Saturday, February 4, 2023

Analysis: How Sluggish Hamburg Were Punished By A Rampant Borussia Dortmund

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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 finally ended their Bundesliga drought after, breezing past bottom club Hamburg with a scoreline of 5:2. A first half hat-trick from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was added by another strike at the start of the second half, before Dembele’s fifth. Nico Muller scored the two consolation goals for HSV.


Both the teams started with an unusual three at the back formation. Cleber, Djourou and Spahic comprised the three centre-back chain with Brazilian Douglas Santos and Dennis Diekmeier slotting in as fullbacks. Gotoku Sakai was deployed alongside Gideon Jung in the double pivot midfield while Michael Gregoritsch and Nico Muller formed the wing positions behind the lone striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga

HAMBURG, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 05: Dembele celebrates scoring the fifth goal with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Dortmund during the Bundesliga match between Hamburger SV and Borussia Dortmund at Volksparkstadion on November 5, 2016 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)

For Dortmund, Tuchel opted for a 3-4-3 formation. Sokratis combined with Ginter and Bartra as the three centre backs. Lukasz Piszczek played out as a right back with Raphael Guerreiro being deployed as left wing back.

Sebastian Rode was given a start, as Tuchel rested some of the German Internationals such as Julian Weigl and Mario Götze. Rode played alongside Gonzalo Castro in the midfield double pivot. Christian Pulisic and Emre Mor were used in the wide positions. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was finally given a start after a speculative suspension by the club in midweek’s Champions League fixture.

The Game

Markus Gisdol’s side attempted to crowd the midfield in order to prevent the black and yellows getting spaces in the middle. In hindsight, it was a good decision, as Dortmund’s pleasure in midfield against Sporting, saw them winning easily enough. HSV midfielders Sakai and Jung’s persistence saw Dortmund struggle to navigate play from the middle. Castro dropped deep to pick the ball up but due to lack of attacking influence from the middle third, the former Leverkusen man’s hands got tangled. This caused Aubameyang to sometimes drop deep and pick up the ball.

castro auba-heatmap

The pics from Squawka suggests Castro’s lack of involvement in the final third and Aubameyang being forced to get deep. Meaning Gisdol was actually successful in terms of preventing Dortmund breaching their half space lines.

However, there were other problems which evolved for the former Hoffenheim coach. The left sided winger had to move infield to team up with the lone forward Pierre-Michel Lasogga to try and press the Dortmund’s defenders also the marauding runs of the right wing back Dennis Diekmeier caused Hamburg being open down the flanks. Dortmund were quick to see the opportunity and subsequently, Thomas Tuchel’s men began to breach through Hamburg using the wide areas.

Christian Pulisic was excellent throughout the game, successfully taking on players on his own, some neat and tidy passes and he also linked up well with Guerreiro, the fullback. The American teenager ended up completing the most take ons than any player on the field. On the right flank, Piszczek was hardly getting forward which restricted the space up for Emre Mor as he failed to advance up the field but still managed to put up seven crosses.

The pass map from @11tegen11 on twitter, clearly suggests Dortmund’s invasion from the flanks, especially the involvement of Raphael Guerreiro and Christian Pulisic.


Another reason for the Dinosaurs mishap were the terrible performances from the centre backs. It was all too easy for Dortmund to breach Hamburg. Pulisic and Guerreiro cleverly used the space opening up on the right-hand side and played a nice pass to free Pulisic, whose cutback found Mor and the rebound of his fluffed shot fell kindly to Auba.

The huge gap left by Hamburg on the far side
Guerreiro sees the chance to play the ball through thanks to some foolish movements from centre back Cleber
Cleber fooled!!

Emre Mor received the gift from Johan Djourou for the second goal and Cleber again made a mistake for the third goal misjudging the flight of the ball and letting Auba run behind him to score his hattrick. Had Cleber been more clever, Gisdol wish before subbing him off within the half and hour mark.


Dennis Diekmeier’s attacking movement leaving Hamburg open at the back and Cleber’s lack of cleverness killing the game within 30 mins. Pierre-Michel Lasogga was once again off colour, the feisty forward is yet to score a goal in the Bundesliga this season and his ever-present injury problems along with the lack of crosses have been the reason for his dismal performances.

HAMBURG, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 05: Pierre-Michel Lasogga of Hamburg looks dejected during the Bundesliga match between Hamburger SV and Borussia Dortmund at Volksparkstadion on November 5, 2016 in Hamburg, Germany. (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Indeed, Hamburg had completed 16 crosses against Dortmund with nine of them failing to reach the target due to lack of accuracy. While we could say, HSV could be a bit less evasive on the ball, the average positioning of the two wingers suggests the lack of craft from the wide positions.

We also have to give Dortmund the credit for making use of their chances, managing to score five goals in ten shots is indeed worth the praise albeit all of the shots came from inside the box with three of them being just a tap in.


The win sees Dortmund climb fifth in the table with 18 points as they close the gap to Bayern to six points now. Die Schwarzgelben will now be full of confidence.

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