Borussia Dortmund thrashed Eintracht Frankfurt 5-2 on the opening weekend of the 2021/22 Bundesliga season but how, apart from with a little help from Erling Haaland, did they do it?
Using Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS, bundesliga.com finds out...
Frankfurt travelled to Dortmund on the back of a DFB Cup first-round defeat to third-tier Waldhof Mannheim - not the ideal start to Oliver Glasner's tenure as head coach. New BVB boss Marco Rose, meanwhile, had overseen a comfortable 3-0 victory over 3. Liga's Wehen Wiesbaden, in which Haaland scored all three goals.
Although both coaches are students of the Red Bull school - where aggressive Gegenpressing and quick transitions are king - it was Rose's interpretation that prevailed in front of 25,000 fans at the Signal Iduna Park.
Dortmund's turnovers were brilliantly uncomplicated and incisive to boot. Their first two goals are a case in point: quick counters straight up the middle of the pitch, finished with aplomb. On each occasion, Haaland barreled through the Frankfurt defence, before teeing up Marco Reus and Thorgan Hazard respectively.
Haaland then used his game-leading pace (22.33mph/35.94km/h) to add a third after Reus had instinctively flicked goalkeeper Gregor Kobel's long punt into his path. Frankfurt defender Stefan Ilsanker was left trailing in the Norwegian's wake; custodian Kevin Trapp had no chance with the finish. Haaland was involved in Gio Reyna's effort for 4-1, his deflected shot falling kindly for the American, and fired in the fifth himself.
Watch: Dortmund 5-1 Frankfurt - in 60 seconds!
Haaland has now scored a scarcely believable 62 goals in 61 competitive outings for Dortmund, including five of the club's six already this season. That's despite an average team Expected Goals (xG) rating of 2.71. In other words, they've outscored their xG by 2.29 goals.
Their first-half goals against Frankfurt were the result of attacks down the middle, but their favoured 'Attacking Zone' was actually the right-hand side with Hazard. A total of 48 per cent of their attacks were played out in that area, compared to 21 per cent in the right- and left-sided central channels. Even after the break when Dortmund - leading 3-1 - played with less width, the right zone was still their predominant single channel of attack (37 per cent). The two central channels accounted for 45 per cent.
The 'Average Positions' illustrate how Dortmund - and Hazard in particular - narrowed after the restart. As a result, BVB made it very difficult for Frankfurt to make in-roads in the central attacking areas. Only 18 per cent of their attacks went through the middle. Time and again in the first half, Aymen Barkok and Daichi Kamada were forced out to the left-hand side, where Filip Kostic was stationed, leaving holes in the Dortmund half.
Glasner reacted by hooking Barkok and Kamada at the break. The introduction of Jens Petter Hauge, who stuck to his task as a right-sided No.10, allowed Frankfurt to play with more width. "After the break, we improved significantly. We switched things up and were dangerous going forward," commented Glasner after the game.
With so many of Dortmund's first-half attacks going through Hazard up the right, it's no surprise that he was the 'Most Pressed Player' in the first 45. BVB continuously sought out the Belgian, who was pressed 23 times by the opposition. Over the 90 minutes, however, it was Reyna who topped the pile. With a creative influence in the No.8 role that only grew as the contest wore on, the 18-year-old American was pressed on 41 occasions.
Ultimately, Dortmund's work against the ball - personified by Haaland - was decisive. The 21-year-old won a game-leading 22 of his attempted challenges, while BVB triumphed in 125 - or 57 per cent - of theirs. Frankfurt, by contrast, won 95. Aggressive pressing and Gegenpressing enabled Dortmund to win back and enjoy more possession. Die Schwarzgelben's total possession never dropped below 60 per cent across the game.
Add rapier-like pace in behind, superior positioning, ruthless tackling and efficiency in front of goal, and an unplayable Haaland to the mix, and it is little wonder Rose was so pleased with his side's performance.
"My team played brilliantly in front of 25,000 fans, I'm so, so pleased," he told Sky.
"On Tuesday we can measure ourselves against the best team in Germany," he continued, looking ahead to the Supercup showdown with record champions Bayern Munich.
After that, Dortmund take on an Augsburg team beaten 4-0 at home by Hoffenheim on Matchday 1.
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