“We must be ready to play result orientated football” said Jürgen Klopp before the game.
And result orientated football it was indeed. ‘Intense’ was the most used word to describe the scoreless tie. It wasn’t utterly dull and boring, but it wan’t keeping people on the edge of their seats either.
It’s a point gained rather than two points lost against a strong Leverkusen outfit – or at least that’s what BVB fans tell themselves to feel better about the result. If Neverkusen now goes on a horrible (Leverkusen typical) Rückrunden-slump, this point won’t be worth as much as it currently seems. Either way it was a fair result for both sides.
Usually, when two pressing-machines face each other, chaos is the result. Out of that chaos beauty can arise – because where pressing and transmission play is, there is space. Yet, both teams had a different idea. Play around the opponent’s pressing by just lumping it over the midfield and go for second balls.
It explains why Borussia Dortmund had the lowest passing success rate since these rates are measured. 46% – and since the team in black and yellow managed to string a few successive passes together, they also managed to play one-touch-give-away football, which is also quite the achievement. It might also have to do with all the uncontrolled punts to avoid the risk of losing the ball in danger zones.
I’m all for it, after a lot of shoddy defending in the first of the season, it’s the best plan to not invite the opposition for once. Since Leverkusen coach Roger Schmidt had a similar approach in mind, this game looked like a crossover of Pong and Lemmings at stages.
Matthias Ginter did will in the middle of this scrap. The 10 million euro signing has received a lot of criticism on the yellow wall pod, but in game one after a proper preseason, he looked a dominant tackler in defensive midfield next to Nuri Sahin. 80% tackling success and 4 interceptions is looking good to his name. He certainly has made his contribution to Dortmund’s clean sheet of the Bundesliga season.
Also, have you seen Sokratis charging forward as right back? My, oh my, that was scary – for Leverkusen. It’s incredible how the Greek tank is so agile on his feet… or maybe the opponents get out of the way for the sake of self-preservation.
Either way, the defense stood their ground and that’s the most important fact about the first game. Now if the offense finds a bit more clarity, nobody will have to worry about Borussia Dortmund. One can already look forward to Wednesday, the first home match of 2015. A win against FC Augsburg and things will look a lot better already.
Even Jürgen Klopp was totally fine with this performance: “I’m happy. I can’t talk about relegation battle and expect champagne-football. Other teams can play nice football, but we have to collect points.”
Like VfL Wolfsburg for example, who played some really nice football on Friday night. Stunning the mighty FC Bayern with a 4-1 shellacking was a scary sight to behold. It’s a pity, that Jose Mourinho was too petty after not getting Robert Lewandowski and refused to sell Kevin de Bruyne to Borussia Dortmund out of pure spite in the summer transfer window of 2013.