Tactical Analysis: Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Hoffenheim

Edin Terzic’s Borussia Dortmund managed to secure their 4th victory (third 1-0 win) during 5 Bundesliga games this season after beating Hoffenheim at Signal Iduna Park. The most important thing has been done, but the black-and-yellows still have some areas to improve, especially during the final part of the match.



The German-Croatian coach started with a 4-3-3 shape relying on a fast, direct attacking football, while André Breitenreiter’s side opted for a 3-5-2 formation, switching between low and high-pressing. The offensive quartet of Dortmund, namely, Julian Brandt, Marco Reus, Jamie-Bynoe Gittens and Anthony Modeste (in addition to Jude Bellingham) have all stuck to the plan, being so effective and rapid in getting to the final third either by relying on their defensive-minded teammates to retrieve the ball for them to start an attack, or even getting back to do it by themselves.


Brandt has been all over the pitch today, being one of, if not, the most important piece of his team during transitions, linking up perfectly with Reus and playing it easy and simple but doing exactly what is needed to be done. The Germany international’s amazing work has been highlighted by assisting Reus on the single goal of the match, adding it to his 3 key passes and 1 big chance created.


During the second half, Hoffenheim started to press higher, counting on the speed of RCB Ozan Kabak and LCB Kevin Akpoguma to track back the opposition’s frontmen in counters, but that wasn’t enough as Dortmund’s tactical discipline made it hard for Hoffenheim to cover all the spaces. 


While this has forced Dortmund’s center-backs Mats Hummels and Nico Schlotterbeck to stay low during the build-up phase, the two German defenders have still massively contributed to the counter-press making many advanced surprising interceptions precisely at the center of the pitch, trying and recovering the ball quickly to start a new offensive action. 


Hoffenheim’s high-pressing made Terzic rely on his goalkeeper Gregory Kobel to build the play. Kobel’s long balls in the direction of his target man Modeste were efficient; the latter has not only been key in getting the ball to the ground for his teammates in some advanced areas of the pitch, but he has also worked hard off-ball pressing and preventing the rival players from building their play, while also being as important during corner-kicks taking full benefit of his aerial qualities to send the opposition’s crosses away.


In the first half, Hoffenheim’s midfield struggled to link up and find neither of wing-backs Angelino & Robert Skov, nor the 2 attackers Georginio Rutter & Andrej Kramaric. Changing 2 of their 3 midfielders during halftime has completely changed the game for the TSG.


Sebastian Rudy’s well-inspired performance contributed massively for his side to dominate the game and start being threatful enough, especially after subbing Munas Dabbur on replacing their only starting midfielder left. Dortmund’s fatigue also helped them to do so, as the latter side have made an unbelievable effort during the first half. Terzic was late in making substitutions, even though Brandt and Reus needed to rest.


Brandt’s match heat map (Sofascore)                            Reus’ match heat map (Sofascore)


To sum it up, Edin Terzic has made a good start with Dortmund this season with 12 points in 5 games, and he wasn’t too far from winning them all with BVB’s only non-victory coming in a 3-2 defeat to Werder Bremen who scored two goals in the last four minutes of extra time.


Yet, Terzic’s style of play still doesn’t convince enough in the final parts of the game. The coach puts the team in some dangerous situations at the end, which cost them 3 points against Werder Bremen, and could have led to the same ending versus Leverkusen and against Hoffenheim. BVB will nevertheless be looking to continue their positive form as they host Copenhagen before traveling to RB Leipzig and Manchester City and hosting Schalke in the Revierderby over the next few weeks.


By: Karim Bouchaia / @BotolaScouting

Featured Image: @GabFoligno / Alex Grimm / Getty Images