Gregor Kobel praises Borussia Dortmund’s performance against PSV Eindhoven

Borussia Dortmund’s Gregor Kobel spoke out on the team’s performance after their 2-0 win over PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League
Borussia Dortmund v PSV - UEFA Champions League
Borussia Dortmund v PSV - UEFA Champions League / Soccrates Images/GettyImages

Borussia Dortmund claimed an all important victory against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League this week that seals their place in the quarterfinals of the competition. There were quite a few standout performances, but the safe hands of Gregor Kobel were the bulwark that kept Dortmund in the game for most of the match.

Throughout the game, Kobel once again proved to be Dortmund’s most important player, parrying shots that could have taken the game into extra time were it not for the Swiss shot stopper's keen sense of spatial awareness and commanding presence in the box. After the game, Kobel praised his team, stating that while he was happy that the team qualified for the next round, they have to maintain focus on the upcoming games in the Bundesliga as well:

"I am very happy that we have qualified and moved into the next round. I'm really looking forward to the task that's coming now. But we also have many important games in the Bundesliga. Every game counts. We don't have time to breathe."

Gregor Kobel

Kobel highlighted the first 30 minutes of play as Dortmund’s strongest phase in the game, with Jadon Sancho taking the lead in the opening minutes as PSV caved under the pressure Dortmund created:

"We were strong in the first 30 minutes, in which we hardly let her breathe and played out chance for chance. We have deservedly taken the lead and have defended for a relatively long time and relatively well. Of course, the opponent has also come to chances here and there. If we want, we can also defend well. We kept the clean sheet."

Gregor Kobel

A clean sheet will certainly be something for Kobel to be excited about, but his words still highlight a rampant problem Dortmund is still facing - chronic inconsistency. While the first 30 minutes were certainly a strong showing from Die Schwarzgelben, they did cede control of the game to PSV later in the first half and then throughout large swaths of the second half. Dortmund captain Emre Can highlighted this post game as well, stating that Dortmund once again weren’t “courageous enough”:

"It was a good game from us, especially in the first half, especially in the first half hour. In the second half, we should have tried to be more courageous, to demand the ball, to move well. We didn't do that enough."

Emre Can

The defending and ability to control the ball was very much sub par at times, which led to some dangerous opportunities for PSV; opportunities Dortmund were lucky that their Dutch opponents didn’t capitalize on. The massive miss from Luuk de Jong in the dying embers of the game was a quintessential example of this, as he was played through at point blank range just before sending a shot into the stands. A more lethal opponent would have either punished Dortmund in this instance or required more heroics from Kobel. While it's great to have a keeper who can make unbelievable saves, there's really no point in allowing him to be under pressure due to unnecessary sequences of play such as this one.  

There were also numerous moments where Dortmund failed to play the ball out of their own penalty area properly, which led to chances that, had it not been for Kobel, could have turned the tide in PSV’s favor. The Swiss international doesn’t give himself enough credit for the miraculous work he’s doing in Dortmund’s net. 

Next. Three takeaways from Borussia Dortmund's 2-0 win over PSV Eindhoven. Three takeaways from Borussia Dortmund's 2-0 win over PSV Eindhoven. dark

What matters at the end of the day are the three points and Dortmund’s progression to the quarterfinals, but the performance as a whole is still indicative of issues that need refinement not just for the sake of Dortmund’s Champions League run, but also to maintain their place in the top four in the Bundesliga. With such an important stretch of games to come, the focus will now be on making sure they can garner as many points as possible to seal a place in next years iteration of European competition.