Friday, 20.07.2018

Julian Weigl: Dortmund’s most important player

It is rare to see a team lose its three most crucial players all within the same transfer window. Yet over the course of 2016’s off-season, Borussia Dortmund have surrendered Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gündogan and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to Bayern and Premier League. Despite such big losses, Tuchel and the management have replaced well and the squad is looking promising for the coming season. Reinforced by the signing of numerous young players alongside Schürrle and the return of Götze, Dortmund have a squad with great potential with the next few seasons in mind. However, their most important player may have already been at the club.

Dortmund show struggles despite win over Mainz

Dortmund started the new Bundesliga campaign in less spectacular manner than that of the season just gone. They showed particular struggles in possession as they adjust to life without Hummels, Gündogan and Mkhitaryan. Although Tuchel’s men were able to overcome Mainz, it wasn’t the most comfortable of performances against what was an effective defensive strategy from the away team.

Borussia M’Gladbach – Bayer Leverkusen 2:1

Two of the major contenders for the Champions League slots in the Bundesliga met at Borussia-Park on Saturday afternoon. Leverkusen secured 3rd spot with their 6 game winning streak but were without the excellent Julian Brandt who had scored in 5 of those games, Kampl and Bellarabi two other big factors in their excellent form. These absences presented Gladbach an opportunity knowing that a win would put them in 4th position with one matchday to go. What followed was a highly intriguing encounter where both sides showed why they are amongst the upper echelon of the Bundesliga.

Team Analysis: Hertha Berlin

Whilst Bayern Munich lead a 2-team group ahead of Borussia Dortmund at the top of the Bundesliga, Hertha Berlin have quietly been making strong performances and find themselves in 3rd place, holding a 4-point advantage over 4th-placed Schalke. The side from the capital have developed a strong team despite finishing 15th last year – just one place above the relegation play-off position. Throughout this season however, we have seen a significant turnaround in performance under coach Pál Dárdai. In this article, I’ll be aiming to take a closer look at what has seen them hold such a strong position in the table.

Borussia Dortmund – Bayern Munich 0:0

After Bayern recorded their 2nd loss of the season to the hands of Mainz, their clash against Borussia Dortmund had some added interest as a Dortmund win would see the Bavarian lead cut to just 2 points. Tuchel took inspiration from his former club’s win and opted for a 5-chain in defence which a number of similarities between the two systems.

Bayern Munich – Mainz 1:2

Martin Schmidt’s Mainz side continued their tradition of producing excellent results against the Bavarian giants and left the Allianz with a 2-1 win in this mid-week clash. They came into the game on brilliant form with Schmidt leading his side to now 5th place with a system centred around the excellence of Yunus Malli. 

Borussia Dortmund – Hoffenheim 3:1

After reaching the last 16 of the Europa League, Borussia Dortmund played host to 2nd-bottom Hoffenheim idho have recently gone under the leadership of the youngest head coach in Bundesliga history – 28-year-old Julian Nagelsmann. The away team looked far better than their league position suggested and until the red card (as well as during periods at 10 men) were more than a match for Dortmund. Tuchel’s side again showed some staleness in their game though his mid-game adaptions as well as the Hoffenheim red card brought about a late comeback for the 2nd placed team.