In an expectedly one-sided affair Borussia Dortmund beat FC Ingolstadt 0:4. Even after playing Odds BK only 3 days earlier BVB played very dominantly over almost the entire game.
Dortmund played in their usual 4-1-4-1/4-2-3-1 hybrid with Roman Bürki in goal. Neven Subotic had his first game after some injury problems next to Mats Hummels in central defense. Marcel Schmelzer and Matthias Ginter played as full backs, the latter played the first time as right-back in his Bundesliga career. In front of the back four Julian Weigl rotated back into the team for Sven Bender and was accompanied by Ilkay Gündogan to his right and Shinji Kagawa to the left. The front trio consisted of Borussia’s “big 3” goal-scoring wise this season: Marco Reus on the right, Henrikh Mkhitaryan on the left, and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang upfront.
Ingolstadt played their preferred 4-3-3 system with a surprising switch in goal where new signing Orjan Haaskjold Nyland got his first Bundesliga minutes instead of Ramazan Ozcan. In central defense Romain Bregerie rotated in for Marvin Matip. The rest of the team was the same that beat Mainz 0:1 on the first matchday.
Dortmund’s plan in possession seemed obvious: advance the ball past Ingolstadt’s first pressing line through local combination play in the middle by Bürki (at least at times), the centre-backs, Weigl, and Gündogan. Gündogan often received the ball in the right half space and tried to open the play diagonally to the left where Mkhitaryan, Schmelzer, and Kagawa were overloading the wing and half-space. From the left wing they either broke through, which let to many chances in the first half, or waited for Ingolstadt to shift to their side and then quickly shift the ball to the right into space, which lead to the 1-0 by Ginter.
But in the beginning Dortmund had some trouble to find their rhythm against Ingolstadt’s man-oriented pressing and played a bit too hectically which played into Ingolstadt’s cards. Weigl was often closely marked by Pascal Groß so he wasn’t able to turn around and couldn’t orchestrate the game as freely as he did against Gladbach. It was the same for Hummels who had Hinterseer running at him all game and Gündogan who was closely followed by Morales.
After a while Dortmund settled down and became more secure and patient in possession. Ingolstadt’s man-oriented defending let to them giving up their compactness in midfield, Roger often had to defend acres of space against Shinji Kagawa and often one of the inverse playing wingers, because Morales and Groß followed Gündogan and Weigl into Dortmund’s half. Man-oriented defending is always difficult, because the defender can only react to what the offensive player does. Especially against individually great players, like the ones from BVB, that’s a hard thing to do.
From the 15th minute on BVB were able to get past Ingolstadt’s pressing very regularly and overload the left wing or break through the right and middle with some quick diagonal passes. While Tuchel’s men were able to create multiple scoring opportunities, the problem of the bad “last ball” (Tuchel) remained, so the first half ended with 9 to 1 shots in favor of Dortmund but 0-0 goals.
Defensively BVB were able to keep Ingolstadt to 45% pass completion and without any real chance of scoring in the first half. Ingolstadt often tried their luck with long balls, often towards Dortmund’s right defensive side, and then tried press for the second ball, but the tall Subotic, Hummels, and Ginter did a very solid job defending those.
After the break Dortmund had to endure some pressure from Ingolstadt, because they lost some 50/50 duels and weren’t able to make up for it in time. One of Ingolstadt’s two shots on target came during that time period, but Dortmund were able to score the decisive first goal exactly in Ingolstadt’s best period of the game.
Right before the goal, in the 55th minute, Julian Weigl showed why he seems to be a great signing for Borussia Dortmund. The youngster first shifted the ball to the right, then won it back and secured it after it was lost, and played a great pass to Reus, which eventually resulted in a throw-in for Dortmund. Ingolstadt were shifted pretty far to their right, because of the Dortmund throw-in. After some quick combination play between Aubameyang and Schmelzer on the left, Weigl noticed how much space there was on his right side and played a slicing diagonal pass to Mkhitaryan, who was able to turn right away and play it through to Ginter, who turned Engel with a nifty move and calmly slotted the ball home with his left foot. “Like Dani Alves”, as Marco Reus said jokingly after the game.
The interesting and characteristic thing about this goal is the accuracy and speed of passing which makes it possible. Weigl has to play a diagonal ball directly onto Mkhitaryan’s left foot, so he can turn to his left and open up the play towards Ginter. Mkhitaryan then has to play the ball close enough to the goal so it’s still inside the danger zone, but can’t play it too closely to the defender so it won’t be cleared away. All passes, Ginter’s move, and the finish were executed with perfect precision and in high speed, making the goal possible.
Afterwards Dortmund were able to control the game even more and score three more goals. They played like a top team again.
When Dortmund are on a roll it’s very tough to stop them and few teams are better than them at the moment at getting between the lines of the defending team. If none of the key-players pick up a long-term injury, things look pretty bright for Dortmund’s season.