This game was wild. Borussia Dortmund were all over the place in their twelfth Bundesliga match of the season, and I can’t remember another time where they scraped out a win despite being absolutely shell-shocked by the other team like this. Eintracht Frankfurt were formidable going forward, and kept a whopping 59% of the possession against the Black & Yellows, which is completely unheard of for both sides when facing one another, and for Dortmund in general. Despite this, the likes of Gregor Kobel and Nico Schlotterbeck came out clutch to save the day, and Frankfurt couldn’t make the most of their chances. With that, here is our tactical analysis of this stunning match of football, and how both teams need to progress moving forward.
EINTRACHT FRANKFURTEmbed from Getty Images
Frankfurt set up in their typical 3-4-2-1 formation, with Jesper Lindstrøm and Mario Götze gaining leeway in the half-spaces around Bellingham and Özcan. They were excellent in rotating around in the attack to create space for Randal Kolo Muani, who frequently drifted into the half-spaces himself to escape the shackles of Schlotterbeck and Hummels. Muani was absolutely impeccable on the day in finding space to receive and then driving forward with the ball, using his pace, power and physicality to get the better of defensively-minded midfielders like Özcan and Can. Easily Frankfurt’s star of the night, Muani wonderfully found space to receive in front of Hummels and then create the opening goal for Daichi Kamada. He did so by attracting the attention of both Özcan and Bellingham, where Kamada was then free to receive in space for the fiery finish.
He then should have had three or four goals himself, and had it not been for the combined efforts of the goal-post and Gregor Kobel, he easily could have seen a hat-trick come to fruition.Embed from Getty Images
But Frankfurt’s dominance on the ball was still a bit of a surprise. Both teams had Champions League fixtures to worry about mid-week, so Dortmund were not coming into the match any leggier than Oliver Glasner’s men. With the likes of Daichi Kamada and Obite Evan Ndicka in the side, you’re always going to get a valiant effort from SGE, but this was one of their best performances of the season against a rocky Dormtund side that constantly looked shell-shocked from their attacking moves.Embed from Getty Images
Ndicka nicely carried the ball out from the back to force Dortmund players out of position, and Kamada nicely roamed around in his central midfield position. They then had the width from Luca Pellegrini to deliver crosses and receive in between Dortmund’s fullback and wing pairing, which only compounded matters for the Black & Yellows as they tried to thwart Frankfurt’s rotations. It was chaos at the back for most of the second-half, as Frankfurt sucker-punched Terzic’s side over and over.
In the end, they should have and could have easily scored three or four up against Edin Terzic’s side, and were incredibly unlucky to come away from the match without a point.
BORUSSIA DORTMUNDEmbed from Getty Images
Borussia Dortmund can be counting their lucky stars following the match, and had it not been for Schlotterbeck and Kobel, this match easily would have ended in a Frankfurt victory. There were times in Edin Terzic’s first run at manager where he purposefully relinquished possession to allow the best out of Dortmund’s quick attacking transitions. But this was a completely different matter. I’ve never seen Bellingham so tired across a first half, and it could be the case where his impeccable stamina eventually starts to dwindle down due to the pressure of the amount of matches he’s been asked to play at such a young age. It’s rare for such an energetic, mobile, and hard-working player to be able to play every single minute of action for so many years in a row, and usually those players (Højbjerg, Robertson, Bruno Fernandes, etc.) are in their mid-twenties when they accomplish the feat. Yet after his goal, Bellingham found a sudden boost in energy, and suddenly looked like the star on the night yet again.Embed from Getty Images
The way he carried the ball up the field with class and composure was a major hallmark of Dortmund’s performance on the night as it has been for the youngster all season long, and Tuta had no choice but to karate chop him at the end of the game out of frustration. Muani could even take a lesson or two from Bellingham’s second-half blast into the back of the net, where he mixed pure composure with pace in firing the ball into the back of the net rather than going for the suave and sophisticated finish.
The 19-year-old also made nice work of his defensive challenges after moving to that ’10’ position, providing more steel and gusto up against the carrying power of Frankfurt’s centre-halves. Özcan meanwhile had a decent afternoon in breaking up the play in transition, which has been a major upside of his play since moving to the club. But sometimes the gaps between himself and Bellingham were simply too large, and this is where the likes of Muani, Kamada and Lindstrøm often found room to receive in those half-spaces.
Hummels had a mix bag of fun on the night, combining pure class in his challenges with pure nonsense in other moments, and Nico Schlotterbeck had to make up for several team errors, including getting a strong thigh on the powerful shot from ex-Dortmund man Götze to save the day. But they only had so much defending to do because of Frankfurt’s energy and gusto in defense, and their own failures in breaking through the lines like they normally might. They couldn’t find a way to get Bellingham on the ball in central spaces throughout the first-half, and they only had success in attacking down Frankfurt’s weaker right, where Malen made a fool of Tuta for the opening goal.
Had Raphael Guerreiro been on the pitch, you can imagine Dortmund’s incisiveness in breaking down this side of the pitch would have been more fruitful, injecting some variety into the movements around the Frankfurt defense. In the end, Dortmund were incredibly lucky to win the match on such a low xG, and must work to get Marco Reus back into the team as soon as possible.
So there it is! A match analysis of Frankfurt’s stunning loss to Dortmund in Matchday 12 of the Bundesliga’s 2022-23 season. Be sure to check out more of our Bundesliga content, Match Analyses, and don’t forget to follow on social media @mastermindsite to never miss an update. Thanks for reading and see you soon!
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