Dortmund have progressed to the UEFA Champions League Final. Despite a loss in the Spanish capital, Borussia Dortmund overcame Real Madrid to advance to the UEFA Champions League final at Wembley. Let’s break down why they will play for the cup.
Reasons why they are there:
Jürgen Klopp – The manager and string-puller. Has an idea of how football should be played and executes it with players that know and can play his system well.
Robert Lewandowski – Lethal in front of goals. A true number 9 that can play well with front or back to goals. Showed how to kill a team on his own with 4 goals against Madrid in the first Semi Final.
Marco Reus – Talented and able to play wide forward role or behind the striker in the number 10 role. Can beat players by running with the ball or instinct to play the killer pass.
Mario Götze – One of best German number 10’s at the moment. Can beat players by running with the ball or with a killer pass. Has the vision to bring in other players into attack and see passes others cannot.
Balanced Midfield – Between Ilkay Gündogan and Sven Bender the defensive midfield offers both support to the defence but to the attacking line and second phases of attack. They are able to offer triangles with the number 10 and often start three pass moves that result in goals. If the team is looking to play more attacking then Nuri Sahin can replace Bender in and advanced role and Sebastian Kehl can replace either defensive midfielder with Gündogan also able to play the advanced position.
Forward movement – Built to play Klopp’s system the forward line interchange between the wingers and utilise the number 9 as a wall pass or play in behind defences for 1v1’s with keeper. They can cross the line of the wingbacks and turn defences inside out. ‘Kuba’ or Jacub Błaszczykowski is also integral to the front three although not listed above.
Back 4 – Play narrow and are disciplined when they need to and make few mistakes. When they do make mistakes they are generally very costly. They stay close as a line to the midfield line. Led well by Mats Hummels and Neven Subotic the latter also is effective going forward and on set pieces.
How to beat them:
Simple – Take your chances; As Real Madrid found out, Dortmund at times parts at the back in search of goals themselves. When in front of goals the attacking team must at least hit the target. At the other end – take out Lewandowski.
Complex – Attacking combinations that involve the wide forward player receiving the final pass have found to open them up. It is evident they are well structured and sound in defending set pieces so only the second phase is likely to do any damage. The counter attack and passes behind the defence is the proven way to unlock this defence.
Why this could be their last chance to win the UCL during this generation:
It will be hard to keep this team together – full stop!
The foundations of this team – Start with the manager; He is key. Time will tell if he does not take a high profile job elsewhere, perhaps a replacement for the ‘Special One’ at Madrid.
Key players departing – Sadly for Dortmund Götze and Lewandowski are both on the way out. Pep Guardiola seems to be behind the move of Götze to Bayern and Lewandowski would appear to be moving in the same direction although there is interest from Italy, Spain and England.
As has been seen in the past with Sahin to Real Madrid (who is back on loan), key members of the team will be scouted out. Be surprised if Dortmund only loses these stars.