In the end, those responsible for Dortmund commented on the 3-0 win in Darmstadt in an obvious way: “It was important to be present in January,” said Sebastian Kehl, “we know that we need victories in order to achieve our goals to achieve, especially in the league.” Dortmund’s sports director did not accept objections to his assessment that the victory was “deserved even at the highest level”. At most, in the first quarter of an hour there was “not enough control of the ball”.
Meanwhile, coach Edin Terzic increased the score to “20 minutes, which we weren’t happy with”. However, most of the 18,000 spectators probably saw it differently. Finally, Dortmund, who appeared rather lackluster but at least more dominant in the second half, were shockingly passive and pretty uninspired for the entire first 45 minutes.
A lot had happened over the winter – at least in terms of personnel. Not only that, in addition to Terzic, two deserving ex-professionals, Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender, sat in the coaching bench for the first time as seconds. Since Mats Hummels was out for a short time due to an infection, winter signing Ian Maatsen was also allowed to start as a left-back in the back four – in contrast to the returnee Jadon Sancho, who came on as a substitute in the second half and immediately set up Marco Reus’ second goal (77th minute). . “You could tell how happy he was to be on the pitch and that he enjoyed every moment,” said Kehl about Sancho.
The Darmstadt team clearly lacks a competitive striker
The discussions about whether Borussia’s style of play and player potential fit together probably continued with some of their sympathizers – despite the increase in performance in the second half and the conciliatory result. There was Marcel Sabitzer, for example, who walked at a leisurely walking pace to take a corner kick, and there was keeper Gregor Kobel, who repeatedly strolled forward with the ball at his feet. And this was probably in the expectation that gaps would then open up in the Darmstadt network. Although he didn’t want that to happen at all, he practiced this experimental setup six times in the first round alone.
In general, the guest from Dortmund sometimes indulged in a painfully slow pace, which may not have been intended that way. Already in the middle of the first half, the BVB substitutes were sent to warm up – and were ordered back ten minutes later, even though the play of the starting eleven had become neither more compelling nor more impressive. But at least the favorite took the lead. A counterattack, a nice pass from Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, a great run from Julian Brandt – and it was 1-0 for Dortmund (24th).
The other parameters were less flattering after 45 minutes: 45 percent ball possession, hardly any offensive actions, let alone a goal threat – for a team with Dortmund’s ambitions, that would have been a worrying interim conclusion against Leipzig or Stuttgart. Against the no-budget newcomer from Darmstadt, who went into the winter break with 41 goals conceded, the fairly consistent decision not to play football in the first half remained strange. At least: Things got a little better in the second half, after the 2-0 BVB finally had control of the game, brought the quality of their individual players into the game better and Youssoufa Moukoko increased it to 3-0 (90th + 2nd).
Darmstadt, on the other hand, could have been quite happy with itself on Saturday given its conditions if it hadn’t slowly but surely entered a phase of the season in which points were urgently needed against big favorites who don’t consistently live up to this role . A direct pass from Tim Skarke (39th) and a header from Luca Pfeiffer (64th) could have resulted in a different result. In general, it would help the team if a competitive striker could be signed in the remaining days until January 31st. Especially since the Lilies now have a series of difficult home games ahead of them, which will be completed in the coming weeks against Frankfurt, Leverkusen and Stuttgart.