WORN OUT BVB STRUGGLE THROUGH ROUGH BUNDESLIGA GAUNTLET
After escaping Paris with three points, Favre would face a brutal stretch of three games in seven days. Adding in the Paris SG game and it would be four games in ten days, not something anyone would like to go through.
Bundeslia (A) : Borussia Dortmund 1 - TSG Hoffenheim 1
Hoffenheim was ready and waiting for BVB, and they were lucky to get away from this one with a point as they were essentially outplayed. A mostly full strength side, with Götze playing the No. 10 role after sitting out the PSG game, struggled to take control and appeared tired. Raphaël Guerreiro left with a slight injury at 29’ and depth became more of an issue with Jeremy Toljan stepping in for him. Both teams basically lived in the middle third, both struggling to make significant inroads as Favre saw his team playing on it’s heels.
Marco Reus put Dortmund up 1-0 after a dubious penalty call on Kevin Vogt. Maximilian Philipp made the most of the incidental contact between him and Vogt, and Reus was happy to knock it in to start the second half with the first lead of the game. Things went back and forth with Hoffenheim the clear aggressor, constantly attacking and making BVB sweat. Things broke Hoffenheim’s way in the 72’ when Steven Zuber dispossessed the freshly substituted Marius Wolf at midfield and hit a long through ball to Nadiem Amiri that caught Lukas Piszczek moving forward. Amiri had acres of space and moved to attack the near post, the pass was so good it created a lose-lose scenario for Abdou Diallo that was essentially a two-on-one with Dominic Solanke attacking the center. Amiri smartly passed to Solanke just as he split the central defenders and easily tucked it into the right side of the goal.
That was it for the action as Hoffenheim seemed to lose steam, a well deserved point that easily could have been a loss.
“I would be lying if I said we weren’t tired” admitted Favre “but that is no excuse, Hoffenheim were the better team today. We got away with one today.”
Bundeslia (H) : 1. FC Nürnberg 0 - Borussia Dortmund 1
Marco Reus curled a free kick into the box and Axel Witsel headed it in at the 8’ mark, and that was it for the game. This time BVB were by far the more dominant team, with Nürnberg happy to concede possession and try to wring a point out of a tough road game. Without that early goal, this would have been a frustrating draw with a 23:6 shots advantage that essentially evaporated when you consider it only amounted to an 8:3 shots on target advantage.
The real kicker here was Christian Pulisic going down with a foot injury late in the game, and it didn’t look good.
Bundeslia (A) : Borussia Dortmund 1 - Bayer Leverkusen 0
If you like dull games, this would have been the game for you. Dortmund played rather poorly, which was most disappointing because this game almost featured a full first choice squad. The 3000 BVB fans that traveled to the Bay Arena must have left feeling like they should have stayed home.
Marwin Hitz started in goal and Marius Wolf took the place of the injured Christian Pulisic, but it isn’t clear if any of that mattered. Dortmund dominated across the board, but it took a clumsy tackle by Leverkusen’s Wendell to set up Marco Reus for a penalty that decided the game. Wendell earned a yellow for his fateful tackle, one of five for Leverkusen.
Things got testy as the game went on with both teams exchanging yellow card worthy tackles before Wendell got his second in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the game. Favre left the game in a prickly mood and didn’t have much to say afterwards.