In the penultimate match of the Bundesliga season, Borussia Dortmund managed to scrape together a 3-1 win against last-place Greuther Fürth, enough to clinch second place in the Bundesliga with a game to spare.
Greuther Fürth have been dreadful all season. They’ve conceded a full eleven goals more than the next worst defensive club, and before today were tied with Arminia Bielefeld with the worst offensive record in the league. All this is to say that a 3-1 win against them is frankly nothing to write home about.
Here are the highlights:
And here are my thoughts:
Fürth Targeted BVB’s Left Side
Fürth really didn’t muster much going forward, but as this heat map from Whoscored demonstrates, the bulk of their attacks came down their right side, against Dortmund’s left side. They clearly had a plan to try to pick out Raphael Guerreiro and/or Dan-Axel Zagadou.
A perfect example is this play, which resulted in a goal that was fortunately called off for being slightly offside:
Finishing - Not Great!
According to AWS, the expected goal total for this match was 1.9-1.2 for BVB. Given the fact that Dortmund scored three goals, it would seem strange to argue that they weren’t clinical enough. What expected goals don’t always factor in are the shots a team doesn’t take... and Dortmund had plenty of those today.
Marco Reus and Youssoufa Moukoko both had 1-on-1 opportunities in thesecond half , and neither player managed to even register a shot attempt on either one. In other situations, BVB’s midfielders like Marco Reus and Jude Bellingham would have the ball in advanced areas with Erling Haaland making dangerous runs, but they never seemed able to make the final through ball that would have played him in.
I’m not saying that BVB will be better when Haaland leaves. He’s an amazing player and of course the club is better with him on the pitch. That being said, it does feel like the club gets a bit too dependent on these through balls to Haaland, and when they aren’t able to execute them, it can really affect their output. While Passlack and Brandt did manage to create three goals today, and Jude Bellingham had another that was called off for being offsides, I still would have liked to see better passing and decision making in the final third, because Fürth are the type of team that you should be beating by much wider margins than a 3-1 scoreline.
A suggestion: skip BVB next Saturday
It may seem strange that, as a Dortmund blog, we would recommend you not watch BVB next weekend, but I think I pretty much have to. Today’s match was as abject as they get. Dortmund defended poorly, were unclinical and uncreative in front of goal, and only through Fürth’s ineptitude and a couple lucky bounces did they manage to lock in second place. I really get the feeling that the players were going through the motions; after all, half of them know they won’t be with the squad next year.
Borussia Dortmund now officially have nothing left to play for next week. Unofficially, there won’t be much to watch for either: all the young players like Jamie Bynoe-Gittens that could have a future with the club are with the youth squads. Next week’s game against Hertha will just be a send off for a bunch of players like Erling Haaland and Manuel Akanji who already have a foot out the door, and have been playing as such for weeks.
Instead, you could watch the other Bundesliga games that have much more potential to be exciting. Depending on the result of tomorrow’s match between Augsburg and RB Leipzig, any of Leipzig, Freiburg, or Union Berlin could have a realistic chance of qualifying for the Champions League on the final day of the season. If Stuttgart can manage to beat Bayern Munich tomorrow, then they could have a fighting chance to escape out of the relegation zone.
So next week there could be exciting action at both ends of the table, none of which will involve BVB. If you’re fed up with the squad’s lackluster performances and want to watch something exciting for a change, I’d suggest picking one of those matches for a change.