Thursday night treated us to the biggest game of the mid-week European fixtures as the top team in England travelled to the second-best team in Germany in what had the potential to be an excellent Europa League match-up. Tuchel elected to field a near-full strength side whilst Pochettino, who seemingly values his chances at a Premier League title more than the value of the Europa League, opted to start with a rather depleted line-up.
Dortmund made a somewhat lacklustre performance after Casillas’ first own-goal of his career virtually ensured Dortmund’s qualification. Tuchel’s side started the game poorly but managed to score the only goal of the game after Casillas turned an offside Aubameyang shot into his own net, and from that point onward lacked intensity as the side aimed to see the game through with minimal exertion.
FC Porto didn’t even try to intimidate Borussia Dortmund, when both teams met on Thursday evening. A 2-0 win gives BVB a great going-in position for the second match next week at the Estádio do Dragão.
As FC Porto released a statement on January 8, 2016, announcing that they were relieving Julen Lopetegui of his duties, it took them only a few words to make a bad season even worse.
After a recent loss to Hamburg, Tuchel’s Borussia Dortmund again fell short this time in a Europa League clash away in Russia to Krasnodar. Despite having multiple chances and hitting the woodwork on three occasions, the German side ultimately couldn’t reply to their opposition’s early goal which came from a penalty in the first minute.
As Tuchel looked to rest a few of the key players in the Dortmund squad, he made an interesting and ultimately ineffective adaption of their possession game which led to a weak first half showing.
After the absurdity that was Dortmund’s first leg against the Norweigan Odd BK, Tuchel’s side had a more straight-forward 90 minutes in the return fixture.
Following an eventful first half one would’ve been forgiven for thinking that we were still in the 2014/2015 season.
Especially whilst Schurrle was on the pitch, rotations between the ‘3’ of Wolfsburg’s 4-2-3-1 were common. The most frequent rotation in this aspect was between Kevin De Bruyne and Andre Schurrle which happened commonly when the Wolves had possession.
Villarreal and Red Bull Salzburg are two of the few European teams that are leading the resurgence of the 4-4-2 after the formation became very rarely used in top-level teams in the late 2000’s/early 2010’s.