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Bundesliga opinion: Dortmund's problem is not their coach

Kommentarbild Matt Pearson
Matt Pearson
February 13, 2021

Edin Terzic is under pressure after a 2-2 draw with Hoffenheim gave Dortmund five points from six games. Even with Marco Rose on the way, Dortmund's biggest issue is not the man in the dugout, DW's Matt Pearson writes.

Mats Hummels in action for Borussia Dortmund
Mats Hummels and his defensive colleagues struggled against HoffenheimImage: Leon Kuegeler/REUTERS

Despite the form, the league position and the damning defensive statistics, Borussia Dortmund's management team were confident that things would turn around ahead of the visit of bogey team Hoffenheim.

"What we see is that the team is training well and intensively," said sporting director Michael Zorc. "There is not one main problem. The games we didn't win recently were all very close. We could have won them, but in the end we didn't because there was always one mistake too many."

If that reading of the situation looked generous before the game, it remained so after Erling Haaland rescued a late point. Interim coach Edin Terzic must, once again, wish his team made only one mistake too many. A string of defensive errors littered an entertaining game with Mats Hummels, Manuel Akanji, Emre Can and stand-in goalkeeper Marwin Hitz all culpable to some degree.

Matt Pearson
DW's Matt Pearson

Terzic is enduring the sort of run that spelled the end of Lucien Favre's reign. But where could Dortmund go from here? Gladbach's Marco Rose isn't available until the end of the season. Will any experienced and high class coach take on a job for 13 league games with no future prospects?

Same old story

Probably not. But, more than that, it doesn't really matter who takes charge if Dortmund's defenders, and those who sit above Terzic in the hierarchy, keep making the same mistakes. 

Week after week, season after season, individual errors undermine the moments of brilliance. Week after week, season after season, not much changes.

Plenty of praise has rightly been heaped on Zorc, CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and the rest of the top brass for the array of young attacking talent they've assembled. Jadon Sancho and Haaland, once again Dortmund's scorers on Saturday, are exceptional talents, but how long can they stick with a team that isn't progressing?

Take out the lure of the Champions League, which Dortmund are in real danger of missing out on, and it's hard to see either starting next season at the Westfalenstadion.

Poor purchases

Terzic has been thrown in at the deep end and will likely become the fall guy, either now or within a few months. But presumably he's not asking Hummels and Akanji to over-commit and allow in Ihlas Bebou twice in the first half-hour, Can to play his man onside for the opener or Hitz to flap tamely at a routine cross to allow Hoffenheim a second.

For some time now, the focus has often been on Favre, Terzic, tactics and culture, but it's time to ask whether the individuals and the defensive recruitment are good enough.

Akanji has gone backwards, Hummels appears to be in decline, and a succession of defensive signings — Nico Schulz, Leonardo Balerdi, Thomas Meunier and, although he's a backup, Hitz — do not appear up to the standard required.

It is, of course, Terzic's job to get the best out of these players, and it's difficult to argue that he is right now. But to point the finger at him alone would be to ignore the bigger problems.

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