Dire Dortmund head into winter break still searching for answers

By Hilton Yip Source:Global Times Published: 2014-12-22 22:58:02

As the German Bundesliga came to a close last weekend for its traditional midpoint winter break, things were business as usual for runaway leaders Bayern Munich. Bayern lead the rest of the league by 11 points already and seem set to win the Bundesliga again.

However at the opposite end of the table, there is a shock as Borussia Dortmund are second to last.

To say the club is undergoing a crisis would be understating it a bit.

This is the same Dortmund which finished second last season and have been Bayern's only real competition in the last five years.

It's been a dire season as Dortmund have already accumulated nine losses, two more than all of last season. Furthermore, their most recent loss was on Saturday to fellow bottom-dwelling club Werder Bremen. Strangely, Dortmund are doing well in the Champions League, having advanced to the knockout stage.

It's not easy to pinpoint how Dortmund have reached this point.

One significant factor is that they have lost their best players to Bayern Munich - Mario Goetze in 2013 and Robert Lewandowski in the summer.

However, manager Jurgen Klopp did bring in players like Italian striker Ciro Immobile, Colombian striker Adrian Ramos, and former star, midfielder Japanese Shinji Kagawa. Yet, do you notice a trend? They are all offensive players.

The defense seems to have been ­neglected and that has shown in their defeats as they've given up soft goals.

Against Bremen, they gave up a goal in the third minute, then later on continuously left space open at the back and allowed Bremen to score again.

In the loss to Frankfurt, a defensive mix-up saw a Dortmund defender under pressure head to his keeper outside the box only for it to be intercepted by a Frankfurt striker who duly put it away.

Another reason is injuries. Dortmund's best player Marco Reus has been mostly injured this season, as have Sven Bender and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

It could be that injuries, the loss of the most dynamic players plus defensive weaknesses have made it impossible to sustain the effectiveness of Klopp's high-pressing tactics. It might be time for Klopp to consider adapting and altering his plan. The one-month winter break gives him lots of time to do that.

The author is an editor with the Global Times. hiltonyip@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: Extra Time

blog comments powered by Disqus