RB Leipzig 3-0 Borussia Dortmund: Key Talking Points

Borussia Dortmund players after the game against Leipzig (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)
Borussia Dortmund players after the game against Leipzig (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images) /
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Alexander Meyer (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images)
Alexander Meyer (Photo by RONNY HARTMANN/AFP via Getty Images) /

Gregor Kobel’s absence was felt strongly against Leipzig, underlying his importance for BVB

Looking back at Borussia Dortmund’s performance against Leipzig, it’s clear to say that defensively, especially out on the flanks, they were once again very suspect. Both Raphaël Guerreiro and Thomas Meunier have not covered themselves in glory over the course of this campaign from a defensive standpoint. That being said, even with the defensive lapses, the underwhelming performances of both fullbacks was exacerbated by the absence of a certain Swiss keeper that has often papered over the cracks at Dortmund; Gregor Kobel.

While its a very obvious statement to say that “Dortmund would have done better with Kobel in the net”, there are some nuances to explore here that really highlight just how important Kobel is, and why not having him on the pitch against stronger opponents like Leipzig puts the team at a significant disadvantage.

Kobel is by and far one of the most vocal players on the pitch for Dortmund when he’s in the starting XI. There is a commanding presence about him in his box that Dortmund severely lacked prior to his signing. No matter the back line at his disposal, Kobel has done an immense job in organizing them in a way that has help shield Dortmund’s net from conceding even more goals (because lets be honest, there’s been ample opportunities for this to be the case) than they have.

This commanding presence and organization is something that Alexander Meyer unfortunately lacks. The German keeper seems far less vocal than his Swiss counterpart and this can have an impact on how tenacious and aware the back line in front of him is. Kobel excels at communicating with his defense and setting them up in a way that benefits his style of play. The defensive players in front of him get used to his style of play, and then fall into specific habits on the pitch.

This is something that can be paralleled to Bayern last year when Manuel Neuer was injured and they were forced to deploy Sven Ulrich. Bayern’s defense continued to play as if they had Neuer in goal, which inevitably resulted in lapses and miscommunication. This is also Meyer’s second competitive game for the club, which also has an impact on the level of communication and how developed it is with said back line.