Where do I begin? This was a weird match from the first whistle. It was high-intensity with multiple VAR calls, and I was certain one side was going to find a winner at the death. All things considered, Dortmund must accept the solitary point.
I’ve been a supporter of VAR since its introduction, but recently I have to admit I’m questioning it. What was supposed to make officiating easier and more objective seems to be having the reverse effect. Wolf’s arm was clearly in an outstretched position as he tried to clear the ball, but the ball was kicked upward into his arm. I’ve seen this given as a PK maybe 20 times. I’ve seen it waved off just as often. I’d even argue that Meyer’s tackle late in the first half was a clearer penalty than Wolf’s handball, but it wasn't called. The clear tug on Schlotterbeck in Frankfurt’s box in this match’s stoppage time wasn't even looked at. I’ve accepted that I simply no longer understand the handball rules in the box as these VAR calls seem to be most subjective... but what is more subjective than determining whether or not the referee made a “Clear and Obvious Error?” Whether the ref was right or wrong, determining how “obvious” it was for the referee to see discounts the fact of whether or not the foul was committed in the first place. So; which rules then, are malleable? The inconsistencies between different refs and even the same refs are astonishing.
This squad has certain players who are heavily underperforming, Karim Adeyemi being the most obvious in this category. Look, his assist to Brandt’s equalizing goal was amazing. Unfortunately, this was perhaps the only instance in this match where Karim did anything to aid attacking progression. We know Adeyemi is capable of better, and Terzic does too, but as a halftime substitute, Karim needed to make a better impact overall. Marius Wolf, whom I’ve defended quite a bit in the past, has looked abysmal in position. Wolf seems to be a regular starter under Terzic, but I question why his quality has dropped so drastically from last season. Far too many times Wolf dribbled forward and crossed to nobody, handing Frankfurt a counterattacking opportunity. Each time, this forced Hummels to cover the wide flank, leaving far too much space for Schlotterbeck to cover. We needed Ryerson for this match.
The “big” chances simply weren't coming, and they haven't been. It feels strange to suggest this after scoring three against a team that had only conceded six in their first eight Bundesliga matches. Without Brandt starting, Dortmund desperately needed a creative player. I thought with Reus and Reyna, we were going to see that. However, Reus had an unusually quiet game, and Gio can’t seem to find his form when he starts a match. The kid looks brilliant when he subs in, but today he was only marginally better than Adeyemi, who replaced him. Malen had some decent dribbles, but his passing can be atrocious and lead to far too many turnovers. Relying on Malen and Wolf for crosses from the right side was never going to work. I think Terzic got the tactics wrong here. Moukoko and Brandt both found the net as substitutes but Dortmund was always playing from behind in this match. It feels like we’ve salvaged a point from a match that we probably should have lost.
Tough Road Ahead
The Next four matches are as follows:
Home vs Hoffenheim in the German Cup
Home vs Bayern in the Bundesliga
Home vs Newcastle in the Champions League
Away vs Stuttgart in the Bundesliga
None of these matches will be easy. Hoffenheim have had an impressive start to the season, Bayern just broke the Bundesliga record for most goals scored after nine match days, Newcastle is Premier League and Stuttgart is tied with BVB on league points. And the matches don’t end there. Dortmund have a packed schedule so we all need to keep our heads up because the next match is just a few days away. Having three consecutive home games should lend a slight advantage to Dortmund in the upcoming fixtures. I’m never optimistic when it comes to the games against Bayern, but at least they’re without Joshua Kimmich who picked up a red card yesterday.
What are your thoughts on today’s draw?