Borussia Dortmund’s defensive status quo
Borussia Dortmund ranked fourth overall and fifth away from home for goals conceded in the Bundesliga last season. For a team that ended up losing the title on goal difference, total goals conceded and their nature does deserve to be questioned to an extent.
Rival teams have often resorted to the grade-A long aerial ball and counter-attack strategy against Borussia Dortmund. And unfortunately, Edin Terzic’s side often tend to fall prey to them. BVB did manage to build solidity and security in the second half of the season. But it’s still a work in progress.
How will Ramy Bensebaini fit in?
Ramy Bensebaini has the attributes to provide a good layer of security to the Borussia Dortmund back-line, highlighted by his 3.56 clearances per 90 and 2.47 aerial duels won per 90 minutes. His interceptions and blocks stats rank him ahead of 90% of the left-backs in the European leagues. This shows that he is a reliable defender and especially strong in the air.
Adding cherry to cake is Bensebaini’s offensive output. With an impressive npXG + xAG (non penalty expected goals + expected assisted goals) of 0.22 per 90, the 28 year old fits right into Borussia Dortmund’s system of quick counter-attacking football launched right from the defensive line. Whether he ends up becoming the highest assist provider like his predecessor is a different question, although that’s an unfair bar of assessment.
In comparison to Raphael Guerreiro, Bensebaini is a much more defensive minded left-back. While the former revelled in pressing higher up the pitch to convert turnovers into goalscoring chances, a trait that led Edin Terzic to promote him up the field, Bensebaini’s strength is in blocking passing lanes.
This is especially important because of the number of goals BVB tend to concede on the fast break. In addition to being particularly strong in the air, Bensebaini is also a pillar in clearances and someone who adds to the centre-back depth in the squad. These attributes will surely provide BVB with a lot more solidity in defensive transitions. Although positionally, Terzic might deploy him a bit higher up the pitch than what he is used to with his former clubs.