FEATURE | Borussia Dortmund must fix their defence if they want to lift the Bundesliga title

“We concede goals too easily,” said new Borussia Dortmund signing Emre Can after Saturday’s 4-3 defeat at Bayer Leverkusen. “I’ve only been here for a week but this team, which has enormous potential, has to learn one thing: to put it crudely, we have to play dirty sometimes and commit fouls if we have to.” For all BVB’s attacking threat going forward, it’s their defence that’s once again letting them down in their quest for the Bundesliga title.

Since the turn of the year, Borussia Dortmund have conceded 10 goals in five games in all competitions, which includes a 3-2 defeat in the DFB Pokal against Werder Bremen. But whilst 2020 has so far being a mixed bag for Dortmund, they are only four points behind Bayern Munich in first place which has seen their odds shortened to +450.

But if Borussia Dortmund are to stand any chance of winning the Bundesliga this season, they must sort out their defence. For their trip to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, Lucien Favre switched from his 3-4-3 formation to a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 which would accompany Emre Can in central midfield alongside Belgian Axel Witsel, with Julian Brandt also playing in a favoured central role. Jadon Sancho and Achraf Hakimi on the flanks and January signing Erling Braut Haaland leading the attack.

Die Schwarzgelben certainly have no problem finding the net, and in particular Erling Braut Haaland, who has scored seven Bundesliga goals in four games, averaging a goal every 32 minutes whilst the Norway international also netted against Werder Bremen in the Pokal. But as the saying goes, it’s all well and good scoring but if you can’t defend, you’re not going to win a championship.

Similarly, to last season, Borussia Dortmund dominated the Bundesliga for the opening half of the season until the Rückrunde, when they fell off the pace, allowing Bayern Munich to clinch a record consecutive seventh Bundesliga title. Dortmund’s collapse this season has also allowed Hansi Flick’s side back get back into contention for the Bundesliga title.

“They fell apart in the second half of last season to gift the title to Bayern, and this year when they’re vulnerable by their standards, Dortmund aren’t taking advantage. They can’t defend, which is very galling and difficult for the bosses to take,” said Raphael Honigstein, via thetotallyfootballshow.

With the squad that Lucien Favre has at his disposal at Borussia Dortmund, they ought to be doing better than they are. And if BVB fall short once again, this could well be the end for the 62-year-old Swiss tactician at Borussia Dortmund.

Some state that the only reason Favre hasn’t been dismissed yet is because of lack of options for a replacement, although failure to improve in performances and results and Borussia Dortmund bosses may be forced to act before the summer.

Borussia Dortmund’s performance in Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday evening was peak BVB. They took the lead on two occasions but were unable to collect three points. A lapse in concentration and poor defending cost Favre with BVB making the same mistakes over and over. It’s something Favre needs to fix, and with his job on the line, he needs to do it sooner rather than later.

By Daniel Pinder.

Get Football+

More European Football News