As Borussia Dortmund drop down to eighth in the Bundesliga following their defeat to Union Berlin, there seem to still be more questions than answers right now for coach Edin Terzic. From the right formation to the correct choice of personnel, to instilling the right mentality, the BVB coach has a lot of work to do.
With Bayern Munich seemingly getting over their early season problems the focus is switching to the ongoing issues that are stopping BVB being a consistent contender at the top of the table. On what some deemed ‘Super Sunday’ the Schwarzgelben were clearly second best to Union Berlin.
Terzic looked to match Union’s formation and played with a back three (pr five) for the first time this season with Mats Hummels, Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Süle flanked by Raphael Guerreiro and Thomas Meunier in a 3-5-2. Frankfurt’s back three formation had worked to inflict Union’s only league defeat this season and matching them man-for-man was perhaps the thinking.
2-0 down at half-time and with the need to score the coach had to abandon the original game plan and revert to a 4-3-3 bringing on Marco Reus, Donyell Malen and Julian Brandt at half time.
There are arguments for and against the decision to go the 3-5-2 line-up, but it didn’t work. Having said that the other formations haven’t exactly brought huge success so far this season either.
Attack (or lack of)
The individual error by Gregor Kobel didn’t cause the loss and Janik Haberer’s second didn’t cause the loss, but Dortmund’s inability to score did. Union were always going to become more defensive and protect what they had but as for much of this season BVB’s attack was blunt and idealess.
BVB have only scored 13 goals thus far which for a title-chasing team just isn’t good enough. At the same time last season, Dortmund had scored 27 goals and prior to that, had scored at least 22 goals after the first ten matchdays going back to 2014.
In past seasons the finger of blame has been pointed at the defence, this season the situation has reversed, it’s the forward line. Replacing Erling Haaland was always going to be tough, but Karim Adeyemi is yet to score a league goal, while Anthony Modeste is still struggling to become the striker Dortmund need.
Youssoufa Moukoko has three goals, but the 17-year-old cannot be expected to carry the BVB attacking burden by himself. Was there an over-reliance on Haaland over the past few seasons? Have Dortmund focussed to heavily on sorting out their defensive problems at the expense of the attack?
They are currently level on points with Köln, who have scored six more, while bottom side Bochum have only scored four fewer. Many of BVB’s wins this season have been via a1-0 scoreline- there is an issue.
Yes, the mentality byword comes up yet again in an article about Dortmund. The players have to be looked at and whether you prefer a different word that means the same thing, in comes down to the players.
“Everyone knows what they are doing, and nobody can prevent it,” Terzic said after the game highlighting the strength of Union Berlin. “You can see that everyone knows their job. They’re not above doing the things that are important on the football field, and they just don’t ask why.”
Shouldn’t people be saying this about his Dortmund side?
Mats Hummels keeps talking about the same issues, and yet game after game, the same errors are being made. “Sometimes the simple 20-meter back pass is the best solution, even if it doesn’t come up on social media afterwards,” Hummels said in a not so veiled dig at Karim Adeyemi. “It’s very important in football to know which areas are risky and which aren’t.”
Questions, questions and more questions. It is now up to the trainer and the team to find the answers.