Borussia Dortmund learn valuable lessons in defeat to Atletico – Three thoughts from Atletico vs Dortmund

Borussia Dortmund learn valuable lessons in defeat to Atletico – Three thoughts from Atletico vs Dortmund

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Manuel Veth –

It has finally happened! Atletico vs Dortmund produced the first defeat for the Black and Yellows. Lucien Favre’s men had much of the possession at the Estadio Metropolitano but could not find a way through a well organised Atletico Madrid side.

Here are our three thoughts from Atletico vs Dortmund:

Atletico vs Dortmund – Dortmund lose for the first time under Lucien Favre

“Atlético were really really good in defence and were very dangerous whenever they won the ball back. We lost the ball too often, and they were really quick to counter,” Lucien Favre told the media after the match.

In some respects, it was a reverse of what happened in the first match. Diego Simeone managed to shut down Dortmund’s attacking channels and had his side play quick attacking football when going forward. “They were really tight and compact. We failed to find those balls between the lines,” Favre.

“We found ourselves in several dangerous situations. In games like this, you have to play with patience, you can’t go giving the ball away unnecessarily and you absolutely have to avoid giving the other team counter-attacking opportunities,” Favre added.

Atletico vs Dortmund - Borussia Dortmund's Swiss coach Lucien Favre gestures during the UEFA Champions League group A football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid on November 6, 2018. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

Atletico vs Dortmund – Borussia Dortmund’s Swiss coach Lucien Favre gestures during the UEFA Champions League group A football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid on November 6, 2018. (Photo by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

At the end of the day, that first defeat was always going to happen. Dortmund went into the match undefeated in 15 games under Lucien Favre. “Today ended in a defeat, it can happen: at the end of the day it’s just a game of football,” Favre said with his typical smile.

Atletico vs Dortmund – Lack of creativity cost Dortmund

“The result was clear enough,” Marco Reus admitted, before adding, “in my opinion, we shouldn’t have lost today as we controlled the first 30 minutes.” This was definitely true regarding possession as Dortmund had three-quarters of the ball in the first 30 minutes.

At the same time, however, Dortmund were never truly in control. Atletico produced several chances in the opening 30 minutes and Antoine Griezmann (10′) as well Angel Correa (14′ and 22′) had chances to score in the opening 30 minutes.

“After we conceded it was as if our game lost all its edge, we were no longer in control, and we lost our way. It wasn’t our best game, it’s our first defeat, and it was deserved in the end,” Reus admitted.

The Borussia captain is spot on with his assessment. Dortmund were playing like a boxer on the verge of being knocked out after conceding as Atletico produced four clear-cut chances just before halftime.

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In the second half, Dortmund produced just one chance. “If we’d managed to score in the 65′ minute then maybe the game would have turned out differently,” Mario Götze suggested after the match. In the last few weeks, Dortmund had always found a way to get back into a game but tonight at the Metropolitano that fleeting moment in which the Yellow and Blacks could have gotten back into the game failed to materialize as Raphaël Guerreiro’s header from just a few yards failed to hit the target.

Atletico vs Dortmund – Lessons for der Klassiker

“We have to play with more control and more focus, if we do so, we won’t lose games like this. Now we have to pick ourselves up for Saturday when it all gets underway again,” Marco Reus said.

It’s a really full on week what with Atlético and Bayern. As much as we would have loved to have got points on the board here, we can be proud of everything we’ve achieved up till now. We win, and we lose together. Saturday is a whole new match,” Mario Götze added.

Atletico Madrid's Ghanaian midfielder Thomas (L) vies with Borussia Dortmund's German midfielder Mario Goetze during the UEFA Champions League group A football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid on November 6, 2018. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Atletico Madrid’s Ghanaian midfielder Thomas (L) vies with Borussia Dortmund’s German midfielder Mario Goetze during the UEFA Champions League group A football match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Borussia Dortmund at the Wanda Metropolitan stadium in Madrid on November 6, 2018. (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Dortmund will be facing Bayern München on Saturday at home at the SIGNAL IDUNA Park. With a win, the Black and Yellows will be seven points ahead of their biggest rivals for this year’s Bundesliga title.

Bayern have been struggling all season and will be the underdogs going into the game, but Bayern head coach Niko Kovac has shown with his former club Eintracht Frankfurt that that sort of role suits him.

At Frankfurt, his tactics were, in fact, at times compared with Atletico Madrid. If Kovac manages to encapsulate Atletico’s performance from tonight and get his players to play a tight defensive game based on counter-attacking football Dortmund could find themselves with some major problems.

Hence, it will be important for Lucien Favre to draw the lessons from this one quickly and reset his tactical approach for Saturday’s game.


Manuel Veth is the owner and Editor in Chief of the Futbolgrad Network. He also works as a freelance journalist and among others works for the Bundesliga and Pro Soccer USA. He holds a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which is available HERE. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada.  Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.

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