After a great showing against Newcastle in the midweek, Borussia Dortmund were in great spirits when traveling away to Stuttgart to tackle a side that has been a big surprise in the Bundesliga this year.
Edin Terzic decided to stick with the same lineup as against The Magpies, but the outcome could not have been further from what Dortmund produced against the Eddie Howe’s team on Tuesday. If you think the 4-0 defeat against Bayern Munich was disheartening, you might just wanna reconsider. To put it lightly, Dortmund were absolutely dismantled today. While Stuttgart were basically drowning in goal chances, Dortmund produced only one big chance the entire game after a fine movie slotted away by Niclas Füllkrug. Personally, I think it’s good that the international break comes now, because Terzic and his players were totally out of their depth today.
Here are my observations from today’s defeat.
A Sebastian Hoeneß Masterclass
I think everyone has noticed at this point, that Terzic has altered the traditional Dortmund recipe this season in terms of playstyle. Dortmund’s press out of possession isn’t as intense, and the use of gegenpressing is sparse to say the least. The goal is obviously to be more pragmatic in the approach. Have a strong defensive structure, be settled in possession, and create fewer but bigger chances from open play. Today, Terzic was given a harsh lesson by Sebastian Hoeneß, showing that one thing doesn’t have to exclude the other. Dortmund simply weren’t allowed in Stuttgart’s half for today’s game. With relentless pressing, in-behind runs and direct passing, Stuttgart managed to create chance upon chance while continuously retaining the ball by pressing up and outnumbering BVB for second balls. Today I don’t buy any excuses. It’s not lack of rotation, and it’s not Gregor Kobel conceding two penalties. When Dortmund went into the tunnel with a 1-1 result after 45 minutes, they should have come out blazing for the second half, knowing they were not just a little bit lucky in the first half. Stuttgart were simply just the best team on the pitch today. A very humiliating experience for everyone associated with BVB.
Karim Adeyemi’s Form is Worrying
Terzic gave Adeyemi a chance to continue where he left off against Newcastle, and I think there were multiple different reasons why it was the wrong choice. First of all, Adeyemi’s contributions against Newcastle weren’t of the offensive variant at all. He was basically a wingback for the entire 90 minutes against the Magpies, doubling up on their wingers and cutting passing lanes by simply just being in the way. There were absolutely no indications that Adeyemi could add to Dortmund’s offense today, based on his last outings. Obviously, some of it comes down to his form. Adeyemi has shown that he can score goals and provide assists on a regular basis, but I also think that much of it is because he’s simply used wrong. Adeyemi is not a winger, and I honestly don’t know how anyone isn’t noticing it. He can’t beat a man from stand-still, he isn’t a great crosser, and it’s not in his game to cut inside and shoot either. Karim Adeyemi has been playing as a centre forward for basically his whole life. A very in-depth long-read could be written about this, so I’m gonna leave it here, but as it currently stands, both Terzic and his player is losing because of it.
Is The Top Four in Jeopardy?
I think it has been quite clear for some time, that Dortmund aren’t going to be title challengers this year. Personally, I’m fine with that. Bayern have bought Harry Kane, and it’s not exactly like it has done anything to even the competition. But in Dortmund’s current form (if there even is a form), even a top four finish is in jeopardy. Bayern are steamrolling like always, and Leverkusen are churning out win upon win under Xabi Alonso. This leaves two spots in the top four, and I currently see both Dortmund, Leipzig and Stuttgart competing for those two spots. It remains to be seen whether Stuttgart can keep up the pace, but they certainly didn’t leave anything to be desired in today’s match. It’s clear that somethings needs to change, because Terzic can’t keep relying on only scoring one goal a match and defending home the three points. After almost one and a half year under Terzic, we still don’t know what to expect when going into games, and it’s a big problem. Sometimes we’ll outclass Newcastle, and sometimes we’ll get steamrolled by Stuttgart. If we go through an entire season like this, who knows where we’ll end up?
Where do you think the problem lies? Is it Terzic, is it our lack of quality players or is it a great cocktail of both? Let me know in the comments below!