“Their biggest problem” – exposing Borussia’s secret before Rangers clash

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“Their biggest problem” – exposing Borussia’s secret before Rangers clash
DORTMUND, GERMANY - FEBRUARY 06: Julian Brandt of Borussia Dortmund looks on during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Signal Iduna Park on February 06, 2022 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images)

This, I think, is the strangest team I have ever covered.

This is a team that is so good it is second only to Bayer Leverkusen In the Bundesliga League, who showed us last year how good teamwork can absolutely destroy an opponent.

But Dortmund also finished 3rd behind Sporting Lisbon and Ajax with a 3 win 3 loss record, and we already have found that we are better than the majority of the Dutch football teams.

Being blunt Dortmund is a team that relies heavily on drilling into their players to be at specific places to receive the ball, so they often pass before looking.

If they are on form, and their passes find their team mates, they are unstoppable.

However, and this is their biggest problem, if their passes are off, then they are slow, and uncomfortable. Think of Rangers just after the Winter Break.

The other thing I noticed is when they are off the boil, all the players take far too long on the ball, and everyone starts to look for someone else to take the responsibility. Again, think of Rangers a couple of years ago, with no Ryan Kent.

On Thursday we can expect an arrogant team who think they have dropped into a lower division, and truly think they will go all the way in this competition. We can expect a high press. And we need to be very aware of our surroundings….and we need to pass the ball quickly through the lines.

One thing to watch out for is the way Dortmund will suddenly concentrate in one area of around the box. Sometimes up to four players will suddenly appear very close together on either the left or right side of the box, to create the strong impression that they are trying to force their way through the defensive line, just like in a rugby match.

But this is a just to draw defenders into a bunch. Then if Haaland is present, he will suddenly break away from the group, and stand at the far side of the goal, to wait for the cross to come over, and then tap into the empty net.

Though Haaland was the best at doing this (you can see that in the number of goals he has scored) we can expect Dortmund to still try this same tactic at least three or four times during the match even without him.

They also like to use the 4-3-3 formation that is heavily reliant on playing through a diamond, and then this will slowly transition to three strikers in a static line…then, suddenly, one will run across the defensive line, for the long ball over the top.

Dortmund is a direct team, where Marco Rose’s philosophy is somewhat similar to that now being deployed by Celtic. Confuse the opponents with speed. Run around a lot, and to try to get the ball back as quickly as possible, with a suicidally high defensive line.

After watching them in detail, I just feel FC Porto is a much better team than Dortmund.

And just like Porto and Braga two years ago, Dortmund’s very high defensive line makes them far too open to a quick counter attack.

In fact, Bayer Leverkusen very easily broke Dortmund’s high press, by just running three forwards and a midfielder up the park. This was even when Dortmund had the ball.

This caused the defensive line to fall back, which caused the high press to immediately weaken, and if Dortmund lost the ball, Bayer Leverkusen had the immediate out, and sometimes a man advantage in attack.

If Rangers play in Dortmund’s face, we do run the risk that they just might be able to pass around us. Technically they are very good players. However, in the games they have lost, it has always been against teams that were willing to do the high press against Dortmund. That is where they are weakest.

And being blunt, their back line is not very solid, and in terms of teamwork in the back line, Dortmund is weaker than the Porto team we played.

The takeaway is, if we sit back, they will be taking shots at us all night.

They do not lose many matches when they are allowed to dominate midfield.

So let’s stop them.

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