SeasonOne.EpisodeFive | Hinrunde
Welcome to the latest instalment of my journey with Borussia Dortmund. Last time out, there was in introduction to the current crop of players who will be working under Oliver Jensen.
As always, you can get in touch with me in the comments below, via twitter @fmfutbolmanager, or my slack channel #fmFutbolManager — if you’re not a part of the Football Manager Slack community, then you can join here!
Now, onto the update.
Hinrunde, the first half of the German football season.
Taking over the reins at Borussia Dortmund with just four games to go in the Bundesliga first half doesn’t give me much to write about. It has been a good start, but I’m under no illusions that there’s still so much work to do.
My first match in charge was a nervy affair. It was away at bitter rivals Schalke who were doing well in the league. Our morale was rock bottom and tactical familiarity was almost non-existent. I started out with a deep 4-1-4-1 to try and keep us defensively solid, and above all else, not lose the damn match.
Nevertheless, we battled hard. It didn’t start as planned, going a goal down on the half-hour mark to a Mark Uth goal. However, at half-time, I reminded the guys of the importance of the fixture and we managed to turn it around to come away with a 3-1 victory with three goals in nine minutes from Marco Reus, Weigl and Alcácer.
We then had to travel to Italy for an away Champions League match against Inter Milan. We were routed bottom of the Champions League group with just a point to our names, so to come away with a 0-0 draw feels like a victory to me.
The positive results kept coming as we shifted to my preferred 4-2-3-1 with wins against Werder Bremen (1-0 Diallo) and Fortuna Dusseldorf (3-1 Kaminski O.G, Toprak, Akanji).
Our final match of Hinrunde ended in a 0-0 draw against Borussia Monchengladbach in a game we really should have won. We finished up in 7th place on 23 points, up from 14th so great progress, but the 0-0 draw is concerning me a little as I hope we weren’t just a quick flash in the pan.
In terms of where this leaves us, well, it’s all pretty tight in the middle. We’re on 23 points, and although we’re 15 off Bayern, we’re only two points off the Champions League places.
There’s a lot of football to play, so I’m quietly confident we can get into the top four and qualify for the Champions League next season.
We have RB Leipzig in my first game after the winter break, so a victory there would really set us on the right path going into the second half of the season.
THE PLAYER STATS
I was a little reluctant to post these, as they’re not my players yet, but there have been some stand-out performances recently and I think they need to be highlighted.
Toljan, a German right back is the understudy to Hakimi, who is on loan from Real Madrid. However, in the two games, I have played him, he has added an assist to his name. This form is what will keep him in the side going into the second half. My philosophy this year is that statistics drive recruitment, but they also drive player selections and as a player on form, he’s doing well to keep in the side.
Kagawa and Reus are the two top creators in the side with over 2 chances per game created.
We’ve been shy in front of goal, with our stop scorer having just 8 goals, Marco Reus nonetheless. My two strikers, Alcácer and Philipp have half that between them. Unless Alcácer does something this second half to change my mind, then his move won’t be permanent and Philipp will likely be looking for a new club.
I can’t wait to get the second half underway!
Until next time, tschüss.