Lack of rotation and failure to utilise squad depth: Borussia Dortmund's big issues under Edin Terzic

Borussia Dortmund head coach Edin Terzic
Borussia Dortmund head coach Edin Terzic / Leon Kuegeler/GettyImages
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Attacking midfield/Wingers

Borussia Dortmund’s attacking midfield and wing players read as Donyell Malen, Karim Adeyemi, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Samuel Bamba, Gio Reyna, Julian Brandt and Marco Reus. This group however has seen the BVB attack fall from 2.09 xG per 90 to 1.85 - an 11.5% drop.

While the loss of Raphael Guerreiro may have affected Borussia Dortmund’s creativity, young players like Adeyemi, Reyna and Jamie Bynoe-Gittens would be expected to improve to help cover a big part of the gap. Brandt has enjoyed an excellent rise, jumping to .7 npxG + xAG per 90. This demonstrates that he should have been able to cover the loss of some creativity. However, the team's overall attacking play has been inconsistent.

Attacking wingers under Terzic this season have been rotated almost at random. This is seen as Jamie Bynoe-Gittens played well against Hoffenheim only to be dropped for a while. And when he returned, he became a mainstay in the starting XI for three games a week. This has similarly been seen with Karim Adeyemi.

This has also led to Julian Brandt and Marco Reus playing together often, with the former starting out wide but coming very narrow. While Brandt may need to come narrow, this comes at the cost of width with Marius Wolf struggling, Ramy Bensabaini more defensive minded, and Julian Ryerson’s best attacking contributions coming from inverting into central areas.

This again leads to the question of rotation, with Brandt having played over 1500 minutes and Malen and Reus on around 1200 each across the league and Champions league. In particular, this usage of Marco Reus has tanked his effectiveness with just .22 xG+xAG across his last five league appearances. The nearly 35 year old attacker started the season in excellent form, but his overuse has led to a decline in efficiency.

This is not a criticism of Reus, who is still capable of producing excellent performances but has simply been overworked. This is the opposite of Karim Adeyemi, who has been excellent in bursts but has struggled in the league largely due to inconsistent minutes. Adeyemi’s 14 shot creating actions in the Champions League are double than those in the league in roughly the same amount of minutes but five less appearances.

By rotating Adeyemi for Reus, Borussia Dortmund could get more out of both players while the former's width could benefit every attacker by allowing Brandt to start in his natural position.