December 14, 2017

A Fan’s Reflections on Dortmund’s Opening Day Performance

Bundesliga Champions Borussia Dortmund got the 50th Bundesliga season under away in style with a 2-1 victory over Werder Bremen in front of a sell out Signal Iduna Park, Marco Reus and Mario Gӧtze the scorers for the hosts, Theodor Gebre Selassie for Bremen. But Jürgen Klopp and Dortmund, although obviously playing well in many aspect, still have areas to improve on,

Attacking Pressure

Despite Werder controlling possession in the opening minutes BvB started well with their renowned quick passing game under Klopp, while suffocating the Bremen defence with superb attacking pressure, which continued throughout the encounter.

The pressure was too much for Werder’s midfield and defence forcing Bremen to turn over the ball, allowing Dortmund to get on top and open the scoring through Reus, after Aleksandar Ignjovski hesitated with his clearance.  Dortmund’s willingness to run creates turnovers by the opposition and keeps attacking plays alive even when the opposing team has an opportunity to clear the ball out of its own end.

The Marco Reus factor

Goalscorer Reus demonstrated to the rest of the world why Klopp and Dortmund forked out €17.5 million, gelling quickly with his teammates, especially with Kuba through the centre and right, interchanging with the Polish national team captain, while showing some great movement, finishing and his blistering pace.

Dortmund too quick for Bremen

The pace of the Dortmund attack with Reus, Kuba and substitute Gӧtze were key weapons, as the Bremen side weren’t quick enough, allowing the Borussians to beat them many times, thus winning free-kicks and maintaining the ball.

Bremen though won’t be the only side to struggle with the Dortmund pace, as the trio will cause many defences havoc, cutting in, interchanging and ultimately finding the net.

Midfield Battle

Bremen’s midfield, containing Clemens Fritz, Zlatko Junuzovic and Aaron Hunt, failed to control the passing game due to the efforts of the defensive midfielder duo of Sebastian Kehl and Ilkay Gündogan, who worked ever so hard.

Despite the efforts of Junuzovic, who covered over 13 kilometres, Dortmund Skipper Kehl was rock solid, while controlling the tempo with deep playmaker Gündogan.

The hard work didn’t just stop with in the middle of the park as Robert Lewandowski, Reus and as per usual Kevin Grosskreutz, all put in great efforts ensuring the Dortmund side worked as a team and got over the line.

At times Werder’s midfield were so nonexistent that Kuba and Reus were given the space to run riot straight through the centre of the park and provided no cover whatsoever for Bremen’s reconstructed back line.

Lukasz Piszczek missed

Polish fullback Lukasz Piszczek suffered a slight thigh strain during the week and was definitely missed as Oliver Kirch replaced him at right back.   Kirch was caught up field far too often, supplying Eljero Elia the space he required to dominate the Dortmund right flank.

The former Kaiserslautern utilityman, like many fullbacks, did well pushing up the wing in the front and middle thirds, but failed to get back in time as Werder pounced on the counter. Luckily for BvB goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller was at hand to save Kirch’s blushes.

Kirch, a former Mӧnchengladbach midfielder, joined Dortmund to add depth, and would most likely be used to cover Piszczek’s absence at right back, despite being a natural midfielder. Kirch’s lack of experience in defence was definitely exploited against a counter-attacking Werder side.  Fortunately for Dortmund, though,  Piszczek should be available next week against Nürnberg.

Lackadaisical defending punished

Dortmund were punished for some lackadaisical defending with fifteen minutes from time as Theodor Gebre Selassie equalised for the visitors. The BvB defence assumed a deep cross had crossed the line for a goal-kick and stood in their six yard box complaining to the officials, but that wasn’t the case as Marko Arnautovic followed up with a pinpoint cross to the Czech defender who headed home comfortably.

The German Messi to the rescue

The “German Messi”, Gӧtze, was Dortmund’s savior finding the winner nine minutes from time with a great finish after an even better touch and only after being substituted on three minutes prior. The 20-year-old was up to his usual tricks on the left hand side, cutting on his preferred right foot and made the instant impact, compared to the man he replaced, Grosskreutz who rarely got involved.

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Daniel is a football writer living in Melbourne, Australia, covering the domestic A-League and various European leagues. Daniel works hard and is determined to fulfil his dream of a professional sports journalist. Follow Daniel on twitter @Quinby07

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