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Findings after the victory in Mainz: Borussia Dortmund plays haphazardly, uninspired and not dangerous



Edin Terzic

Borussia Dortmund clinched a lucky victory in injury time at 1. FSV Mainz 05. Three insights into the game.

Despite the 2-1 win, BVB once again failed to play good football. This was also due to the weak offensive, which coach Edin Terzic was to change personnel in the near future.

In addition, there is a big loser from Dortmund at the start of the year so far, who was not even present in Mainz.

BVB: Borussia Dortmund continues to play decent football

You have to give him that: Edin Terzic has a good hand. Giovanni Reyna’s late winner was the eighth goal by a substitute for BVB. No other team can boast this record.

And something positive has also happened when it comes to standard situations, which have been neuralgic in both directions for years. Only in one direction, as the early goal after a corner kick underlined. Nevertheless: Dortmund scored in the third Bundesliga game in a row from a stationary ball – and thus as often as on the first 14 matchdays of this season (3 times).

If you add the two wins at the start of the year, then that is definitely good news for Borussia after the first two games in 2023. But Terzic is very right when he says: “We know that we still have a lot of work to do .”

Still a lot, to be precise. Because what BVB has delivered in many of the previous season’s games was remarkably haphazard, uninspired and harmless. You could also say: bad.

Even after a ten-week winter break, there is no clear game idea in the Westphalian ball presentation. The ball possession game lacks structure, smooth processes and effective patterns. Dortmund plays wide too often, but lacks assertiveness on the offensive flanks. In the center, on the other hand, there is hardly anyone available, so that BVB’s efforts to advance towards the opposing goal are easy for many teams to see through and defend.

BVB not only kissed by Fortuna in Mainz

These shortcomings are paired with an often lacking balance between the different parts of the team and garnished with regular individual mistakes and lack of concentration in the anything but stable defense. Under Terzic, BVB hardly ever managed to control or even dominate an opponent – regardless of their quality. But that is nothing other than the claim that the Black and Yellows have and that the audience also has.

Nevertheless, this level in the Bundesliga was enough for ten wins in 17 games, although it must also be emphasized that BVB was kissed by Fortuna not only on Wednesday evening in Mainz. The victorious encounters in Freiburg and Frankfurt, the cup appearance in Hanover and the draw against FC Bayern were also extremely fortunate.

The game on Sunday against Leverkusen, which has been particularly high in goals for years between the two teams, should demand different qualities from Dortmund than playing against a deep chain and is therefore more accommodating to BVB. Terzic still needs quick solutions to the complex problems of the game. After all, you can’t strain your luck from the bank that often.

BVB: Edin Terzic has to change Dortmund’s offensive

A suitable measure that Terzic should take immediately: put the recently so effective offensive jokers Reyna, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Sebastién Haller in the starting lineup. In any case, it shouldn’t be long before at least one of the three is let off the leash.

Of course, it is right to carefully introduce these players to the stresses after their long absences and to dose the playing times accordingly. And in such a way that they can not only go 100% during the intensive weeks in February, but ideally for the entire rest of the season.

However, it has long been blatant how much greater the influence of Reyna and Bynoe-Gittens in particular on the offensive wing positions is compared to Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen. The wing tongs, which cost 60 million euros, have so far failed to provide any evidence of high class.

Karim Adeyemi and Donyell Malen continue without scoring

Both in the 4-3 win against Augsburg at the start of the year and now in Mainz, Adeyemi and Malen lacked determination and power. At times, both revealed problems with ball control. So they didn’t get the pace, the greatest strength of the two players, on the pitch because they often lost out in direct duels: Adeyemi won 33 percent of his duels, Malen 40 percent.

Reyna and Bynoe-Gittens brought significantly more directness and esprit to their performances, even at the beginning of the season – and a total of six goals, while Adeyemi and Malen are still zero.

As for Haller, look at his cancer from day to day, as Terzic emphasized several times. But now that he’s made two appearances of 28 minutes each, it’s already clear what he can give BVB: power, physicality, air superiority, goal threat. So things that Youssoufa Moukoko, who is of course a completely different type of player than Haller, has missed so far in the new year.

BVB: Thorgan Hazard is Dortmund’s big loser

Thorgan Hazard was also missing in Mainz on the Dortmund side. After the Belgian was on the bench for 90 minutes against Augsburg, he didn’t even make it into the squad. The prospects for the 29-year-old have also deteriorated significantly due to the players returning from injuries.

Hazard was already far from being a serious option for the starting XI in the first half of the season. Although he was used in 21 of 23 competitive games, he only started six times and only played longer than 70 minutes three times.

In those three games, Hazard had to help out at left-back due to injuries from Raphael Guerreiro and Tom Rothe. Hazard cut a solid figure in this unfamiliar role, but in his traditional position as an attacking winger the door is as good as closed for him with the current situation.

Thorgan Hazard is probably aiming for a change in the summer

“I said at the weekend that we wouldn’t rule out that something could happen both on the off and on the access side. That’s why I’m leaving it open, of course,” said sports director Sebastian Kehl, among other things, when asked about alleged sales candidates such as the former Gladbacher. “I know how fast things can go in football and that’s why I wouldn’t want to make a final statement today as to whether and in which direction something will happen.”

Hazard has recently been linked with a move back to his hometown club Brugge. However, Belgian media denied this and reported that Hazard would like to stay in Dortmund until the summer and then aim for a transfer to Serie A or the Primera Division. He is still under contract with BVB until 2024 – an early departure is highly likely.

BVB: The next three games of Borussia Dortmund

contest date Opponent Home/Away
Bundesliga 29.01., 5.30 p.m Bayer 04 Leverkusen away
Bundesliga 04.02., 3.30 p.m Sc freiburg home
DFB Cup 08.02., 8.45 p.m VfL Bochum away