Monday, August 15, 2022

Analysis: How Wolfsburg Were Easily Beaten By Borussia Dortmund In The Englische Woche

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Anas Molla
An ageing teenager who apparently still likes Twenty One Pilots and HIMYM. Also fascinated by Greek and Egyptian mythology and history. Still waiting for my man Milos Raonic to win a Grand Slam.

Thomas Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund continued their onslaught when they dismantled the VfL Wolfsburg defence to score past five goals at the Volkswagen Arena. We will have a breakdown as to what exactly caused the chastening defeat for the Wolves at the hands of the mighty Dortmund.

Lineups

Just like on the weekend against Darmstadt, Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel started with a similar 4-1-4-1 formation with Roman Bürki in goal.

Lukasz Piszczek was marked fit for the game after missing out against Darmstadt due to a muscular problem. He started in the right defensive position. Captain Marcel Schmelzer was on the left. The centre-back pairings saw, Marc Bartra making a comeback after being rested on the weekend, he replaced Matthias Ginter who started alongside Greek defender Sokratis.

In the midfield, Julian Weigl was deployed as the lone pivot. Mario Götze started alongside new signing Raphael Guerreiro in the central attacking positions. However, Gonzalo Castro, arguably Dortmund’s best player in terms of form, going into the clash, had to sit on the bench. American teenager, Christian Pulisic, who celebrated only his 18th birthday in the weekend, started ahead of the German international whilst Dembele too kept his place on the team, starting on the right-hand side.

Another change from the weekend’s victory was Gabonese star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang starting as the lone striker after replacing Colombian Adrian Ramos.

“Four At The Back”?

Prior to the game, Wolfsburg were yet to concede a single goal in three Bundesliga outings. The centre back pairing of new signings Jeffery Bruma and Phillip Wollscheid seemed to be paying off. However, on Tuesday evening, the defence faulted terribly as the powerful Dortmund frontline gave the defenders a horror show. Make no mistake, Wolfsburg were punished rightly because of their own ineffectiveness.

The defensive line lacked co-ordination, understanding and commitment, on the night, as Thomas Tuchel’s troops relentlessly tested the defence time and time again.

VflBVB

Here, for the first goal, the gap between the right-sided centre-back Jefferey Bruma and right back Vieirinha is enormous. Marc Bartra sees the opportunity to play a through ball in whilst Ousmane Dembele on the right makes a clever move forward by attracting Vieirinha to stay in sight of him. Eventually, making the gap even larger and easier for Bartra to find Guerreiro, whose deflected shot off Vieirinha drifted goalside.

As for the second goal, again, some poor piece of defending resulted in Auba easily finding space in and among the backline as he dribbled past Wollschied far too easily to finish off a remarkable solo effort, half of which, to be honest, the credit must be given to Wolfsburg’s own futility.

VflBVB 2

Again, we can see the awkward positioning between the centre backs. Wolfsburg were caught on the break (when they were playing well early in the second half) as Dortmund moved the ball up quickly. The absence of two attacking full backs in Vieirinha and Ricardo Rodriguez left Wolfsburg completely open with Wollscheid too slow to get back into positioning. The man on the ball, Gonzalo Castro had acres of time and space to run through and find Ousmane Dembele. Albeit the goal came from an offside position but again, it was one of the prime examples of the poor defending by Dieter Hecking’s side.

Unstructured Midfield

Dieter Hecking’s side started with the double pivot of Maximillian Arnold and new signing Yannick Gerhardt. While both the youngsters have shown some good performances in the past matches, it is safe to say that they had an off day against Dortmund. The two inexperienced midfielders were completely outclassed by another flock of young players in Julian Weigl and Raphael Guerreiro. The absence of Gustavo was felt as neither Arnold nor Gerhardt are natural defensive midfielders.

VflBVB 3

Here, for the fourth goal, we can see all the Wolfsburg players caught ball watching while midfielder Yannick Gerhardt not having any gravity of the situation. Clever Dembele positioned himself a tad further up to attract Rodriguez on the left, who played Castro onside and Dortmund are through.

Neither of them were absolutely sure about their positioning and they’d get easily dispossessed by Dortmund. The pic below provides a great info as to how insecure Wolfsburg’s defence was against Dortmund. We can see two of the midfielders positioning in almost the same position, which is incredibly weird. Most of the credit should go down to Dortmund’s faultless midfield for completely dominating their opponents throughout the game.

Another reason for Wolfsburg’s demise was their toothless form in the front of goal and the liability of striker Mario Gomez. The Wolves had scored just two goals in three games prior to the game and their form continued against Dortmund as they missed loads of chances.

Mario Gomez looked highly uncertain of his shooting abilities while Draxler missed a great opportunity.

WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 20: Mario Gomez of Wolfsburg appears frustrated during the Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund at Volkswagen Arena on September 20, 2016 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Photo by Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/Getty Images)
WOLFSBURG, GERMANY – SEPTEMBER 20: Mario Gomez of Wolfsburg appears frustrated during the Bundesliga match between VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Dortmund at Volkswagen Arena on September 20, 2016 in Wolfsburg, Germany. (Photo by Oliver Hardt/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Despite Dortmund dominating the game early on, Wolfsburg were able to get back after half an hour while they also managed to create chances. However, their mediocrity in front of goal made justice to their early season form. On more than one occasion, Dieter Hecking’s men had the chance to pull one, two or maybe three goals past Dortmund. In fact, Wolfsburg managed more shots than Thomas Tuchel’s men with 15 but the credit should be given to goalkeeper Roman Bürki. The Swiss international goalkeeper was in fine form in midweek as he made numerous saves including the goal line save which was marked off the line by the new goal-line Technology.

At the end, Thomas Tuchel’s men were too strong as they carried on their impressive form lately, Dortmund have scored 17 goals in their last three games with 12 different scorers. They seem to be all set before facing the Spanish giants Real Madrid in the Champions League next week.

Wolfsburg on the other hand, have a lot of work to do to get back among the German elites. The Wolves are now winless in their last three Bundesliga outings, not a good sign for a side, who should be playing Champions League football every season.

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