Borussia Dortmund – VfL Wolfsburg: Late Game Heroics From Alcácer Keep Dortmund Up Top (2-0)
Despite a disappointing match in terms of goalmouth action and creativity, the individual quality of Dortmund’s players saw them through against a dogged and committed Wolfsburg side. Hero of the day? Paco Alcácer.
Tactical analysis and match report by Carl Carpenter.
A victory over middle-of-the-pack Wolfsburg was an absolute necessity for Borussia Dortmund. In recent weeks, dropped points by Dortmund combined with Bayern Munich’s return to indomitable form made the Bundesliga title chase a tie game. Both Bayern and Dormund were on sixty points entering this round of play.
For Wolfsburg, the season has been one of extreme highs and lows: their inability to stop conceding goals (exhibited by their goal difference of only +3) being one of their largest handicaps for European qualification. However, their attacking talent and an industrious style of play can create issues for any side in the league.
As ever this campaign, Lucien Favre set his team up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Following the international break, Favre was able to call upon the services of Paco Alcácer again, up front. Axel Witsel and Thomas Delaney provided a strong spine for the club’s considerable attacking talent to get forward and create chances, with much of the team’s attacking creativity in central portions of the pitch coming from Mario Götze.
Wolfsburg and manager Bruno Labbadia opted to employ their traditional 4-3-3 formation which very much suits the team’s fluid, possession-based ethos. Weghorst up front was flanked by Felix Klaus and Mehmedi, and supported in midfield by the creative Yannick Gerhardt and Arnold: the two of them capable of picking out the final . . .