Opinion: Peter Bosz should have until the winter break to save Borussia Dortmund | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 05.11.2017
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Opinion: Peter Bosz should have until the winter break to save Borussia Dortmund

A shocking run of results, an all-but certain exit from the Champions League and some glaring tactical flaws, Peter Bosz is a man under pressure. But DW's Matt Pearson says he deserves a little more time.

The fact that Borussia Dortmund's loss to Bayern Munich was only the club's third worst result of the last week speaks volumes about the state of affairs right now.

After last weekend's 4-2 defeat to Hannover and another tepid European draw against APOEL Nicosia on Wednesday, Bosz's tactics are being subjected to the kind of post-match post-mortems that usually proceed a show of support from the board, or the sack - often both.

The Dutchman's high-pressing, high-lined, attacking philosophy has exposed Dortmund's soft underbelly and, unlike earlier in the season, their forward players are not taking their chances - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hasn't scored in his last five matches.

What are the expectations at BVB?

As bad as that run is, and as justified as the majority of the tactical criticisms are, it's worth re-examining what his job really is. Despite the lethargy that crept in under Carlo Ancelotti, it's clear that Bayern are the best side in Germany by some distance.

Kommentarbild Matt Pearson

DW's Matt Pearson

Are Dortmund really expected to compete for the Bundesliga when they consistently sell their best players? Probably not. What about qualifying from a Champions League group containing Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid? Maybe. Beating Frankfurt, Nicosia and Hannover? Absolutely.

Another of the tasks facing the former Ajax boss was to introduce a more attractive style of play, adding some flare to the groundwork done by Thomas Tuchel. Early on, he looked to have forged a perfect marriage between a swashbuckling attacking game with results, as BVB picked up 19 out of 21 points in his first seven matches, conceding just twice.

The truth about his tenure so far is difficult to judge after just a few months but probably lies somewhere between the extremities of form that have defined his reign to date. Had those runs been reversed, calls for his head would be notable only by their absence at this point. 

Critical spell upcoming

Next up, after the international break, BVB travel to face newly-promoted Stuttgart. For Bosz, this is now close to a must-win. Their defeat against the champions seemed to suggest they had learnt a few defensive lessons but BVB cannot afford to spurn the kind of chances Aubameyang and Andriy Yarmelonko did on Saturday, and it's hard to pin that profligacy on a coach.

Fußball Bundesliga Borussia Dortmund - FC Bayern (Getty Images/AFP/P. Stollarz)

Robert Lewandoski celebrates as Dortmund's players hang their heads

Then it's a home match against Spurs that could well decide whether they make even the Europa League and the Revierderby against Schalke on November 25. Lose any of those, particularly the domestic matches, and the trigger fingers of those upstairs will surely be getting itchy. But, even in that worst case scenario, they should resist, at least temporarily.

If, given all the time to look at the candidates in the off-season, they decided Bosz' was the best man, a bad run shouldn't change that. There are few candidates available now that they passed up in the summer.

But, of course, a club the size of Dortmund can't do nothing should a bad run become a terminal decline. After those three games come winnable fixtures against Bayer Leverkusen, Werder Bremen and Mainz as well as a trip to Real Madrid that may well be irrelevant to the Germans.

Then it's Hoffenheim at home and Bayern again in the German Cup before the Bundesliga's winter break begins. With no-one outside the top two yet able to demonstrate that they can sustain a Champions League-challenging run, Dortmund have an opportunity to rise above the short-term thinking that dominates top flight football and stick to their plan. But, of course, patience can only last so long. For Bosz, that's nine games. 

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