Not smooth, yet!
As forseen in the warm-up, the task "Nuremberg" was a hard one for Klopps young squad. After a passionately contested match, it remains a 1 - 1 and a few question marks. One point won or two points lost? I don't know. Disappointed or happy? Probably both. A performance to build up on? Difficult to say. However, a certain fact after this match is that not everything runs smoothly yet. The squad still has hard work to do in order to tie in with the performance from the end of last season. Where Marco Reus more and more shows that he absolutely has the ability to replace Kagawa in the midfield, especially the build up over the wings and therewith the development of goal-scoring chances underperformed this saturday. This fact combined with some misfortune in referee decisions and in front of the goal sealed the deal of just bringing one point back home from Bavaria
As forseen in the warm-up, the task "Nuremberg" was a hard one for Klopps young squad. After a passionately contested match, it remains a 1 - 1 and a few question marks. One point won or two points lost? I don't know. Disappointed or happy? Probably both. A performance to build up on? Difficult to say. However, a certain fact after this match is that not everything runs smoothly yet. The squad still has hard work to do in order to tie in with the performance from the end of last season. Where Marco Reus more and more shows that he absolutely has the ability to replace Kagawa in the midfield, especially the build up over the wings and therewith the development of goal-scoring chances underperformed this saturday. This fact combined with some misfortune in referee decisions and in front of the goal sealed the deal of just bringing one point back home from Bavaria.
Dortmund started the game with a slightly changed line up compared to the match against Werder Bremen. Ivan Perisic replaced Kevin Grosskreutz as left midfielder and Lukasz Piszczek, who recovered from his calf injury just in time joined the starting formation for Oliver Kirch. Mario Goetze again remained on the bench for the beginning, Kuba started on his right wing position. As already mentioned, the centerfield position was filled my Marco Reus who left a good impression in his first season match for Borussia against Werder Bremen. The midfield was completed with the defensive line Kehl and Guendogan.
Right from the beginning, Borussia was the more active team and developed a controlled offensive against a well structured and tactical adjusted team from Nuremberg. The first shots on the goal of keeper Schaefer missed, Dortmund however underlined early that they were willing to take over control of the game to guarantee that the last victory from Nuremberg against Dortmund remains dated in 2007. It needed a quarter of an hour for the first real promising attempt. Sebastian Kehl tried to hand in another "Goal of the Month" application, but his nice long distance shot was saved brilliantly by Nuremberg keeper Schaefer. Both clubs did a good job in their pressure play and got a good idea of keeping the game tight. As a consequence, good combinations and promising chances were rare. After a badly played corner kick in Minute 25., Guendogan picked up the ball in his own half and crossed the field with a nice solo run. Instead of passing to the better positioned Lewandowski, he decided to shoot from the 18-yard line. Unfortunately, his slightly deflected ball flew over the goal closely. Nuremberg in return kept their good defensive line and slowly started their own offensive play. Especially with free and corner kicks they knew how to challenge the Dortmunder defensive players. No surprise then that a corner kick in Minute 31. was responsible for their lead: A long ball in the middle of the box, Roman, unsure if he should stay or come out and catch it, Pekhart jumped higher behind Hummels and headed in with a picture perfect header from a short distance. The first real chance for Nuremberg resulted in the first goal of the match and the first deficit for Dortmund in this young season.
Undeterred, Dortmund continued to put pressure on the well structured Nurembrrg defensive. The consequence was a rewarding one: Schmelzer with a one of rare successful runs down the left wing and a cross in the box. Lewandowskis header was defended by goalie Schaefer, the second ball from Perisic just hit the bar until finally Kuba managed to hit the empty goal to equalise in minute 40. A nice move from Guendogan (45.) nearly caused a lead after he took the ball with his chest, lobbed it over a defender and missed the left post closely with an excellent volley - halftime. The draw at this time was fair. Nuremberg with a good defense and counterattacks, Dortmund had more from the game but was not enough target-oriented.
This role segmentation did slightly change at the beginning of the second half as Nuremberg started to put more effort in their offensive play. Pekhart (50., 55.) and Mak (61., 62) with good chances, but luckily not as efficient as in the first half. In return, Reus with a corner kick and a nice header from Hummels which was cleared barely off the line by Pinola (63.). After this situation, Goetze was substituted for Perisic in a match which was meanwhile at eye level. Nuremberg still with good mixture of a solid defense, aggressive tackling and fast offensive play: Mak passed Hummels and placed the ball back for Kiyotake who closely missed the target from the box line (75.). On the other side Schieber, who replaced Marco Reus, had a try in a similar situation but a brilliant safe by Schaefer (80.) kept the draw. The final phase remained exciting as both teams were still trying to take the lead. Dortmund with increased but ineffective offensive pressure then nearly punished by a counterattack: the agile Mak passed Schmelzer on the right side and slammed the ball from an impossible angle against the post (85.). Dortmund finally with some corner kicks that could not be converted into something countable. After two minutes additional time the game ended with a fair share of the points.
Concerning the course of the game, the share of points is justifiable. However, a stale aftertaste remains. Borussia showed some nice offensive approaches, but it was visible that the old system built up on and around Kagawa is not entirely adjusted yet. Especially the build up over the wings via Schmelzer and Pisczeck left much to be desired. Consequently, Lewandowski struggled due to a lack of good crosses. Additionally, Nuremberg was tactically well prepared by coach Hecking. Hummels was completely marked up in situations of ball possession and could not support Guendogan, Kehl and Reus with his nice passes in the midfield. It is foreseeable that other clubs will copy this tactic against us, therefore we have to find an answer to that quickly. The upcoming break for international matches however is not helpful, as nearly the entire starting formation will be missing. Then there is one more week for Klopp to prepare the squad for the hard match against Bayer Leverkusen in the Westfalenstadion on Saturday, September 15th.
Line up: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Guendogan, Kehl - Blaszczykowski, Reus, Perisic - Lewandowski
63. M. Götze for Perisic
72. Schieber for Reus
79. Großkreutz for Blaszczykowski
Line up: R. Schaefer -Chandler, Klose, Nilsson, Pinola - Balitsch, Simons - Mak, Kiyotake, Esswein - Pekhart
81. Polter for Pekhart
87. Gebhart for Esswein
89. Feulner for Mak