‘It absolutely stinks’ – Not even Haaland can save Dortmund’s disastrous title challenge

Haaland Sancho Reus Borussia Dortmund GFX

Chelsea moved quickly to change coaches mid-season. Roman Abramovich already had Frank Lampard’s replacement lined up when he sacked the club legend turned manager.

Earlier in the season,Tuchel’s ex-employers decided to move on from their own head coach, but unlike Chelsea, did not have an immediate successor waiting in the wings to take the reins.

Lucien Favre was sacked by Dortmund following a 5-1 defeat to newly-promoted Stuttgart in December , at the time the latest poor result in a series of setbacks for the second-biggest side in Germany.

Favre’s assist Edin Terzic was appointed as interim replacement until the end of the season, with Dortmund linked to a host of names, all of whom are under contract and will not move until the current campaign ends.

Whereas Tuchel brings a wealth of experience and a winning CV to Chelsea, Terzic is a former scout with no managerial experience who has been appointed as a band-aid over a wound too big for him to heal.

Tuchel finished second in his first season at Signal Iduna Park and won the club’s first trophy in five years, the DFB-Pokal, before leaving in 2017 asDortmund considered themselves challengers to Bayern Munich and had aims of winning the Bundesliga.

Two months into Terzic’s tenure, thoughts of a league title have disintegrated and now sporting director Michael Zorc speaks of much lower aims.

“Champions League qualification must be the priority above everything – for everyone,” Zorc told Bild am Sonntag after a humiliating 4-2 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach on Friday.

“We will now face a lot of criticism after three games without a win. We have to endure it and still work with all our means to achieve our goals for the season.”

The Gladbach defeat in the Borussen derby boreall the hallmarks of almost every Dortmund loss in recent years – an exciting attack and a dreadful defence.

Jadon Sancho twice assisted Erling Haaland in the first 30 minutes, but Dortmund let a 2-1 lead slip and ended up dropping to seventh in the Bundesliga.

All too often, similar results have happened to the team in black and yellow, causing Marco Reus to snap that he was tired of reporters asking about ‘Mentalitätsscheisse’ .

“I’m so p*ssed off with you guys. Don’t come at me with your mentality sh*t. Every week it’s the same crap,” Reus told Sky Germany after they let anotherlead slip against Eintracht Frankfurt in 2019.

Dortmund’s attack has been praised as one of the most exciting in Europe, especially as Sancho, Haaland and Giovanni Reyna are all aged 20 or younger.

However, too much pressure is put on the shoulders of these young players – and one even younger, as 16-year-old strikerYoussoufa Moukoko was sent on to try to salvage a result on Friday against Gladbach.

They have also been exposed recently by a major injury to Axel Witsel. Favre was usually able to rely on the all-action midfielder to contribute at both ends of the pitch, but none of Emre Can, Thomas Delaney or teenager Jude Bellingham are able to replicate what the Belgium internationaldoes on and off the ball.

Mahmoud Dahoud had started six games for Favre in 2020-21, winning five and drawing one, but Terzic has not even looked at him in midfield and the Germany international could even leave the club this month.

Another huge problem in 2020-21 has been right-back. For the previous two seasons, Achraf Hakimi was a revelation on loan from Real Madrid, which made the decision not to try to sign him for €40 million(£36m/$45m) even more strange.

Thomas Meunier was signed on a free transfer from Paris Saint-Germain and has lived up to the old adage: you get what you pay for. They paid nothing and have gotten much the same from the Belgian, who was dropped to the bench against Gladbach after repeated poor performances.

Despite the big call of dropping Meunier for the unproven Mateu Morey, Terzic has not shown any tactical flexibility since replacing Favre in the dugout.

He has stuck to the same4-2-3-1 approach despite a string of bad results, failing to even try the 3-4-2-1 system that sometimes produced improved performances in the Favre era.

There have also been doubts over goalkeeper Roman Burki for many seasons, as the Switzerland international can often produce highlight-reel saves but is equally capable of making howlers which cost his team.

With recruitment focused on signing young players like Haaland and Bellingham, there often seems to be a lack of experience and leadership on the pitch.

It is this which has caused Dortmund to often switch off and allow teams to come back at them, annoying fans and captain Reus who has had enough of the “mentality sh*t”.

A strong head coach in the dugout would help the team keep focus, but at the moment, Dortmund only have a stop-gap to keep things ticking over until they can approach someone like Gladbach’s Marco Rose,Eintracht Franfurt’s Adi Hutter or Red Bull Salzburg’s Jesse Marsch in the summer.

A better coach could also iron out the problems in defence which continue to haunt Dortmund and caused Reus to have another verbal meltdown after the Gladbach defeat.

‘It’s always the same mistakes that we make. It absolutely stinks,” he told ZDF .

Terzic echoed those sentiments in his own post-match interview, with Dortmund only having only kept one clean sheet since November after conceding just two goals in their first six games of the season.

“The effort we had to put in to score a goal was significantly higher than it was for Gladbach,”the caretaker coachtold DAZN .

“We’ve now conceded simple goals in the last three games. It’s a shame and bitterly disappointing when you play a good attacking game and then you can’t finish the job in defence.”


Source : goal.com