This weekend marked the start of the Ruckrunde in the Bundesliga.
The second half of the 2020/21 season may have begun at the weekend, but for Borussia Dortmund, it was a bit like old times, as they slumped to a second defeat in a row, falling at the hands of Borussia Monchengladbach.
Borussia Dortmund Slump Again – at Gladbach
Borussia Dortmund Cultural Reset Is the Way Forward
In what was a quite the spectacle, it was Monchengladbach who came out on top in the Borussia derby. It was a game that saw three goals in the first half-hour. There was an inevitable double from Erling Haaland. A surprising brace came from Gladbach defender Nico Elvedi. Overall there were 25 shots on target.
But it ended in defeat for Borussia Dortmund, whose second successive setback has them in seventh place in the Bundesliga. It was also a game that reflected and epitomised Dortmund this season, or rather, Dortmund of the past few years. There seems to be a mental and psychological flaw in the team.
Despite having their moments in a back and forth game, Dortmund didn’t look like they would regain control once Gladbach took a 3-2 lead three minutes into the second half.
Their heads were starting to drop, and even though they were the side who needed more urgency, a fourth Gladbach goal seemed inevitable. When it happened, it wasn’t particularly surprising.
Borussia Dortmund of the Past Few Weeks
This defeat at Gladbach comes off the back of a 2-1 loss to Bayer Leverkusen in midweek (the Englische Woche). In that game at the Bay Arena, Dortmund came from behind to equalise in the second half and had momentum on their side. But it was Leverkusen who would go on to a find a winner, as Florian Wirtz benefitted from the team being caught in sixes and sevens to score late on. Dortmund were on the up and looked the side most likely to grab the third goal of the game. But they didn’t.
There were also archetypal traits of what has become Dortmund flaws against Mainz. Dortmund had just seen off RB Leipzig away from home when they hosted the side placed at the foot of the Bundesliga.
But they had to come from behind to force a point. Dortmund were creating chances, however, they needed right-back Thomas Meunier to score his first league goal for the club. But despite being the better side, they could easily have lost that game as well, had Danny Latza not hit the post for Mainz.
Typical Dortmund Collapse and Setback Haunting Club
These setbacks are by no means new to the club. There were similar cases last season under Lucien Favre – who was sacked late last year. Dortmund always manage to suffer setbacks that set the tone for a collapse, and unrest. It has been the case for a while: the two full seasons under Favre, the season under Peter Bosz, Thomas Tuchel’s final campaign in charge.
Dortmund always went into the second half of the season in decent stead, then the slide would begin. In the end, it would cost them the league.
This time, there doesn’t seem to be a league title on. They were not good enough before the start of 2021. But now they’re facing a possibility of sweating it out for a Champions League spot – if not missing out altogether.
Borussia Dortmund Cultural Reset Vital
Dortmund are still in search for a new manager for 2021/22, be it a different face, or caretaker Edin Terzic taking that role permanently. One could use that as an excuse for their slumps. Uncertainty is never helpful, especially in the season of upheaval and general turbulence.
But this has been a Dortmund flaw under four different managers. The faces in the dugout have changed somewhat, so have a few players. But Dortmund’s flaws are still unchanging.
Whoever will take charge – and even before that happens – Die Schwarzgelben are in need of a cultural revolution.