Consecutive Bundesliga wins with clean sheets and a comfortable Champions League midweek victory had raised the levels of optimism at the Signal Iduna Park. A lacklustre display and a 3-0 defeat at RB Leipzig led by former coach Marco Rose has however dampened spirits. Do BVB need to go back to the drawing board?
The conclusions drawn at the end of Saturday’s loss at the Red Bull Arena were clear and not pulling any punches. Borussia Dortmund deserved to lose, were poor throughout the game, and showed that perhaps a number of issues have been glossed over this season with narrow wins such as against Hertha and Hoffenheim.
“It was very bitter for us” Terzic said after the match. “We played against a very strong opponent. It’s not enough to have five or six good minutes in Leipzig. It wasn’t a good performance and a deserved defeat.”
The fact that the loss came against former coach Marco Rose in his first game in charge in Saxony made the loss even harder to take and the performance doesn’t exactly bode well ahead of a midweek trip to face Manchester City in the Champions League.
“We started the game fairly decently in the first few moments but failed to pick up after the goal we conceded” Terzic added. “We had big problems with the pressing. We couldn’t free ourselves, became more insecure with every pass and were deservedly behind at the break. It wasn’t a good performance against a strong opponent. We didn’t manage to withstand the pressure. We could have used Tony Modeste more and thus overplayed the first phase of the pressing.”
Some will point to the club’s lengthy injury list with Thorgan Hazard, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Mahmoud Dahoud, Donyell Malen and Karim Adeyemi all unavailable, but the team that Terzic sent out to face Leipzig should have done better.
That said, Dortmund’s injury list does contain most of their quickest attacking players and the pedestrian nature of their attacking play on Saturday was one of the issues leading to their struggles. They were very slow in transition and when they lost possession due to inaccurate passing (too often), Leipzig were onto them quickly and made them pay. Julian Brandt was particularly at fault here losing the ball on numerous occasions when he either passed inaccurately or took too long to find a teammate.
It was somewhat apt that against a Red Bull-backed club, Dortmund lacked the required energy to compete, but Xaver Schlager and Konrad Laimer were the dominant pair in midfield, and they were both also involved in midweek Champions League action.
The Anthony Modeste conundrum is one that still needs to be solved. He was almost completely anonymous against Leipzig with a grand total of nine touches in the first hour or so and it wasn’t until the 63rd minute that he caused any danger in the Leipzig penalty area. It is still unclear whether BVB are going to try and play to his strengths, or whether the striker is going to be asked to adapt his style to BVB. It seems the club are determined to stick with Modeste, rather than give Youssoufa Moukoko a start.
Edin Terzic doesn’t have long to iron out these issues and get Dortmund on the right track with Manchester City up next in the Champions League and then the first Revierderby of the season next Saturday against rivals Schalke.