Tottenham Hotspur defeated Borussia Dortmund 2-1 at the Westfalenstadion to confirm top spot in Group H on Tuesday night. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s 31st minute goal put the hosts 1-0 up, but two second half goals by Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son gave the English side a deserved victory to heap further pressure on Peter Bosz.
Here are three talking points after another poor performance from the German club.
Dortmund deservedly dumped out of the Champions League
Group H was always going to be a tough ask but Dortmund’s Champions League campaign has been utterly dismal. With no wins in five games and a daunting trip to the Santiago Bernabeu still to come, it’s tough to find any positives for the 2013 finalists.
They were unlucky to come away from their opening game at Wembley with a 3-1 loss against Spurs, but a deserved 3-1 home defeat against Real Madrid exposed some serious flaws which have continued to be targeted by opposing teams. The real nail in Dortmund’s Champions League coffin however, were the two 1-1 draws against APOEL.
Simply inexcusable for a club of Dortmund’s stature and prestige, failing to claim six points from the Cyprus club was embarrassing and ended any slim chance they had of progressing. Adding to the humiliation was the ease in which Tottenham and Real Madrid have dispatched APOEL thus far, scoring 12 unanswered goals in three games with the Cypriot side still to visit Wembley.
Zagadou a bright spark
It is tough to find a positive in another poor Dortmund performance but Dan-Axel Zagadou acquitted himself well against one of the best in the business. Zagadou was thrown in at the deep end against Bayern Munich in early August, enduring a tough initiation in the Super Cup but has since gone from strength to strength.
Having only turned 18 in June, Zagadou was considered a long shot to get significant playing time this season but the multitude of injuries forced Bosz’ hand. His recent red card at Hannover played a significant role in the 4-2 defeat, but the youngster has undoubted quality and confidence which should ensure a long and prosperous career.
Given another tough assignment against Kane, Zagadou largely won the individual battle despite Kane’s equaliser and can only improve with increased playing time in high pressure situations.
Another loss piles the pressure on Bosz
There were rumours that Peter Bosz had two games to save his job, and there is now little doubt that a loss to arch rivals Schalke on Saturday will force Hans-Joachim Watzke to swing the axe. Bosz was a curious appointment who looked an inspired choice during Dortmund’s blistering early season form, but the wheels have fallen off in spectacular fashion.
Bosz has had to deal with significant injuries to many of his players including a large portion of his defence, but the criticism of his tactics is justified and must be a concern for the Dortmund hierarchy. Bosz sticks to his guns and will point to the early season form as justification, but recent results cannot continually be defended and Dortmund’s failures against Tottenham, Real Madrid, RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich show how inferior they are to top quality sides.
There were signs of improvement against Tottenham, but individual defensive errors and the fact they hardly looked like scoring in the second half does little to inspire confidence in their ability to turn things around. A big win against Schalke is certainly possible, but the damage might have already been done as Bosz rapidly approaches judgement day.
By Matthew Marshall.