Borussia Dortmund show shades of deficiencies in win over Borussia Mönchengladbach

Jude Bellingham. (Photo by Mika Volkmann/Getty Images)
Jude Bellingham. (Photo by Mika Volkmann/Getty Images) /

Borussia Dortmund managed to beat Borussia Mönchengladbach 4-2 in the league over the weekend to maintain pressure on Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga title race, but the victory didn’t come without it’s own struggles.

With two match days left in the 2022/23 Bundesliga season, Borussia Dortmund’s possibility of winning the Meisterschale has entered a critical phase. The title race is not in their hands, with Bayern Munich leading them by one point. The club are in a position where their actions only amount for so much all things considered.

And yet, the club have an obligation to continue to maintain pressure on the Rekordmeister, as there’s still every chance that an opportunity for Dortmund to seize the moment and take the lead could present itself. Both Bayern and Dortmund have traded blows and swapped positions at the summit of the Bundesliga table this season, making the league one of the most entertaining in Europe this time around.

In beating Gladbach, Borussia Dortmund managed to maintain pressure and show that they are pushing to stop Bayern’s perennial hold on the Bundesliga title. Players such as Sébastian Haller, Jude Bellingham, Donyell Malen and Julian Brandt put on a show against Gladbach, with the first half performance firmly amongst the most dominant displays Dortmund have had all season long.

The issue with Dortmund’s clash against Gladbach came in the second half, where Die Schwarzgelben allowed their opponents back into the game. Goals from Ramy Bensebaini (penalty) and Lars Stindl gave Gladbach some hope, and in turn gave BVB the jitters, making them look far less confident in their winning position.

Julian Brandt was quick to note this during an interview after the final whistle, stating that:

"“In the second half, that annoyed me a little bit, if I’m honest. We let it drift extremely, didn’t play seriously in the box anymore, not in front of goal anyway.”And then you got a bit of a Stuttgart vibe, 4:1, 4:2, then all of a sudden it’s on fire and Gregor still holds one very well. That’s what I’m taking away from this game, which is not cool.”"

Brandt hits the nail right on the head in his assessment. While Borussia Dortmund can be happy with the win, the general drop in intensity and the overall sloppiness of the second half are examples of why Dortmund aren’t in the driver’s seat today. Mid or end-game collapses to teams like Werder Bremen and Stuttgart among others have cost BVB the opportunity to be leading the Bundesliga quite comfortably, and even already celebrating having clinched it.

There is a very bitter taste that comes along with the memory of the aforementioned games; a taste that is only intensified every single time Dortmund take their foot off of the gas in this final phase of the season. For Dortmund to win their first title in 12 years they have to rely on outside results as well as their own ability to put themselves in a position to capitalize on those results.

Even if the title ends up beyond their reach this year, the team should at least be using this as an exercise in consistency and perseverance; consistency of result and perseverance to run until the final whistle, and to fight and take every opponent as seriously as the last. In doing so they will hopefully develop the ability to endure a drawn out title charge and learn from their mistakes rather than once again allowing themselves to fall back into the same tendencies that have robbed the club of a Bundesliga title for, at this point, an entire decade.

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Bayern’s grip on this title race is still slippery, which means if Borussia Dortmund are able to maintain their focus, that title drought might just come to an end at the end of May. For this to be more than just a pipe dream, the last two games must be played to perfection on Dortmund’s end. The time for lackadaisical football is gone, and no matter what the outside results may be, playing with full concentration and commitment is the club’s only respectable option.