Borussia Dortmund – Borussia Mönchengladbach: Dortmund’s smart press beats Gladbach in a possession oriented Bundesliga match (2-1)
A match between the Bundesliga leaders and the current runners up holds a lot of promise. As a spectacle of sorts, the match did not deliver, but Borussia Dortmund and Borussia Mönchengladbach still offered a tactically interesting game between two possession based teams. The home side’s superior pressing setup proved crucial, holding off Gladbach’s attempt to reduce the gap between first and second place.
Tactical analysis and match report by Max Bergmann.
Borussia Dortmund quickly put the philosophy of new coach Lucien Favre into action this season. With a well structured defense and quick attacking play, Dortmund conquered the league. In the final match of 2018, league leaders Dortmund aimed to defend their six-point advantage at the top of the table.
Playing against his former club Gladbach, Lucien Favre had the mammoth task to reconstruct the heart of his defense. Manuel Akanji, Abdou Diallo and Dan-Axel Zagadou were all injured. To the surprise of many, the Dortmund coach decided to line up midfielder Julian Weigl next to defender Ömer Toprak as a center-back in his back four. Furthermore, Favre replaced his forward trio and left back Marcel Schmelzer compared to the surprise defeat against newly promoted Fortuna Düsseldorf.
Borussia Mönchengladbach managed a good start to their season and exceeded all expectations. After several years of deploying the typical Gladbach 4-4-2 formation, manager Dieter Hecking switched to a 4-3-3 formation - with success.
Hecking also undertook some changes in his starting eleven for this match, continuing with the successful 4-3-3 formation. Tobias Strobl, usually lined up in defensive midfield, took the position of center-back Elvedi, who missed out due to an . . .