This Dortmund facet do not operate with out Jadon Sancho
The Bundesliga campaign this weekend was of enormous importance for the two largest German clubs – Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund – for very different reasons.
For Bayern it was an opportunity to draw a line as part of a highly competitive, tricky league campaign that undoubtedly looked like it had come to an end when the final whistle sounded in the Red Bull Arena and was greeted by a real boost of emotion Hansi Flick’s Page.
In contrast, the full-time experience in the Westfalenstadion was accompanied by a now common sight of Dortmund players who looked at the sky in disbelief and held their hands tightly on their hips. After an even game, Eintracht Frankfurt almost confirmed its place in the Champions League next season at Dortmund’s expense with a late goal from Andre Silva.
One team had proven its quality and taken a significant step towards its goal. Another stumbled on, looking just as lost as ever.
Dortmund is useless without Sancho
Dortmund was absolutely useless on Saturday. Whether it was Nico Schulz’s impressively accurate own goal, another quiet performance by Marco Reus or Erling Haaland, who stormed angrily across the field, Edin Terzic’s team looked like a team that had no idea what they were doing.
Much of this will no doubt be thanks to the man on the sidelines. Dortmund have had some impressive results in isolation under Terzic, but the lack of cohesion among players or the sense of shared thinking suggests that the interim head coach has either not reached these players or is simply not trying.
It’s not all Terzic’s fault, however. A big problem with this team, which was seen against Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, is that they just can’t compete if Jadon Sancho is either out of the squad or doesn’t drag them to victory.
Although the former Manchester City youth player has had its ups and downs this season, Sancho has scored six goals and eleven assists in just 21 league games. It is crucial that these goals and assists have been scored in 12 games. And in these games Dortmund averaged an impressive 2.4 points per game. In the 15 games in which Sancho either did not play or did not score a goal or provide a template, the Dortmund average of the points per game fell to 0.9.
Of the 21 goals that Haaland has scored in the Bundesliga this season, no fewer than six come directly from a pass, a cross or a pass from Sancho. No other Dortmund resident has this chemistry with the club’s talisman or seems to be able to turn a game upside down.
The suggestion that Dortmund tend to win more games with Sancho sticking the ball in the back of the net isn’t exactly a groundbreaking discovery, but it should be noted that the entire team just doesn’t compensate for it.
While the whole world seems fixated on where Haaland could go next season, it might be worth considering how much this team would continue to collapse if Sancho left.
Why Bayern Munich always wins
Bayern Munich is really unstoppable, right? You can throw an improved Bayer Leverkusen team at them and they will bring a last minute winner, you can throw three unexpected goals from Arminia Bielefeld at them and they will still take a point and you can force them to play for RB Leipzig to travel a titleholder without their key striker and they will wrestle all three points against the young pretender in a drab but effective performance.
In fact, the “top game” on Saturday was a Bundesliga title winner in every respect, and Hansi Flick’s team took the decisive victory by doing exactly what they did so well: never giving up.
In addition to the result on Saturday and the two stubborn performances mentioned above, Bayern also came from behind to beat Dortmund 3-2, to win against Julian Nagelsmann’s team 3: 3 from behind, and 2-1 from behind against Wolfsburg to win and again, coming from behind to beat Dortmund 4-2. All in one league campaign.
If we look at how many points Bayern have reclaimed by losing positions in the league this season, we can see that they have won an incredible 22 out of 13 games they fell behind. Frankfurt – who may be the team of the season – have only won 17 points in 14 games they have lagged in, and after that there really is no comparison.
In fact, Bayern have only lost three of the 13 Bundesliga games they have left behind this season. In comparison, Dortmund lost 10 of the 16 it left behind over the same period.
Here, of course, we would say that this is the clear “achievement of champions” or something stupid, but to a certain extent it is clearly the case. Bayern will win this Bundesliga because they have more money and better players than everyone else, but they also fought extremely hard for it.
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