Borussia Dortmund have been without a win for three games, but that is not the biggest reason for black and yellow worries. Because in the defeat in Mönchengladbach, the other Borussia exposed a weak point in BVB. Which must be closed urgently in order not to endanger the season’s goals.
Basically there are two approaches to defending set pieces in football: man coverage and area coverage. So either the defensive orients itself to its opponents and to win the one-on-one. Or the space in front of one’s own goal is divided up in such a way that each defender is responsible for ensuring that no one comes to a conclusion in his part of this space. Although there are also mixed forms of both variants, Borussia Dortmund currently seems to be testing something of its own: the non-defense of opposing standards.
In the 2: 4 (2: 2) defeat against Borussia Mönchengladbach, this was punished again this season, which is why captain Marco Reus then announced in a bad mood on ZDF: “We always make the same mistakes”, combined with the just as clear as Obvious realization: “If we don’t turn this off, it will be difficult to win a game.” BVB remained without a win against Gladbach for the third time in a row and slipped out of the Champions League places at the beginning of the 18th matchday. A consequence of the (again) worrying defensive performance.
At 0: 1, Nico Elvedi was allowed to head a free kick from Jonas Hofmann in the six-yard area, a black and yellow jersey was nowhere to be seen. Erling Haaland countered with a double, but only four minutes after the lead Elvedi was allowed to choose how he would like to equalize. Goalkeeper Roman Bürki let a free kick from Lars Stindl clap forward, the first major mistake in this situation. The second major mistake: No Dortmund defender prevented Elvedi from calmly inserting this rebound. While Gladbach was cheering, faces from questioning to despair dominated at BVB.
The 2: 3 by Ramy Bensebaini was, for once, not a standard goal, as there had been four in the defeats against 1. FC Köln and 1. FC Union Berlin alone. “Standard situations are often decisive in games at eye level,” said Favre’s successor and hopeful Edin Terzic after the final whistle, but his commitment seems to have no visible or tangible effect. At least not a positive one: Marcus Thuram’s goal to 2: 4 served to illustrate the huge Dortmund problem.
Because while the attacker completes the six-yard area with his head, three Dortmunders, Manuel Akanji, Julian Brandt and Jude Bellingham, are standing behind him, who should have prevented him from running free at this corner. The fourth is Emre Can, who jumps up with Thuram, but can no longer prevent his hit. All other – potential – opponents are at least two meters away from Thuram. What may still be considered “under pressure” in amateur football is much closer to “unhindered” in the Bundesliga.
It doesn’t help if the offensive shines in phases and one chance after another emerges, as sporting director Michael Zorc relentlessly stated: “If you catch three goals from set-pieces where you are simply not there, then you need yourself Don’t worry about the result in the end. ” That is what is worrying: BVB does not allow itself to be taken by surprise by the class of its opponents, but is simply absent in these situations that Terzic describes as “game-changing”.
Champions League in danger
Borussia Dortmund has been without a win for two weeks. This is usually not a big problem in January, but this time the start of the second half of the season was not the first game of the year, but the fifth. Victories against Wolfsburg (2: 0) and the convincing 3: 1 in Leipzig were followed by a happy 1: 1 against Mainz, who had already been relegated, and then two bankruptcies – 1: 2 in Leverkusen and 2: 4 in Gladbach – against competitors in the Battle for the Champions League places.
“We have to get that under control as quickly as possible,” said Terzic, referring to the standard situations, but his statement can easily be transferred to the Dortmund season. Because with defensive performances like in the past weeks – remember also the 1: 5 against Stuttgart – the BVB is not only definitely not a championship candidate, but also has to fight for the qualification for the Champions League.
“That can change again within two, three, four weeks”, said Julian Brandt, formulating his hope for improvement. However, it is inevitable that the offensive player and his team remedy these blatant mistakes as quickly as possible. These have long since gone beyond isolated dropouts, the problem seems to be much more systemic, at least as far as it can be assessed from the outside.
Until that happens, that is, until Borussia Dortmund starts defending standard situations at Bundesliga level again, what the captain Reus, who was replaced as the first of his team, said about the current situation: “It stinks a lot.” To stay in the picture: if BVB does not find out where this stench comes from and how it can be eliminated, there is a sobering second half of the season without qualification for the Champions League.