DORTMUND, Germany — One week into December, Borussia Dortmund are nonetheless on the lookout for their first Bundesliga win since September.
After successful six and drawing one among their first seven video games, leading to a five-point cushion on the prime of the desk, the Black and Yellows have plummeted to sixth place, amounting solely three attracts and 4 losses of their previous seven. Throughout all competitions, they’ve gained solely one among their previous 13 video games.
Naturally, the primary query to Peter Bosz at Friday’s information convention forward of Saturday’s house match towards 17th-placed Werder Bremen was what makes him optimistic that his staff would return to their successful methods.
“A number of durations of latest video games,” Bosz answered. “For example, the primary half towards Schalke, the place we performed effectively at house and in addition the interval after the primary 20 minutes towards Actual Madrid, the place we performed some nice soccer. We don’t solely should defend effectively however present good soccer on the ball.”
On the flip aspect, it signifies that Dortmund have not been able to taking part in effectively all through a whole match in latest weeks, nay months. Within the Revierderby, they threw away a Four-Zero lead within the second half to attract Four-Four; at Bayer Leverkusen, they had been far inferior till the hosts had been all the way down to 10 males; and Actual Madrid considerably stepped off the fuel after 20 minutes, being snug 2-Zero leaders in a meaningless fixture.
Therefore Bosz has to clutch at straws to search out some optimism going into Saturday’s sport towards a reinvigorated Bremen aspect which have gained two of their previous three video games since Florian Kohfeldt took over for Alexander Nouri as supervisor.
And one other worrying development for Bosz is that details about his lineup is being leaked to the press. Funke Mediengruppe wrote forward of the Leverkusen match that they’d heard out of the participant’s circle that Neven Subotic would discover himself within the beginning lineup. It isn’t war-deciding data, but particulars in regards to the lineup have not been publicly out there for years in Dortmund except the coach himself had revealed them.
Although, for what it is value, some facets of BVB’s sport have improved, which additionally has to do with Bosz’s swap from a Four-Three-Three to a Three-Four-Three.
Two wing-backs and two holding midfielders as an alternative of only one imply extra passing choices within the first build-up part for the three centre-backs. Dortmund can assemble extra triangles and discover methods to play across the strain of their opponents, as they did very effectively within the first half towards Schalke.
The change will not be the answer to all their issues however it’s a greater plan than reverting to lengthy balls, as Dortmund had been pressured to do in league video games towards Frankfurt (2-2 draw) and Hannover (Four-2 loss).
Captain Marcel Schmelzer has revealed to ESPN FC that the staff is feeling extra snug with three on the again, and Nuri Sahin confirmed that to Ruhr Nachrichten as effectively after the sport towards Actual Madrid. For a staff that concedes targets left, proper and centre as a result of peculiarities of a three-back system, it could solely bode effectively to take fewer dangers.
On Saturday, nevertheless, Dortmund will not be capable of afford a method as risk-averse as they had been within the second half towards decimated Leverkusen, wherein they discovered the 1-1 equaliser to salvage some extent however tried to maintain the ball away from the Rhine aspect with 89 % possession fairly than going out weapons ablaze looking for a winner.
“There are not any ifs and buts,” Sahin mentioned on Wednesday evening, “solely a win counts towards Bremen.”
The Northerners have a tied third-best defensive report within the Bundesliga, having conceded solely 16 targets in 14 video games, and can set their hopes on nifty Fin Bartels and Max Kruse to dissect Dortmund on the counterattack. Each have arrange 4 targets for one another previously 4 video games.
Bosz, in the meantime, will hope that his star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang retains his kind up. The Gabonese worldwide scored braces towards Schalke and Actual Madrid whereas being suspended towards Leverkusen attributable to a pink card. And likewise Shinji Kagawa has proven promising glimpses within the wake of the injured Mario Gotze and Gonzalo Castro both in midfielder or additional up entrance.
Because of the latest accidents, together with the long-term knee harm of Maximilian Philipp, possibilities have elevated that 17-year-old Englishman Jadon Sancho will see extra minutes on the sphere amid Dortmund’s crammed schedule. After taking part in in Madrid on Wednesday, an away match in Mainz will observe Saturday’s sport.
These are two video games Dortmund must win with the intention to keep in contact with a top-four spot forward of the winter break. In the mean time, Dortmund are solely two factors off however can’t afford to drop any additional behind.
Stefan Buczko covers Borussia Dortmund for ESPN FC. Twitter: @StefanBuczko.