Disappointment. That’s my reaction to today’s blunderous match against Ruhr neighbors Bochum. This is one of those times that it’s really frustrating being Dortmund fan. I admittedly missed the opening minutes of this game and since these teams decided it was only stylish to score in the first ten minutes of a match, I spent my time nervously wondering if Dortmund could find a breakthrough. Unfortunately the answer to that is no. The title race may not be entirely in Dortmund’s control now and we all have to hope that Bayern flubs another match. I can’t see Bavarians losing to Hertha on Sunday in the Allianz Arena, even if they are having a bad day. Hertha is terrible.
I suppose I have a few more thoughts on this lackluster display.
Sascha Stegemann was horrendous today. Where to start? This was a physical game that Stegemann never controlled. His failure to produce more than a couple yellow cards was surprising to say the least. If not for the missed penalty calls, Id’ even suggest that Stegemann’s officiating was atrocious on both sides of the pitch. I think Karim Adeyemi’s recent history of diving may have contributed the foul against him not being called, but there was no contact with the ball and he was clearly brought down in the center of the box. Where is VAR? I won’t dwell on the handball too much; I’ve accepted this season that I simply do not understand the handball rule as it seems to be applied very differently in every game. Again, what about VAR? Why is VAR applied so differently in every game? As a good friend recently told me, “a bunch of braindead millionaires in the NFL front office had this figured out years ago but soccer just can't get it right.” I’m a supporter of VAR, but it needs consistency.
Manuel Riemann & VfL’s Survival
One player who deserves a lot of credit for Bochum’s defense is keeper Manuel Riemann. He covered his box brilliantly and had half a dozen saves. He may not be the captain, but he’s certainly a leader for Bochum. This draw sees them move four points ahead of the drop zone and today’s point against Dortmund may prove pivotal in their hopes of playing Bundesliga football next year. Bochum are a team that has everything to play for at the moment and they deserve credit for outplaying BVB in large portions of this game.
Edin Terzic & Tactical Miscalculations
Let me start by saying that I’m a fan of Edin Terzic and I think he’s the right man for this job. Today however, he showed his inexperience. I’ll be the first to admit that I thought Adeyemi and Malen on the wings were going to dust Bochum's defense on the counterattacks. I kept waiting for Adeyemi to go all-out Road Runner but Christian Gamboa kept pace with him time and time again. Donny was more threatening but he was always surrounded by Bochum players.
I don’t know what Terzic and company said at halftime today but BVB did not exhibit very positive body langue as they reentered the pitch for the second half. It almost felt as though our strategy wasn't working but the coaches kept believing that at some point, it would start working (what’s the definition of insanity again?) Really, the team needed a tactical shift to gain control of the match. Reus and Moukoko’s introduction lead to an immediate goal-scoring opportunity. These kind of substitutions need to be made earlier for a greater impact when the team is so obviously struggling to find a breakthrough. We can’t just rely on Gio Reyna to score at the end when he’s put on after the eightieth... only when we NEED a goal.
70%, 69%, 57% - These are the successful pass rates of a few of Dortmund’s players today. I know the pitch was wet, but this has to improve.
Trying to be Optimistic
Disregarding this weekend’s matches, Dortmund will have the support of the Yellow Wall for three of their four remaining games. Bayern will still have to travel to both Bremen and Köln.
If you think about the development of several of our young players, especially those who will surely stay this summer, then I think BVB will be lining up nicely next season.
What Bundesliga games will you be watching this weekend?
Will Hertha turn their season around with a win in Munich?
Will Dortmund bounce back next weekend?