Tactical Analysis Of How Borussia Dortmund Squeaked Out A Win Against Union Berlin

Struggling Borussia Dortmund needed penalties to see out second division Union Berlin in the DFB Pokal. Michael Parensen’s own goal just before the half-time gave Dortmund the upper hand but it was canceled out by Steven Skrzybski’s excellent effort ten minutes before time. After failing to score in extra time, both teams went into penalties. Dembele, Ginter, and Gotze all converted as Weidenfeller performed his heroics to deny Felix Kroos and Stephan Furstner, with Hosiner striking the woodwork as Dortmund survived a major scare.

Lineups

The injury crisis caused Thomas Tuchel to churn out a few players from the under-19 squad as young Danish Jacob Bruun-Larsen got his first start for the club starting in at right wing. Sokratis and Matthias Ginter partnered each other in a 4-5-1 formation with Piszczek and Passlack settling out as fullbacks.

Julian Weigl was given a rest ahead of the important clash against Schalke on the weekend. As a replacement, Nuri Sahin was handed a start in the center defensive midfield position where he was complemented by Mario Gotze and Gonzalo Castro. Emre Mor was coming after a two-game suspension after he shoved Sebastian Langkamp in the face, the Turkish international eager to impress. He started as a left winger while new man Larsen deployed on the right side. Aubameyang’s calf injury ruled him out of the clash as Adrian Ramos started instead of the Gabonese international.

Tuchel’s 4-5-1 was a very predictable formation as Nuri Sahin gently dropped in as a more defensive output whilst Mario Gotze and Gonzalo Castro in higher positions. Dortmund once again started their desperate attempt to break the lines of the defense in a series of ways. At times, they switched their play onto the other flank whilst on some occasions, they tried their luck in playing through Union’s defense. Sometimes, they were able to do it but the Union penalty area was way too congested for the likes of Adrian Ramos or Mario Gotze to have a clear shot on goal.

DORTMUND, GERMANY - OCTOBER 26: Nuri Sahin (L) of Dortmund and Simon Hedlund of Berlin battle for the ball during DFB Cup second round match between Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Union Berlin at Signal Iduna Park on October 26, 2016 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)

DORTMUND, GERMANY – OCTOBER 26: Nuri Sahin (L) of Dortmund and Simon Hedlund of Berlin battle for the ball during DFB Cup second round match between Borussia Dortmund and 1. FC Union Berlin at Signal Iduna Park on October 26, 2016 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)

The new feature of Dortmund’s play, however, was thanks to the installment of Jacob Bruun-Larsen. Right back Lukasz Piszczek and Larsen was seen interchanging positions between them, giving Dortmund some extra dimension on the right hand side and it was evident too as Thomas Tuchel’s side tried to approach Union defense from the right more often than they did from the left.

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Anas Ali

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.

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