Wednesday, March 22, 2023

How Borussia Dortmund Came Through Freiburg’s Brave Challenge In The Bundesliga

Must Read
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.

Borussia Dortmund played out their Friday night league game before the big clash against Real Madrid in midweek. The club from the Ruhr district edged past a sturdy Freiburg, who gave Thomas Tuchel’s side a real run for the money last night.


Roman Bürki started as the man between the sticks. The Swiss goalkeeper was coming on the back of an impressive performance against Wolfsburg in the Englische Woche. New Signing Marc Bartra had to come off early in the Volkswagen Arena on Tuesday due to a niggle. He watched on as the spectator with Matthias Ginter deputizing him in centre back positions alongside Sokratis.

Lukasz Piszczek retained his place in the starting XI as the right back. The veteran Polish defender was one of the scorers in midweek’s 5:1 thrashing of VfL Wolfsburg. Marcel Schmelzer was the left back in Tuchel’s 4-3-3 formation.

Julian Weigl started out as the lone pivot with Gonzalo Castro and Mario Götze playing further upfront. Christian Pulisic was demoted to the bench which gave birth to Emre Mor’s first start in the league. The young Turkish international started on as the right winger while his 19-year old partner Ousmane Dembele was deployed on the left.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was the lone forward up front. The Gabon International was playing his 100th game in the Bundesliga.

How the game panned out

Christian Streich’s Freiburg are known for their intense style of play. Against Dortmund, there was no anomaly as Freiburg players started pressing on right from the start. In the game against Wolfsburg, Dortmund took full advantage of the poor pressing by Dieter Hecking’s men as they were offered complete freedom to play out from the back and create tons of scoring opportunities. Christian Streich seemed to have taken a good note of the fact and avoided the things which caused Wolfsburg the humiliation.

The 4-4-2 formation deployed at the start gave Streich the option to prevent Dortmund’s usual style of playing out from the back. The two strikers upfront in Nils Petersen and Maximilian Philip formed a conjugal pressing to press the two centre backs with Julian Weigl, the main string-puller of the team, tightly man marked by either of the two midfielders in Amir Abrashi and Niklas Hofler.

The quick pressing resulted in a 2v2 scenario (Petersen+Philip v Ginter + Sokratis) with Weigl kept at arm’s length. The centre backs were given no time at all to distribute the ball and the quick closing down by the forwards, eventually forced them to either give the ball back to goalkeeper Roman Bürki or play out a long drilled ball up field or into the wide areas. Not just the strikers, the two Freiburg wingers in Onur Bulut and Vincenzo Grifo also did very well to quickly press down the full backs while keeping eye on for the wingers (Mor and Dembele respectively) using their cover shadows.

Dortmund struggled to create chances or even bring the ball up field due to the intense pressure from the Freiburg players. However, it didn’t last long.

There was a reason as to why Jürgen Klopp was so successful with his famous ‘geggenpress’. That team would press the opposite out for the entirety of the game. That was not the case with Freiburg, however.

As the game went on, Freiburg slowed their intensity, allowing Dortmund to have more freedom in the pitch. From the half an hour mark, the Black and Yellows eventually started to have a grip on the game. Young French International, Ousmane Dembele caused terror on the left side of the field. The 19-year old winger completed 8 out of his 12 take-ons in the match, which is, sensationally, twice more than the combined total of Götze, Castro, Mor and Aubameyang.

But despite all these relentless Dortmund attacks, Christian Streich’s men seemed pretty contain to defend. However, Freiburg were somehow unlucky to concede the goal just before the half-time whistle. Amir Abrashi lost the ball in the middle, the ball fell to Mario Götze, who acutely found Dembele inside the box. His low cross was drifting wide but Aubameyang was on hand to apply the finish to mark his 100th Bundesliga appearance with a goal.

Dortmund continued their momentum through to the second half. In the 53rd minute, Lukasz Piszczek doubled the lead for Dortmund. The Polish defender ran through the heart of the Freiburg defense before a putting up a brilliantly disguised pass to Gonzalo Castro, whose attempted square ball for Auba was intercepted by Caglar Soyuncu but the loose ball fell kindly in the path of Piszczek to score his second successive goal in as games.

Few minutes, later however, substitute Janik Haberer made a timely impact. The midfielder played a precise through ball for Maxi Philip, who took advantage of Ginter’s sleep to put the ball calmly past goalkeeper Roman Bürki. All of a sudden, Die Breisgauer were suddenly back in the game.

For the final half an hour of the game, Dortmund somewhat nervously held on to the lead before playing a beautiful piece of football to work out a third goal in the final minute of the match. A short throw in near corner flag lead to some intricate play as they work their way into the area. A quick exchange of passes between Auba and Castro (with his final back heal) set the ball up for Guerreiro, who calmly slotted the ball wide of goalkeeper’s reach to guarantee his sides the three points.


In the end, the final goal might have made the score line look one sided, however the game was anything but that. A brave Freiburg side worked incredibly hard to keep the Dortmund attacking unit at bay almost for the entirety of the game. The defenders had a very tough night, and the fact that the Freiburg defence amassed a whopping 34 clearances was enough to prove it.

Thomas Tuchel’s Dortmund now seem ready (or are they?) to face the all-important clash against the holders Real Madrid in midweek while Christian Streich can find many positives from the game as he looks ahead to their next clash against Eintracht Frankfurt next week.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Follow Our Tweets On Twitter

Latest News

Manchester United Hold Meeting To Recruit This Ligue 1 Defender: What Will He Add To Ten Hag’s Side?

In a recent report, Foot Mercato stated that Manchester United have held a meeting with AS Monaco defender Axel...

More Articles Like This