should have been scored by the Norwegian, and his set piece delivery from corners was superb. Bellingham hit the post with one, and the other was skied over by Akanji who mistimed his jump.
After a vintage performance on Tuesday, he was completely invisible today.
For such an important player, I have a hard time recalling anything that Reus actually contributed yesterday.
He still hasn’t acclimated to the Bundesliga. He and Haaland don’t seem to have much chemistry yet. To be honest, for today, I actually think Haaland deserves more of the blame. Occasionally he would make these bizarre layoffs and heel flicks that no rational forward would really expect, and Malen was repeatedly caught off guard by them.
It’s clear that Malen is still finding his feet at the club. It’ll take him time to get up to speed, and to form a solid partnership with Haaland. He’s not there yet though.
It just wasn’t Haaland’s day. There was one instance where he characteristically broke through Freiburg’s back line in on goal, but the ball was unfortunately bouncing and he skyrocketed a shot into the 10th row of the stadium. His movement looked bizarre and uncoordinated with the rest of the squad.
Got into a couple nice spots, but was wasteful with the opportunities that created.
It’s unfortunate, but these types of games are bound to happen. Freiburg are a good team who are very well coached, especially when defending a lead. The circumstances today perfectly suited them. BVB’s make shift back line was never supposed to be a permanent solution, and hopefully with the return of Hummels, Guerreiro, and Can, it will soon be a thing of the past. This time, BVB will have a full week to recover, so hopefully the squad can bounce back with a strong performance against Hoffenheim.
Perhaps there were some tired legs out there after Tuesday, but BVB were poor. Sure, the defense was an issue, but we expected that, given the makeshift nature of the backline at the moment. It was the completely lackluster effort in offense that made things so much worse.
So excited this season by the thought of using two strikers, however, the diamond system is starting to look problematic. With no energy in the legs to press, the defensive setup is suspect with huge holes in the midfield. Reus stays between Malen and Haaland but none of the three put any pressure on the ball. This leaves the midfield three of Reyna, Bellingham, and Dahoud to cover a lot of ground, and our fullbacks (which are backups) become exposed. In transition the fullbacks are far too high up the field leaving Akanji and Witsel to cover the backline. Marco Rose needs to sort this out fast, especially since BVB have a shortened week with a Friday match against Hoffenheim.