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Borussia Dortmund after the win at VfB Stuttgart: Not even in the comfort zone



Marco Reus (left) remained pale in Stuttgart, Julian Brandt (right) became the match winner

After Borussia Dortmund’s 2-0 win at VfB Stuttgart, coach Marco Rose put his finger in the wound when it came to Julian Brandt. BVB strained his luck. And: The appearance of Marco Reus raises a question.

The Mercedes-Benz Arena was almost empty when Marco Rose addressed the media representatives in the press gallery. Rose was connected from the heart of the stadium and answered the pre-formulated questions that an employee of the Dortmund press department read to him.

No, he cannot yet provide any specific information about the injuries to Gio Reyna, Mo Dahoud and Mats Hummels, “we will diagnose it on Saturday”. Then Dortmund’s coach gave a brief presentation of his team’s basic formation and their ability to sprint and run. And then at some point about the game that his team had just won 2-0.

“We did it very well. We had to invest a lot, had decent ball possession phases and didn’t concede a goal. And in the end we might have been a bit lucky,” said Rose, who often and extensively praised the opponent and thus indirectly his Team: Because they defied all odds and continued their run in foreign stadiums against VfB, where “other teams in this stadium had problems in the second half of the season”. With 17 out of a possible 21 points, Borussia is the strongest away team in the 2022 calendar year and is still undefeated.

With 60 points now and – at least until Saturday evening – 15 points ahead of the first non-Champions League place, the Bundesliga season remains pretty good despite some serious slacks. In a time before Über-Bayern and a few times even BVB itself, 60 points after 29 match days would have been enough for first place, one should not forget that despite all the justified criticism of Borussia.

BVB: Rose praises and tickles Brandt

In Stuttgart, Rose and his team were forced into their happiness a bit. The opponent was able to add a “brutal quality”, “then they just bring Julian Brandt after a few minutes,” said VfB sports director Sven Mislintat. Brandt came on for Reyna, then scored the earliest joker goal in the Bundesliga after twelve minutes and made the decision in the middle of the second half.

After a somewhat complicated second half of the season for the 25-year-old, he again delivered one of those “it’s okay” moments that one would wish for more often from a Dortmund point of view. “Jule came in, was there immediately, scored two goals and worked a lot for the team. He did what I demand of him even more today. He worked more in the direction of the opposing goal, was more consistent. That can be done after a game always show up nicely with two goals”, Rose praised and then turned a bit into a fundamental criticism.

“And yet there were things again today that I demand of him more sustainably. Jule marches, works, runs, makes the way back, always powers up. But there are two or three things to become more complete. We will certainly not make him a one-on-one monster anymore. But I just ask that we are all willing to hurt each other.”

In doing so, Rose addressed a fundamental virtue that his team had lacked often enough this season. And on closer inspection, it wasn’t exactly outstanding in Stuttgart either. At least, or maybe because of that, the trainer put his finger in the wound and didn’t just want to praise, but also think ahead and not even allow the step into the comfort zone.

Dortmund also strained his luck

Dortmund had a good start and had control of the game against opponents who initially seemed hesitant, but ran into two or three really dangerous counterattacks. Only this time the mistakes were not punished as coolly as a few days earlier by the top team from Leipzig. And in the final phase, when Dortmund was already 2-0 up and the sure winner looked like, the game could have turned around again.

In any case, it was less Dortmund’s defensive skill that kept the zero. But rather a blatant final weakness of the opponent, a good Gregor Kobel in goal and a portion of luck. Because that became clear again in Stuttgart: Dortmund’s team still rarely manages to call up a consistently good performance over 90 minutes. The fluctuations remain an issue, probably beyond the summer, and a task that Rose and his coaching staff have to take care of.

In what role will Reus help soon?

After all, the victory provides planning security for the new season insofar as Borussia can count on the money from the Champions League. And that’s a big improvement compared to last season. Now some players are allowed to audition, Emre Can – who, according to his own information, is not at all interested in the rumors about a premature end of contract in Dortmund – or the substitutes Brandt and Dan-Axel Zagadou.

And in a way, Marco Reus too. He will definitely not (have to) leave the club. But the decision-makers need a basis on which level and at which level of responsibility they should plan with Reus in the future. The captain is always good for outstanding moments and games. He then mixes these high points with games like the one in Stuttgart, where he remained almost invisible for 90 minutes and in his few actions lacked the assertiveness and duel leadership that Rose von Brandt demands.

Bundesliga: The table before the Saturday games

Place team Sp. Gates differential pt.
1. Bayern Munich 28 85:29 56 66
2. Borussia Dortmund 29 70:42 28 60
3. Bayer Leverkusen 28 68:42 26 51
4. RB Leipzig 28 61:31 30 48
5. Freiburg 28 44:33 11 45
6. Hoffenheim 28 50:42 8th 44
7. Union Berlin 28 34:38 -4 41
8th. Cologne 28 38:41 -3 40
9. Eintracht Frankfurt 28 39:38 1 39
10 Mainz 05 28 41:33 8th 38
11. Bochum 28 30:40 -10 35
12. Borussia M’gladbach 28 39:52 -13 34
13. augsburg 28 34:45 -11 32
14 Wolfsburg 28 29:45 -16 31
15 Stuttgart 29 36:53 -17 27
16 Arminia Bielefeld 28 23:39 -16 26
17 Hertha BSC 28 30:62 -32 26
18 Greuther Fuerth 28 24:70 -46 16