Borussia Dortmund failed to do their homework against the opposition
FC Köln were very compact as they usually would be, playing a 4-4-2 formation with a low block and on paper posing as an inferior team away from home. They played this to a tee by half-time, with average positions of the match showing that Borussia Dortmund were struggling to get out wide and their front three were operating in the middle of the pitch.
The system that Edin Terzic deploys is heavily reliant on the full-backs to provide much of the creativity on the flanks. For this reason, Julian Ryerson and Ramy Bensebaini were furthest up the pitch, yet were struggling for effectiveness due to a lack of support.
From a progressive perspective, the midfield was lacking cohesion in particular, the attack was being starved and the defence was lethargic in pumping the ball out from the back. BVB were often susceptible to Köln’s counter-attack, and became very predictable for the opposition to read them.
From these negatives, the long-term concern for Borussia Dortmund is that Terzic often does not seem to have a Plan B for certain match scenarios.
For example, Emre Can put in a forgettable performance in defensive midfield. Terzic’s solution after subbing the Turkish man off was to play Marcel Sabitzer – a player who was struggling to keep possession for most of the match – in that position instead.
Another example is when Sébastien Haller had zero service in the match. Although the striker was subbed off after 59 minutes, the team only managed to have 2 shots on target the entire game. When the team is not operating in sync, Terzic is failing to find a way to bring Haller into his system. As a long-term concern, this will predictably often lead the frontman to become anonymous in the bigger games, especially where Dortmund will not have most of the possession or face similar teams with a low block.
The Borussia Dortmund will know that he must do better within in-game situations to get his side out of these holes as the season progresses. On this occasion, Borussia Dortmund got away. But tougher tests are set to follow, especially away from home.