After his successful start in the Bundesliga for BVB, coach Marco Rose explained why he had surprisingly relied on midfielder Axel Witsel in central defense.
In Borussia Dortmund’s 5-2 win against Eintracht Frankfurt on the first day of the Bundesliga, Witsel ran alongside the regular defender Manuel Akanji in the center of the back four. A measure that nobody would have expected.
After the game, Rose explained his decision. “If you go out at the age of Axel with an injury like that, then play a European Championship and then return from vacation in top shape, then that shows what a professional you are,” said Rose and continued: “We wanted to exude dominance and needed football calm and quality on the ball. “
Accordingly, it was “a decision for Axel”. And not against young talent Antonios Papadopoulos, who many would have expected in the starting XI. That one came in the 78th minute for his first appearance in the Bundesliga. “Dad has been incredibly helpful up to this point and has developed really well. I’m glad we have him,” said Rose, praising the youngster.
Witsel had torn his Achilles tendon at the beginning of the year and then got fit again in record time and competed in the European Championship with Belgium. The Red Devils, however, were eliminated in the quarter-finals against eventual European champions Italy with 1: 2.