Seven Things We Learned from Bayer 04 — Dortmund
A turgid first half turned into a blistering second half, including a six minute period where Grosskreutz scored twice and Goetze scored a third for the league leaders. A late goal by Stefan Kiessling could not even cosmetically cover up an abject performance from the home side.
- If you want to beat the team with the stingiest defense on the counter, you can’t sit back and allow the team with the most proficient attack to come at you all day. Bayer came out and played like Turkmenistan taking on Brazil at the World Cup. They tried to play everyone behind the ball and hit on the counter, but they are too talented for such a small-minded tactic and they were burned by sheer ignorance of it. When they finally started to play after the Mourinho-esque three subs by Jupp Heynckes, they began to bother Dortmund. Had they done so from the beginning, they may have avoided the embarrassment.
- There is only one thing to like about Nuri Sahin’s play: EVERYTHING. After two or three missed passes at one point in the first half, I thought he has was having a bad match. The fact that this went through my head after two or three missed passes speaks volume to the way he controls the midfield. Between his positioning sense and his positional play, he has to be the best midfielder in the Bundesliga.
- Antonia da Silva’s substitution for Sven Bender was the greatest substitution ever made! Well it was due to an injury, but there may be something to it. da Silva set back and protected the backline, making his presence felt early and often. This allowed the rest of the midfield to move up in attack. During the first 15 minutes of the second half, where Dortmund scored their goals, Grosskreutz was playing as a forward and Sahin played so much higher on the pitch he was effectively a #10. For a searing stretch, Dortmund were playing 4-1-5.
- Manuel Freidrich has had better days. It would be hard to say he’s had many that were worse. On the first goal, he allowed the ball to get by him despite using his arms to control it. He lost Grosskruetz on the second off a flick-on by Lewandowski, as well. And as the elder statesman of that backline, he allowed their shape to break way too easily once they conceded the first.
- Shinji? Barrios? Zidane? Who are they? Meet Dortmund’s best forward: Robert Lewandowski. This was only his second start this year and he did so as a lone forward, the mythic English #9, battering the ball and waiting for every cross. And he was the MOM. His movement was pristine. Go back and watch the final goal and see where he is to receive the ball. If Groetze hadn’t nutmegged Adler, Lewandowski would have every right to have punched him in the sack. He set up the second with an amazing flick on. And his long distance bombs in the first half, not only rattled Adler, but pulled Bayer out of a deep line, allowing them to take advantage of his efforts in the second half.
- Now that Edin Dzeko is in England, can we finally start talking about Kiessling being the best linking forward in the league. He might have been before Dzeko left. Not only did he score, but was the one bright spot during an woeful Leverkusen performance.
- Dortmund is going to win the title. And deservedly so.