Aaaand were back in the relegation zone. Courtesy of Julian Schieber, who for once showed what he was signed for in 2012. A simply horrific match that Hertha BSC deserved to win 1-0 for simply being cleverer. On top of that Henrikh Mkhitaryan suffered a muscle tear in his right thigh, which will keep him out for six weeks, meaning he will have no chance to get some vital time on the training ground in La Manga to prepare for 2015, making an improvement after his injury unlikely.
It’s frustrating, to say the least. Maybe it’s wrong to expect a similar performance against Berlin as Borussia Dortmund showed against Hoffenheim, as Berlin are at least capable of collective and organized defending.
The first half can be described as Schlafwagenfußball (sleeping-car football), a term that was floating around when Louis Van Gaal coached FC Bayern. It is a synonym for boring passes around midfield, lacking the greed or direct approach to create chances.
It’s hard to grasp how this team can show so little determination in the current situation. Yes, Hertha BSC defended well and in numbers, but still there is enough quality in this team to produce more than two field goals, or is there? And if that wasn’t enough, Neven Subotic played the 1909th suicide-pass this season. It was easy to see what Hertha’s game plan was and it was also not hard to spot the on-charging midfielders to any Dortmund-pass receiver.
Julian Schieber scoring a classy goal, making Mats Hummels and Sebastian Kehl look like slalom poles isn’t even the worst thing about the silly goal Dortmund conceded on Saturday. But it was the pass that led to it. Jakub Blaszczykowski might have had a chance if anybody warned him and he might have passed it backwards first time – which, by the way might have been a good measure to stretch the Hertha midfield and create space for the next pass, but hey. The lack of anticipation is just utterly frustrating and hopefully Sokratis Papastathopoulos will replace Subotic quickly and avoid these kinds of passes, as they are quite frankly killing us.
Now let’s turn our attention to another HUGE issue. Julian Schieber has scored more goals (5) this season than any Borussia Dortmund player – and he only needed 9 games to do that. Again, Dortmund had 18:5 shots, and 4:3 legit scoring opportunities. Ciro Immobile was supposed to be ‘prolific’ when he arrived, but Jos Luhukay pointed it out correctly “It was harder to miss the header Immobile had at the end of the game.” and that says it all really.
Yes, Borussia Dortmund lost the Bundesliga top scorer, but they had more than two years to prepare for exactly that situation. Currently it’s easy to say they failed. Their chance conversion rate dropped from 19.3% to 9.3%, if Transfermarkt.de is to believed, although they only count shots on target, it’s nonetheless a 10% drop-off.
Now Henrikh Mkhitaryan is out with a muscle tear for the winter break. The great hope, that he will finally get some generous time on the training ground with the team is out of the window. Maybe Borussia Dortmund should look out for another play maker, as just relying on Shinji Kagawa to be back to old form is maybe too optimistic. It’s a shame that Jonas Hofmann can’t just return and help out. Kagawa and Mkhitaryan both haven’t picked up an assist yet. Even Kevin Großkreutz, who isn’t even in the squad because of his awful form managed to assist two goals.
It’s astonishing how Borussia Dortmund fans react after yet another miserable performance. Again at least 15.000 followed their team to Berlin and turned this into a home match. Maybe the marketing claim is true with ‘Echte Liebe’.