Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund ahead of must-win clash with Eintracht Frankfurt | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 13.02.2020
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Bundesliga: Borussia Dortmund ahead of must-win clash with Eintracht Frankfurt

Capable of brilliance in attack but prone to calamity in defense, there's never a dull moment with Borussia Dortmund these days. After back-to-back defeats, they're under pressure to deliver against Eintracht Frankfurt.

There are lots of things you can say about Borussia Dortmund, but no-one could ever claim that they're boring.

The Black and Yellows launched into 2020 in seemingly scintillating form as they fired a combined 15 goals past Augsburg, Cologne and Union Berlin.

Erling Haaland, sensationally snapped up during the January transfer window, scored seven of them himself in just 136 minutes on the pitch. Jadon Sancho scored another three and set up three more. This was it; the title charge was on.

Nevertheless, away from the unbridled euphoria of the Yellow Wall, there was always a lingering suspicion that it was all a little bit too good to be true.

The warning signs were there in Augsburg where, before Haaland's heroics stole the headlines, Dortmund had already shipped three goals, a leaky defense all too easily prized apart by mid-table opposition.

The Dortmund decision-makers were acutely aware of this. Their memories of being 3-0 down to Paderborn, throwing away a 2-0 lead against RB Leipzig or conceding two late goals in Hoffenheim at the end of last year were all too raw.

And so Emre Can arrived at the Westfalenstadion from Italian champions Juventus. The German international was expected to add some solidity and experience to Dortmund's dodgy defense whether as part of the back line or just in front of it.

- Read more: Borussia Dortmund reveal true identity in Leverkusen thriller

Bundesliga Bayer Leverkusen gegen Borussia Dortmund (Getty Images/Bongarts/D. Mouhtaropoulos)

Hot and cold: Dortmund are dangerous up front but vulnerable at the back

'We commit the least fouls'

The Brexit – or Borussian Exit – from the German Cup in Bremen showed once again just how much that protection was needed. Can started against Bayer Leverkusen and impressed with a long-range first-half goal more than for his contribution to his team's defensive work as Dortmund lost 4-3.

BVB have now conceded nine more goals (32) than at this point last season and have the worst defensive record in the top four by some distance. At least there is one positive though: the Black and Yellows have only conceded six goals from set pieces this season. Only Leverkusen (five) can beat that.

"We have to be dirtier," said Can after his debut defeat. "I have only been here a week but we have to learn. Tonight was a game that summed up Borussia Dortmund."

It's something that sporting director Michael Zorc has noticed, too.

"We commit the least fouls," he commented ahead of the visit of a resurgent Eintracht Frankfurt on Friday night, referring to Dortmund's 11-point lead at the top of the Bundesliga fairness table having only received 17 yellow cards all season.

But in the standings that really matter, they're four points off the pace and can count themselves fortunate that neither Bayern Munich nor RB Leipzig were able to increase that gap on Matchday 22, cancelling each other out in a goalless draw.

Dortmund will be without Marco Reus (muscle injury) and Julian Brandt (ankle injury) against Frankfurt but, with RB and Bayern unlikely to drop points against Werder Bremen and Cologne respectively this weekend, it's a game they have to win.

One thing is for sure: it won't be dull.