Munich - They may be top of the table, but Borussia Dortmund’s early season progress hasn’t been quite as smooth as it may first appear.
Allow the number crunchers at bundesliga.com to elaborate…
Six games into the 2013/14 campaign,die Schwarzgelben are in the fortuitous position of looking down from up high on their Bundesliga assailants. With five wins and one draw, they are the top flight’s only outfit other than FC Bayern München boasting an unbeaten league record. They are also the division’s top scorers with 16 - six more than title-chasing foes Bayern.
Moreover, in , BVB can also claim to have the Bundesliga’s joint-top scorer (five) so far this term. (four) is also hot on the goalscoring trail, while summer recruit (three) and (two) complete the Yellow-Black quota in the leading marksmen’s top 25.
… the bad
So you might be asking what all the fuss is about. Well, following their best-ever start to a Bundesliga season - five wins from their opening five encounters - Dortmund’s form has stagnated somewhat. That’s not to say there is any shame in losing to SSC Napoli in the UEFA Champions League group stage, or being held to a draw by battling 1. FC Nürnberg. The bugbear in this instance concerns the nature of the goals conceded.
Prior to Tuesday’s over Bundesliga 2 side TSV 1860 Munich, BVB had shipped at least one in their last three league outings. Of the four league goals conceded in that time, three were from set pieces. A look even further back in time reveals yet another deadball gift against cellar-dwelling Eintracht Braunschweig on Matchday 2. What is more, of the 58 shots fired in at the BVB goal, 19 have come from set pieces; an average of three per game.
… and the ugly
All in all that’s five goals conceded in six Bundesliga matches: no problem there, but when you consider a league-high 60 per cent are a direct result of deadball scenarios, you can begin to see the problem. Dortmund simply do not have their heads switched on when it comes to defending free kicks and corners.
Indeed, BVB have already conceded two headed goals in the league this season, as well as one in the Champions League and DFL Supercup, Last term, only relegated SpVgg Greuther Fürth and play-off survivors 1899 Hoffenheim gave away more headed efforts than Dortmund (13), which just goes to show the potential gravity of the situation. Just as the apple fell for Newton, Dortmund fans will be hoping the penny swiftly follows suit for head coach Jürgen Klopp's men.