Dortmund’s awe as a compliment: “But nothing happened…”
22:6 shots, 16:1 corners, 61 percent ball possession – that’s how dominant Bayer Leverkusen was against Borussia Dortmund. But had to be satisfied with a 1:1. How defensively BVB played was surprising.
The Dortmunders Awe was the best compliment for Bayer Leverkusen. Before the Bundesliga table leaders started to soar, relegation candidates had already appeared more courageously in the BayArena than runner-up Borussia Dortmund did.
What Leverkusen leader Granit Xhaka assessed with mischievous irony. When asked about a phase with slight ball losses after the break, the Swiss replied: “We only briefly gave the opponent some hope so that they thought they could do a little more now. But then nothing happened.”
In fact: Even though BVB was the second team after FC Bayern to score against Bayer in the 20th competitive game of the season, leading from the 9th to the 79th minute and therefore according to coach Edin Terzic “was one of the closest” to a win against Leverkusen – the direct duel clearly showed that the difference between the two teams is accurately reflected in the ten points gap in the table.
“I’ve never seen Dortmund play like that before”
How defensively BVB acted also surprised Leverkusen. “I’ve never seen Dortmund play like that. Everyone behind the ball,” said Bayer striker Patrik Schick. And sports director Simon Rolfes explained: “In the past, games against Dortmund were often more open than today. But everyone chooses their own tactics.”
However, Rolfes believed that the defensive bulwark, brilliantly organized by Mats Hummels like five days earlier in the 3-1 win at AC Milan, had not come about quite so voluntarily. “We expected them to be more defensive,” said Rolfes: “The fact that they were so defensive was certainly the result of our dominance and strength.”
BVB coach Edin Terzic admitted: The pressure from Leverkusen and the early 0-1 by Julian Ryerson (5th) only had a limited influence on Maurer’s tactics, which were untypical for Dortmund. “Many people have thought about the best way to play against Leverkusen in the last few weeks and months. We have chosen this approach,” he said.