Friday, February 3, 2023

Tactical Points From Borussia Dortmund’s Win Against Darmstadt

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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.

Borussia Dortmund claimed their second successive 6:0 win as minnows Darmstadt were ripped apart in the  Bundesliga encounter on Saturday afternoon.

In this article, we will look at few of the tactical viewpoints which helped Dortmund steamroll past a clumsy Darmstadt side.

Lineups

Borussia Dortmund head coach Thomas Tuchel opted for a 4-1-4-1 formation with Swiss Goalkeeper Roman Burki in goal. Youngster Felix Passlack deputised veteran Polish right-back Lukasz Piszczek, who missed the game due to a muscular problem while captain Marcel Schmelzer started in his usual left back position.

Former Barcelona man and the scorer of midweek’s fixture against Legia, Marc Bartra was rested as Olympic silver medalist Matthias Ginter started in his place accommodating Sokratis in the centre-back positions.

Julian Weigl started out as the lone midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Gonzalo Castro and Portuguese Raphael Guerreiro deployed further up field in the left and right attacking midfield positions respectively.

Due to some impressive performances, Ousmane Dembele was credited with a starting spot as Mario Götze too was rested ahead of the so-called Englishewoche and the absence of Andre Schurrle benefited American wunderkind Christian Pulisic a starting birth in the lineup. He started on the right wing.

Colombian striker Adrian Ramos was the lone striker upfront.

Dortmund’s early flow

Dortmund’s vertical passing problems led to some disappointing performances in the early season when they edged past Mainz 2:1 and lost out to RB Leipzig. However, in the early phases of the game, Dortmund were having no troubles in creating chances as they broke down the pretty non-resolute Darmstadt defence time and time again.

Thomas Tuchel’s usual left-sided overload helped Marcel Schmelzer, Ousmane Dembele and Raphael Guerreiro get more influence on the proceedings. The clever movements of Guerreiro and the quick drop of the shoulders of Ousmane Dembele made it a tough afternoon for players like Alexandr Milosevic, Peter Niemeyer and Florian Jungwirth.

The Black and Yellows created an avalanche of chances from the left flank and Dortmund eventually broke the deadlock as early as the seventh minute. Roman Burki started the counter attack when Darmstadt were caught attacking, as Dortmund ran through the pitch to find Ousmane Dembele, who was given a ton of space by Florian Jungwirth. Dembele drifted wide and his cross found Gonzalo Castro in the box, who neatly drove the ball past the reach of Darmstadt goalkeeper Michael Esser.

This early freedom given by Darmstadt made it easy for die Schwarzgelben to find their rhythm in the early stages which also helped them settle more into the game in the latter periods.

Julian Weigl – The Free Man

Another important reason resulting Darmstadt’s demise was the free man in the middle, Julian Weigl. With the departures of key buildup players such as Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gündoğan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, many believe Julian Weigl is a lock in the midfield this season, especially in the buildup play.

It was evident that Norbert Meier, the Darmstadt head coach, clearly relinquished his homework on Julian Weigl. The last league game against Leipzig, saw Ralph Hassenhuttl’s men completely nullifying the 21-year-old, which was ultimately one of their main plans leading them to victory against the Black and Yellows. Stefan Ilsanker was the man to mark the channels of Weigl on that occasions.

That was not the case for Darmstadt, however, as the German International was awarded acres of space to play his natural game as easily as he possibly could have. And as always, his intelligent movements and passing paid dividends in Thomas Tuchel’s possession based game. Weigl recorded 100 passes against Darmstadt with an accuracy of 93%. Against Leipzig, he managed almost the half of that, thus proving the amount of work blotted out by Norbert Meier’s troops. The absence of Jerome Gondorf was a telling factor though.

Darmstadt’s booking problems

“Darmstadt can play dirty!” – was the message from my friend before the game. Welp, That’s the way it panned out at the end. The Lilies recorded a whopping 16 fouls in the match, with six of them going into the referee’s book.

At first, Anis Ben-Hatira was substituted within the first half due to a yellow card he picked up off in the 22nd minute, as last week’s Derby hero Sandro Sirigu came on replace him. The substitution was not like for like, which caused them to make another substitution just before the second half as former Dortmund midfielder Mario Vrancic was replaced by Slovenian Roman Bezjak.

Key defenders Immanuel Hohn, Peter Niemeyer and Alexandr Milosevic all went into referee’s book before the half time.

These frequent number of fouls and bookings forced head coach Norbert Meier to make unwanted substitutions, a lot of set piece opportunities and also, preventing him from playing with his general game plan before the match.

Second half, Niemeyer sent off and the onslaught

Borussia Dortmund started the second in superb fashion, slotting in a goal within a few minutes.  Pulisic’s incursion down the right, the ball fell to Guerreiro, whose shot was brilliantly saved by Esser but Adrian Ramos was on hand to poke home the rebound, vindicating Tuchel’s decision to start him up front.

Dortmund increased their advantage in the 54th minute through Pulisic. He tapped home as the ball was cleared into his path by sliding Jungwirth’s feet from a Dortmund attack.

Dortmund's US midfielder Christian Pulisic (C) celebrates with team mates during the German first division Bundesliga football match of Borussia Dortmund vs SV Darmstadt 98 in Dortmund, western Germany, on September 17, 2016. / AFP / PATRIK STOLLARZ / RESTRICTIONS: DURING MATCH TIME: DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE TO 15 PICTURES PER MATCH AND FORBID IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO. == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE == FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050         (Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)
Dortmund’s US midfielder Christian Pulisic (C) celebrates with team mates during the German first division Bundesliga football match of Borussia Dortmund vs SV Darmstadt 98 in Dortmund, western Germany, on September 17, 2016. / AFP / PATRIK STOLLARZ / RESTRICTIONS: DURING MATCH TIME: DFL RULES TO LIMIT THE ONLINE USAGE TO 15 PICTURES PER MATCH AND FORBID IMAGE SEQUENCES TO SIMULATE VIDEO. == RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE == FOR FURTHER QUERIES PLEASE CONTACT DFL DIRECTLY AT + 49 69 650050
(Photo credit should read PATRIK STOLLARZ/AFP/Getty Images)

A few minutes later, the inevitable happened, as illustrious Darmstadt midfielder Peter Niemeyer was sent off for a second yellow card. He was late as he tried to take out Ramos from a sliding tackle. The red card meant Darmstadt, needing to hold on the relentless Dortmund attack for another half an hour with just ten men.

Which they couldn’t!

Shortly after the sent off, Tuchel cleverly replaced Dembélé, Schmelzer and Guerreiro with Emre Mor, Shinji Kagawa and Sebastian Rode to add more thrust to the attack. The incursion of Rode, in particular, gave Dortmund an extra man in the buildup, resulting in more flexibility. And in the final phase of the game, the Dortmund onslaught began!

Gonzalo Castro scored Dortmund’s fourth and his second of the game, flicking in a delicious driven cross by Christian Pulisic, the Spanish-born German midfielder seems to be in fiery form early in the season, netting three goals in two games.

Minutes after, Sebastian Rode also got his name on the scoresheet with a similar goal, this time, from a cross by Gonzalo Castro. The fifth goal marked a total domination from Thomas Tuchel’s men before Emre Mor applied a composed finish to score on his debut and ending the rout at the same time.

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