Borussia Dortmund – Bayern Munich 1 – 3 Tactical Analysis.
Borussia Dortmund’s downfall seems never-ending. Saturday’s defeat meant that their rivals from Munich are now six points clear at the top of the league and they are third, also behind RB Leipzig.
Bayern have won all of their 4 matches under Jupp Heynckes, while Dortmund have only won one point during that span.
Dortmund’s manager, Peter Bosz started Marc Bartra as a right-back once again and Weigl as the defensive midfielder, complemented by Gonzalo Castro. Gotze was out for Kagawa, Pulisic and Yarmolenko to play behind the lone striker Aubameyang.
James Rodriguez, Javi Martinez and Thiago Alcantara shaped the midfield trio for Bayern, with Robben and Kingsley Coman at the wings, behind Lewandowski.
If someone sees the statistics of the match he will assume that it was a quite equal game, with both teams having good chances of winning it and pretty much it was just that: a balanced match, which was in a great extent decided by a tremendous 60% conversion rate by the defending champions.
Javi Martinez was the man in front of Bayern’s defense, but James and Alcantara would often pick the first pass up by moving deeper. James did a really good job throughout the match – until the 84th minute when he was substituted for Arturo Vidal -, moving deeper in a play-maker role at times and moving more close to Lewandowski as a second striker at others.
Peter Bosz tried to address a problem that we have mentioned in previous pieces, that of his central-midfield positions. Sahin with Castro was the duo that started together in Dortmund’s recent matches, obviously a pair lacking speed and physicality. In the latest Champions League match against APOEL, Bosz named Weigl as the only player in front of his defensive line and while the German can provide some decent defensive solidity, there seemed to be a lack of different options attack-wise.
Now the Dutch put Castro next to Weigl, hoping that his ball-holding skills will give his team calmness and control in this very crucial part of the pitch.
Other than that, for once more Aubameyang was forced to exit the box in a lot of occasions, in an attempt to free himself from the players who marked him, leaving the area inside of the goal empty.
On the opposite side, also Lewandowski used to come deeper towards the centre of the pitch, but Coman and Robben were ready to fill his void, taking full advantage of the cover provided to them from their respective left and right-back.
Dortmund’s manager choice was to leave Javi Martinez relatively free to receive the ball and press the other two centre-midfielders (James and Thiago).
Pulisic was arguably the home side’s best player (had a whopping 8 dribbles against some of the world’s top defenders) in this match, but a moment of inaction on his behalf led to Bayern’s opener. The American failed to clear a ball just outside his team’s box, Coman won it and Alcantara crossed to James, who assisted Robben for a nice one-touch goal by the Dutch.
Coman and Robben had the ability to move deeper and more centrally, leaving Alaba and Kimmich occupy their space.
This moves targeted in opening Dortmund’s defense and also creating a numerical advantage in the midfield area.
Bayern’s second goal ideally sums up some of Dortmund’s struggles. Castro Fails to keep up pace with Thiago, who has a wide area in front of him free of opponents to find an obvious pass to – also totally open – Robben.
Pulisic opts for a double marking to Robben instead staying close to his opposite right-back (Kimmich), who is now free to cross to Lewandowski for a brilliant back-heel in the back of Burki’s net.
Toljan replaced Sokratis after the Greek defender suffered an injury before the break, but nothing changed for the first half.
Dortmund failed to convert a bunch of good chances for one more time, with Yarmolenko and Aubameyang wasting the most of them.
When David Alaba attempted a cross in the 67th minute, which none of Dortmund’s defenders was able to clear and Burki letting it head home, the match was effectively over.
Marc Bartra’s goal minutes before the final whistle was just another indication that the Spaniard is getting really comfortable with his new position, but in fact that was all for the Yellows at Signal Iduna Park on Saturday evening.
With Champions League knockout-stages seemingly a lost train for the Bavarians, they are now left behind from the title race domestically as well.
The international breaks are always a good chance for regrouping, but the question is whether the players have lost confidence on their manager and technical staff after the latest results.
As for Peter Bosz he has to decide if he will go for a different plan in the next games or he will wait for his players to perform better under the system that has made them collapse recently.