BVB: Edin Terzic and the eternal question of mentality
Published2 months ago
After the defeat of Borussia Dortmund at FC Bayern, coach Edin Terzic has to put up with mentality issues again. BVB are plagued by completely different problems.
Football in Dortmund is a simple game: 90 minutes, 22 players and in the end a result in Munich decides whether BVB has a mentality or not. After the 2: 4 at FC Bayern Munich, all debates about Edin Terzic’s team were reset to zero. There was even talk of a “Bayern mentality” (Effenberg) recently.
In this calendar year, Borussia had not lost a single Bundesliga game up until last weekend. Dortmund are still the most in-form team of the year, seven points ahead of Bayern. And yet the disappointment about the clear defeat in the Allianz Arena is great.
The first doubts as to how great BVB’s mentality really is could already be heard a few hours later. “Giving up is an option,” headlined it sports1– Columnist Alex Steudel. “Where were the leaders?” asked web.de. The problems of Dortmund are of a different nature.
BVB: Edin Terzic and the fluctuations in performance
Edin Terzic’s greatest quality is perhaps communication. On the one hand you can feel the special connection that he can build up with his players. On the other hand, he often manages to find the right words in the media. “It would be silly if I said here that the first few minutes were really good,” he analyzed immediately after the game sky.
As great as the hopes around BVB were, it was foreseeable that there would only be something to gain in Munich if FC Bayern played below their performance limit. Terzic never put it so clearly, but he also knew at all times that his team’s run was favored by many factors and that they were far from as far as the outside world liked to portray them. “We won’t allow the mood to get too good,” he said in February, for example, after seven wins in a row.
He did it well. Dortmund stayed focused, concentrated and grew from their victories. The longer the series lasted, the more confident the team acted on the pitch. Terzic’s decision to field Emre Can, a powerful six behind two strong midfielders, solved a fundamental problem in the first half of the season. This made Dortmund’s ball possession game a little better. Jude Bellingham and Julian Brandt became anchor points in the 4-3-3. The return of Marco Reus also helped BVB’s ball forward to become more purposeful, but also more variable.
In recent years, Dortmund have dropped too many points because they didn’t have enough ideas against low-lying opponents. The change helped, although it did not completely solve the problem. In duels with stronger teams, BVB found it almost unusually difficult. Against Leverkusen (0.9), Chelsea (1.5 and 0.8), Leipzig (1.2) and Bayern (1.5) it was only enough for an average of 1.18 expected goals per game. Among them were two penalties. Little came out of the game.
On the other hand, BVB allowed many chances defensively against these teams. On average, 2.04 goals would have been expected. Dortmund had a healthy dose of luck, especially against Leverkusen, Leipzig and in the first leg against Chelsea, which helped to win these games. The fluctuations in performance were still there, but the results were correct.
Mentality was rightly emphasized at the time. Nico Schlotterbeck or Can, who saved several times just before the ball hit the ball, or Gregor Kobel, who, apart from his performance in Munich, is having an outstanding season, are good examples. However, there was not enough talk about the fact that quality will not be enough if you do not become stronger as a team in addition to these individual achievements.
BVB: Is this squad enough for your own claim?
Accordingly, the question should be how this squad can be realistically assessed – and what claim one formulates from it. On paper, the Dortmunders are well occupied in individual positions. On the offensive wing positions, for example, or in central defense. Even in the back room there are various strong options that weren’t always available in the past. Nevertheless, the six space, the attack center and the full-back positions remain an issue.
In defensive midfield, Can recently experienced a clear improvement in performance. He was much more stable in a duel, and his mistakes in the build-up game decreased. Also because Terzic kept him out of the narrow zones by tipping between the central defenders. However, FC Bayern in particular has repeatedly shown that Can is not the best solution for the future. Again and again he let the Munich team pull him out of the center and thus opened up the six-man space. At this level, Can has a lot of trouble anticipating game situations and positioning himself accordingly.
Dortmund also has major qualitative problems on the defensive flanks. The fact that Marius Wolf is considered one of the starters in the current season is justified in view of a large part of his performance. The 27-year-old is a solid option for BVB in most games. If the performance of the DFB team against Belgium and the game against FC Bayern at the weekend showed one thing, then that Wolf is simply overwhelmed defensively with opponents of this quality and can no longer show offensively what he did last time in the Bundesliga made so strong.
Players like Can and Wolf would be ideal squad players for Borussia Dortmund. The fact that they are not just regular players at the moment, but also top performers, says a lot about the basic quality of players like Salih Özcan or Thomas Meunier. Even if the latter was often absent injured recently. In order to be able to seriously discuss the championship question, BVB does not need more mentality, but more quality. The question, however, is whether this is actually BVB’s claim. Or whether the good season they are undoubtedly playing is not what one should actually expect in Dortmund. The dream of the really big master throw has clouded that a bit in the last few weeks.
BVB: Quality question also in the coaching team?
Perhaps the question of quality ultimately also affects the coaching team. Tactically, BVB has certainly made progress, but it’s just not enough to even come close to being able to survive against a battered FC Bayern. The gaps in midfield were too big when the team pushed forward, it was too easy to counter because counter-pressing didn’t work either due to structural deficiencies. The distances in the center were huge, the wings blank with every move of the Munich team.
It wasn’t an exception. Chelsea and Leipzig were also able to show these structural deficiencies several times. The conclusion from all this can be that BVB simply can no longer get involved in the concert of the really big ones for obvious, mostly financial reasons.
Perhaps the acceptance of this supposed reality in recent years has also meant that the actual potential can no longer be fully exploited. Although Terzic does a good job, he and his team rarely manage to develop a working match plan, especially in the big games.
BVB: Everything is still open – the title dreams live on
And despite this situation, classification is important. Even after the almost obligatory defeat in Munich, Borussia Dortmund is on target and is playing an outstanding second half of the season in terms of results. From this you can gain self-confidence for the now important tasks. “We’re going home with a bit of anger. But then we’ll look at the table and see that we’re two points behind the leaders,” said Terzic, rightly so.
The quarter-finals in the DFB Cup against Leipzig await on Wednesday (8.45 p.m. in LIVETICKER), at the weekend Dortmund have a home game against Union Berlin. These two games will say a lot more about the state of BVB than the away game at Bayern. If they win both games, the world looks different again. Especially since the chances of a title in the cup after Bayern are out are huge. Should Dortmund lose, however, it will be louder again. The next two games can tip the entire season. However, it should also not be forgotten that the season last winter was already written off in many places.
Football is a very simple game in Dortmund: How good the mentality is depends on whether you win or lose. However, just looking at the results is not enough. However, anyone who has followed the past few weeks and months closely should not be surprised that the team is a bit more fragile than was previously assumed. But mentality shouldn’t be a problem at BVB. What can and must be proven against Leipzig and Union.
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