A 0-0 against the 15th placed team of the Bundesliga is a always going to be an unsatisfactory result for Borussia Dortmund, especially when the other team is Hamburger Sport Verein and get rewarded for foul and unfair play – I’m not using the word football for a reason.
Borussia Dortmund didn’t play their best match of the season. They hadn’t had much inspiration against a Hamburg side, that played with the attitude as a 3. Liga cup side (just without cynical glaring errors). Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ciro Immobile were at the end of Dortmund’s only two memorable chances, scrambling both in their own way.
BVB were the dominant side with 66% possession, but they couldn’t make that count. HSV sat up deep in their own territory and congested the middle to restrain Borussia Dortmund to combine through the middle. Every Dortmund fan knows, that Dortmund’s wing play is as fruit bearing as a sand shop in the desert.
The heat maps show nicely, how effective HSV were to keep Dortmund away from the areas, where Dortmund usually thrive in. Instead, BVB were forced to play around Hamburg’s clogged up midfield and ended up whipping in harmless crosses from the wings.
In order to avoid to get caught out by Dortmund’s Gegenpressing, Hamburg decided that lumping out the ball away, instead of risking loss of possession, that could have resulted in counter attacks for Dortmund.
51 clearances. FIFTY-ONE! That for once explains Hamburg’s sub par pass completion rate of 47% – A season record for Hamburg they won’t be too proud of. But the end justifies the means, I guess.
It was enough to keep the offense at bay, that scored at least thrice in the last four Bundesliga matches. There is not much to argue with Hamburg’s tactics, who were trying to hold on to the point – relying on a sucker punch upfront.
But there is a lot to argue with their overly physical approach. Of course, football is a contact sport, but that was way too much from Hamburg. When Valon Behrami smashed his elbow into Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s face, referee Peter Gagelmann should have reached into his back pocket, but instead he only gave the foul. No doubt, the match would have been much easier for Dortmund against 10 HSVer, especially without a defensive midfielder that kicks everyone to pieces.
Five yellow bookings for Hamburg players was simply not enough. Nicolai Müller, Dennis Diekmeier Too many harsh and cynical fouls – and Rafael van der Vaart, the impudent little bugger, topped it all in the end by first shoving Subotic into Weidenfeller and then throwing himself to the ground as Subotic bumped into him with his chest.
Ugly scenes in an ugly game of football. Borussia Dortmund lost two points, rather than gaining two. Surely, they are out of the relegation battle – other teams in the league are simply weaker. It would have been nice to see this team chasing after the fourth spot until the very end, but for that to happen they’d needed a win against Hamburg. We can now all be relieved that no Dortmund player got injured and hope HSV will find more opponents like Bayer Leverkusen, where they can kick each other to pieces, for all I care.
Hopefully Nuri Sahin returns to bring back a bit more fluidity against FC Köln, who will set up similarly defensively as Hamburg.