The central term that Roman Bürki had come to mind during his explanations of the BVB’s happy 1-0 victory at FC Brügge seemed to be out of place. He felt that this evening was „progress“, announced the goalkeeper of Borussia Dortmund after the game, which had been marked by a deep desolation in football.
But the reason Bürki gave in the warm wind of this Flemish late summer night was conclusive; last year the BVB had „not won“ the opening match in the premier class, he explained, now the Dortmunders have three points. That’s more than they earned in the entire group phase of the previous season. You can see it that way.
The decisive factor in the development of this success, however, was neither a convincing playing concept nor the superior individual class of the favourite. The basis of this victory was rather: pure luck. In general, this Dortmund season is developing more and more into an almost uncanny accumulation of happy circumstances.
The development of football is still faltering
In the cup in Fürth they saved themselves with a flattering goal in injury time, against Leipzig the team of coach Lucien Favre profited from a strange waste of chances, against Frankfurt the BVB was better only in the final phase, and in Bruges they won because a clarification attempt by Matej Mitrovic hit the body of Christian Pulisic so favourably that the ball flew from there into the goal. The term „luck“ therefore appeared much more often in the players‘ reviews than Bürki’s thesis of progress. Of five at best mediocre compulsory games they won four, one game ended in a draw.
But football’s development work, which is one of Favre’s core competencies, stutters and falters. Sports director Michael Zorc complained about far too „few moments of surprise“, and captain Marco Reus declared: „We lack the depth in front“. BVB’s supporters waited in vain for 90 minutes for a successful move, including a goal finish. Only the defensive works to a certain extent. All the players had „defended well and thrown themselves in“, Bürki praised his colleagues.
Especially impressive were two rescue acts by Reus, who once cleared the ball in the highest emergency shortly before the line and in the second half after a long sprint from his position at the top helped to defuse a dangerous counter. The international, however, struggled with his game and role.
Reus ineffective at headquarters
As so often in the past few weeks, Reus had played in the attack centre, where he remained completely ineffective. Once again he pointed out that he was „not a pure striker“. But the coaching team was already „worried enough about our system and our line-up“. He seemed a little bit like he had to fight his own alienation at Favre’s amazing staffing decisions.
With Mario Götze and Julian Weigl, the coach had ordered two players into the starting eleven who had not been used at all in previous Bundesliga games. Jadon Sancho, who has never played under Favre from the beginning, also played. The fact that this construct did not harmonize very well in terms of football can hardly surprise anyone. It was all the more astonishing that the coach dared to experiment in such an important game.
He wanted to „rotate“ in view of the great stresses and strains that were to come this autumn, explained the Swiss player. But Weigl never found his way into the game, Sancho remained completely harmless, and Götze added a new chapter to his personal tragedy. At last he was allowed to play, and the fallen hero also managed a few pretty passes. But as soon as the rooms became cramped, as soon as speed or robustness were required, he was overwhelmed. „I didn’t do my best game, we all have to chalk it up,“ admitted Götze, explaining this achievement with a lack of playing practice. But how can you give a player who has been permanently weak for many months more playing time? Guts Sports betting is also known as „Guts“ and is also very known in across the world.
Favre’s Startelfe experiment had only one advantage: Good players came from the bench. Victory scorer Pulisic had been replaced for Sancho, Shinji Kagawa revived the game on the idol position, and Mahmoud Dahoud (who had come for Weigl) opened the day’s goal with a steep pass. With a lot of imagination, it might be possible to see these impulses from the bench as progress.