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Tactical Analysis

Tactical Analysis: Wolfsburg 0-3 Borussia Dortmund | Dortmund make positive start under Bosz

Hrishi Anand writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Bundesliga game that finished Wolfsburg 0-3 Borussia Dortmund

Hrishi Anand writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Bundesliga game that finished Wolfsburg 0-3 Borussia Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund made a promising start to life under new coach Peter Bosz as they dispatched VFL Wolfsburg 3-0 at the Volkswagen Arena. The Black-Yellows were well organized defensively and potent in attack against a hapless Wolfsburg side.


VfL Wolfsburg- 1.Casteels 3.Verhaegh 31.Knoche 17.Uduokhai 13.Gerhardt 6.Bazoer 4.Camacho 16.Blaszczykowski 11.Didavi 32.Hinds 33.Gomez

Borussia Dortmund – 38.Bürki 26.Piszczek 25.Papastathopoulos 5.Bartra 2.Zagadou 27.Castro 8.Sahin 10.Götze 22.Pulisic 17.Aubameyang 20.Philipp

Both Wolfsburg and Dortmund lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation from the outset. Veteran forward Mario Gomez led the line for the Wolves while the prolific Aubameyang was Dortmund’s forward. Summer signings Maximillian Philipp and Dan Axel Zagadou made their debuts for Dortmund. Mario Gotze also made his return to football after undergoing treatment for metabolic disturbances.

First Half

Peter Bosz’s new look Dortmund were eager to start and began on the front foot. Die Schwarzgelben were positive in their passing and the double pivot of Nuri Sahin and Gonzalo Castro was especially effective in recycling possession when required. Understandably, it will take a while before all the players are on the same wavelength under the new management but the signs were positive. Wolfsburg were solid initially and looked to have improved under Andries Jonker after a shocking 16-17 campaign that saw them flirt with relegation. Ex-Arsenal man Kaylen Hinds and ex-Dortmund fan favorite Jakub Blaszczykowski posed a threat on the counter.

However as the half wore on, Wolfsburg were sloppy both positionally and in possession. Lukasz Piszczek was frequently afforded all the space he required down the right flank while Castro and Sahin were pulling the strings from midfield. More often than not, the Wolfsburg defense struggled to cope with the dynamism of Philipp and Pulisic on the wings.

It wasn’t long before the visitors broke the deadlock as they hit Wolfsburg on the counter. Aubameyang picked up the ball in his own half as Dortmund broke to create a 5v5 situation. While Aubameyang was lucky that his wayward pass fell to Pulisic, it was a slick move from Dortmund to open the scoring as the American, Pulisic, placed a shot past Koen Casteels in goal.

The goal was perhaps an indication of what was to come as Dortmund swiftly doubled their advantage through a brilliantly taken goal from Marc Bartra. The Spanish defender found himself unmarked in the penalty area and curled a shot into the far post. Elegant from a player schooled in La Masia. Again questions must be asked of the Wolfsburg defense as to why Bartra was unmarked in the penalty box.

Dortmund cooled off a bit after the second goal and were content in possession as Wolfsburg failed to offer any sort of threat whatsoever. Dutch midfield talent Riechedly Bazoer was anonymous for Wolfsburg and unable to impose himself on the game which was a shame considering his talent. Wolfsburg opted to play the long ball to Mario Gomez who was shunted to the wings due to a lack of support from his teammates. Sokratis and Zagadou also made life difficult for the German forward constantly marking him out of the game.

Second Half

Wolfsburg came out in the second half searching for a goal and were more proactive in creating chances. Peter Bosz implemented the offside trap to perfection as Wolfsburg struggled to break down the Dortmund defense. Maximillian Arnold and Joshua Guilavogui came on for Wolfsburg hoping to reduce the deficit but it was Dortmund who scored through Pierre Emerick Aubameyang in the 60th minute and killed off any sort of Wolfsburg comeback.

Once again it was Pulisic at the heart of the move as the winger played a smart cross for Aubameyang to tap-in. Lukasz Piszczek’s presence on the right flank helped drag defenders out of position as Pulisic made a smart run. His well weighted cross was easy pickings for last campaign’s top scorer Aubameyang to finish off.

Following Dortmund’s third goal, Wolfsburg gave up hope of trying to score while Dortmund made no effort to extend their lead either.

The game finished 3-0 to Borussia Dortmund summing up a game to forget for Andries Jonker and a game of positives for Peter Bosz. Dortmund looked like a well-oiled machine in attack and will only get better once the likes of Marco Reus, Raphael Guerreiro and Julian Weigl return and hopefully Ousmane Dembele as well.

Zagadou Impresses on Debut

Dan Axel Zagadou, the 18 year old Frenchman impressed for Dortmund on his Bundesliga debut. The towering defender was played at left-back but barely had to deal with any threat and got forward on many occasions. His imposing frame and presence complemented the duo of Marc Bartra and Sokratis. The defender was positive in his passing and gives Bosz an option at left back until Raphael Guerreiro and Marcel Schmelzer return.

Long Way to Go For Wolfsburg

VFL Wolfsburg were embroiled in a relegation battle last season and it was hoped that giving Jonker more time would steady the ship. However, Wolfsburg were dismal against Borussia and considering they were playing at home, should have been more confident. With main sponsor Volkswagen facing financial trouble, VFL Wolfsburg have a long way to go before they can get to the top again.

In summary, Dortmund were very good against a poor Wolfsburg side which makes it difficult to assess their level of football under new coach Peter Bosz. Results in coming weeks will give an indication as to how well the Black-Yellows will do this season but the signs were nothing but positive in an important away win.

Read all our tactical analyses here

Hrishi Anand

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