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Post-Match Reaction: Depleted Dortmund Lackluster in Scoreless Draw

That’s the second draw this season against Bundesliga newcomers, Heidenheim


Dortmund were aiming for a fourth consecutive win today but failed to do so. I won’t bog you down with a match recap, (Spoiler Warning: Nothing happened) but this is Dortmund’s first 0-0 draw in the Bundesliga in four years. Anyway, here’s my reaction.

Same Old, Same Old.

Which part of this game felt so familiar? Tactically, I suppose it made sense to continue with two strikers up front and keep the same defensive line, but the team completely failed to adapt to Heidenheim’s approach. Whenever Dortmund are faced with a high press from their opponents, they struggle, especially offensively. JBG is still developing, and Malen is not dynamic enough for most one-on-ones unless he can utilize speed alone. While the double pivot of Sabitzer and Özcan did well to maintain possession, much of that possession was less than impactful, in plays that stagnated rather than progressed. Throughout this match, Dortmund maintained long stretches with the ball but rarely mustered anything meaningful.

In recent years, Dortmund’s bane has been the newly promoted teams. We see it every season, and here it is again. Two matches, two draws against the league newcomers. To Heidenheim’s defense, they’re now sitting in ninth place, well above the relegation zone; impressive for a newly promoted side.

Emre Can Brought some fresh energy to the pitch in the second half
Photo by THOMAS KIENZLE/AFP via Getty Images

Four Matches Without Conceding (to an opponent)

While the four teams Dortmund have faced in 2024 aren't exactly goal-scoring machines, that hasn't stopped BVB from conceding goals to teams we say they should beat. Aside from Schlotterbeck’s own goal, BVB have successfully kept their opponents from finding the net. It could be argued that Dortmund were lucky today with the poor giveaways and missed chances from Heidenheim, but the home team technically didn't have a single shot on target today.

Both Süle and Schlotterbeck looked decent in this game, and the communication and direction from Meyer seemed more coherent. I think it’s doubtful that Kobel will be back by next Friday so Meyer may see more game time yet. Ian Maatsen has been among the most consistent players in the new year with his involvement in both defense and build-up. He managed thirteen recoveries today and a few decent runs, but his crossing needs improvement. A defense with Maatsen and Ryerson on the sides would be very promising.

1. FC Heidenheim - Borussia Dortmund
Niclas Füllkrug dribbles the ball.
Photo by Harry Langer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Diminished Squad

It feels far too early in the Rückrunde for the squad to look so depleted. Nearing the second half of this match, I was looking at Dortmund’s bench and wondering who could be a difference-maker? Hummels and Emre Can are good, but who could be a creative injection into the attacking game plan? Kobel, Reus, and Brandt have been out for a prolonged period with some sort of plague, Ryerson and Adeyemi aren't fit enough to play yet, Felix Nmecha’s injury looks no closer to being healed than it did two months ago, the returning Sancho has a groin issue, Haller is still at the Africa Cup of Nations, and then Dortmund just sent Gio Reyna on loan this week! So- who could come on as an attacking difference-maker? Marius Wolf and Ole Pohlmann? That’s just not good enough, but it was the best we had.

1. FC Heidenheim 1846 v Borussia Dortmund - Bundesliga
Better luck next week
Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Your Thoughts?

What was your reaction to this hapless draw?