A home win for the preliminary table lead – from BVB’s point of view one could not expect much more from the match against Frankfurt. But the game also showed Borussia’s weaknesses.
1. Favre can react better than to act
In the end everything was fine. A 3:1 victory against cup winner Eintracht Frankfurt sounds like a successful evening for Borussia Dortmund. But the way there was clearly more laborious, than the result suggests. This was partly due to the good performance of the guests, but also to the way the new BVB coach Lucien Favre lets his team play.
Favre had already surprised with the line-up. The top-class summer entrants Axel Witsel and Paco Alcácer found themselves on the bench for the time being. Instead, Favre relied on defensive stability through a supposedly compact midfield and once again on Maximilian Philipp as the central striker. Both only worked to a limited extent.
In the course of the game, however, Favre revealed one of his great strengths and the advantage of the excellently staffed Dortmund squad: The coach makes the right decisions in difficult moments and has enough top-class personnel available to give games in the final phase a decisive turn. The substitutions of Jadon Sancho, Witsel and Alcácer made the difference. Sancho prepared the two late goals for 2-1 and 3-1, Alcácer opened the second BVB goal and scored the third himself.
2. The question for the strikers is still unanswered
The new Dortmund striker needed 21 minutes for his first goal for Borussia. This brings back memories of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Michy Batshuayi, who had also scored in their first Bundesliga matches – Aubameyang after 24 minutes, Batshuayi after 35. The decisive difference: Alcácer did not give up the classic centre forward in his first BVB minutes, but stayed mostly in his own half, had only one ball contact in the opponent’s sixteenth and scored his goal after a corner from the right corner of the penalty area.
Whether Alcácer can become the saviour in the centre of the attack cannot be judged from his first short appearance. The only thing that seems clear is that Maximilian Philipp is not a classic centre forward. In 67 minutes, the former Freiburg player only managed one shot, but he passed the goal. From his 14 passes, he brought nine to the man and – like Alcácer – only one ball contact in the opponent’s penalty area.
Favre’s problem: With Philipp, Sancho, Marco Reus, Marius Wolf, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Christian Pulisic and Mario Götze he has an oversupply of high-class offensive players for the outer position or as a possible hanging top. A real ninth as a first leg in the front line, like Aubameyang and Batshuayi were, is missing so far. Alcácer is the only hope.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang Honours
- Coupe de la Ligue: 2012–13
- DFB-Pokal: 2016–17
- DFL-Supercup: 2013, 2014
- Ligue 1 Best African Player: 2012–13
- Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2012–13
- CAF Team of the Year: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
- Prix Marc-Vivien Foé: 2013
- UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season: 2015–16
- Borussia Dortmund Player of the Season: 2014–15
- Bundesliga Team of the Year: 2016–17
- African Footballer of the Year: 2015
- Bundesliga Player of the Year: 2015–16
- Facebook FA Bundesliga Player of the Year: 2016
- Bundesliga Top Goalscorer: 2016–17 (31 goals)
3. More must come from the midfield
“We have to learn to control the ball better under pressure,” Favre said after the game. He must have meant his defensive midfield in particular. Mahmoud Dahoud and Thomas Delaney had problems building up the game, especially in the first half. The two players in sixth place only brought 71.8 percent (Dahoud) and 75.4 percent (Delaney) of their passes to the other player, while in the opponent’s half the quota was significantly below 60 percent for both. Weak values for players who were supposed to ensure order and structure in the control center.
The main reason for this was the good and concentrated pressing of Eintracht. Over long distances, the Frankfurters succeeded in narrowing the spaces and constantly attacking through disciplined and committed play. The result: Only four Dortmund finishes in the first half, of which the lucky goal to 1-0 was the only really dangerous one. The fact that the Dortmund attackers hung in the air for a long time was mainly due to the fact that there were too few impulses from the midfield. BVB already had the same problem in their draw against Hanover.
Only in the final phase did the guests have to pay tribute to their high willingness to run and became tired. The Dortmund Joker Witsel, Sancho and Alcácer, who set the decisive accents, profited from this. In other words: If the BVB has room, it also has the playful quality to create chances and score goals. But Borussia still has a hard time against compact and aggressive opponents. In the UK, Coral is one of the biggest online casino gaming site.