Three Observations as BVB’s Hinrunde Ends in With a Whimper Against Hertha Berlin

With this, the first half of the German League ended. What was a fierce title contender just a few weeks ago has turned into an imposed outcome.

Dortmund paused in December today, with one final defeat to Hertha Berlin to wrap up a very disappointing month. It started off well, with BVB grabbing the lead in the 30th minute, when a faulty pass from Hertha hit Julian Brandt, who fired beautifully at the goalkeeper. Unfortunately, Dortmund failed to score an insurance goal, Hertha scored three goals in the second half, and while Dortmund would have returned with a goal from Stephen Tegues, they were ultimately unable to overcome the deficit.

Well, the Bundesliga season is basically over. Here are my thoughts.

Everything went like this… Predictably

Once, I was traveling to White Plains Regional Airport during a really bad winter storm. My plane was just entering its final approach when it was hit by a crosswind so strong that our pilot started spinning. When, on our second approach, a similar crosswind began to shake the plane from side to side, the plane continued its descent while the chief flight attendant began shouting “Head down, lean forward.” I had no idea what was going on, whether we were going to crash or not, but I definitely had a feeling that no matter what happened, it was going to be a tough ride.

When I saw the starting lineup that Marco Rose was planning for today, I also knew it was going to be a tough ride. Unfortunately, unlike the plane that was flying me, Borussia Dortmund won the title I did It shatters and burns in a smoldering pile of charred remains.

The back line consisted, left to right, of Nico Schulz, Marin Bonjraich, Axel Witsel, and Thomas Meunier, playing behind a double axis featuring Emre Kahn and Mahmoud Daoud. Breaking that one by one, you have: Schulz, who struggled all season, Bongraich, who barely played at all, Witsel, who struggled even when playing his normal position, and Meunier, who was…fine. All the conditions for a series of defensive calamities were present, and the result was exactly that.

On Hertha Berlin’s first goal, striker Isaac Belvodel, who wasn’t particularly quick, completely dusted off Axel Witsel, held off the Belgian before firing a shot under Marwen Hitz. In Hertha’s second goal, successive failures of Axel Witsel and Julian Brandt to clear the ball off the top of the 18-yard box allowed Hertha to pass the ball to Marco Richter, who managed to put in a fine shot into the top corner. The third goal was just a disaster, as Julian Brandt lazily delivered the ball while the rest of the backline stood idly by.

My sub-header in this note described the line of defense, but the difficulties included half of the entire defense, because Emre Chan and Mahmoud Daoud played very poorly. I was particularly frustrated with Kahn, who often dwelt on the ball like a lost child who had strayed onto the field. Often he didn’t, either playing a dangerous pass for his teammate that would put them under pressure, or simply handing it to himself. I can’t even argue that he should have started on Witsel in the backline because even if he had the speed to catch Voloodle, his passes were off, he could have caused two or three more goals by constantly turning the ball over.

What was very frustrating was that the BVB attack, when it did indeed advance, was very effective. Julian Brandt’s goal was top notch, and Marco Reus had two really good chances in the first half that he just couldn’t bury. Unfortunately, it was all in vain because 75% of the match was spent in the Dortmund half with Witsel, Pongracic, Schulz and Can playing a random game of escape. When Dan Axel Zagado and Rafael Guerrero took to the field, you could immediately see the improvement. It helped Hertha Berlin fall further, but the increase in the quality of distribution is undeniable.

Other than trying to stay healthy, the BVB really needs to fix their defensive line and defensive midfield. Schulz, Witsel and Pongracic are not good enough to help Dortmund in contention for the title. Dortmund is rumored to be interested in Denis Zakaria, who will certainly help, but more reinforcements at the back are necessary.

Injuries have finally proven a lot

Although today’s result was expected, there wasn’t much that Marco Rose could have done in the end. When you lose both your main center back, and your third center back have just recovered from a very devastating surgery, your options are limited. Judd Bellingham had to be suspended, and he lost himself in midfield badly. If you wanted an example of a day when the injury crisis in the Eredivisie finally hit the club, it’s today.

The truth is that Dortmund have been flirting with fire for a while now. The injury crisis has been going on for months, with nearly every player on the squad experiencing a constant absence at one time or another. Until a few weeks ago, it looked like Dortmund would be able to escape the crisis pretty much the way it is. The team that faced Bayern in classic It was mostly healthy. Unfortunately, injuries occurred almost immediately again, with Manuel Akanji, Mats Hummels, Gregor Kopel, Julian Brandt, Rafael Guerrero and Thorgan Hazard falling in the following matches. BVB will lose points in two of its last three matches. Normally, such a disappearance would not be so disastrous, but when you chase Bayern Munich, the margins are so tight that dropping five points could be enough to lose the title.

Time to win the Europa League and the DFB I think

The nine-point difference between Dortmund and Bayern seems insurmountable at this point, especially since Bayern only lost eight points in the entire first half of the season. Furthermore, with every other team in the Bundesliga in disarray, the top four should be relatively safe, assuming the wheels don’t completely fall off. Therefore, I think it would be wise for BVB to focus on the remaining two competitions where a trophy win is very much possible.

With Bayern out of the German Football League, BVB should be one if not the The contenders for the whole title. The same can be said about the European League. While neither trophy is as impressive as winning the Bundesliga title, either will do at least this season reasonably well. Hopefully the team’s health improves so that we don’t have to see Bongrajic and Witsel trying to defend against Napoli or Olympique Lyonnais.

your thoughts

What do you think of today’s match? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Leave a Comment