In probably the most highly anticipated match of the Bundesliga this weekend Borussia Dortmund took on Borussia Monchengladbach, with Gladbach looking to retain their place at the top of the table. Dortmund came into the game looking to improve on three consecutive 2-2 draws in the Bundesliga, and were able to do so by picking up a somewhat fortunate 1-0 win over Gladbach. This tactical analysis will look at the problems Gladbach had in the game, and how Dortmund were able to exploit them.
Dortmund lined up in a 4-4-2 while Gladbach took up a 4-2-3-1 formation, which due to its nature saw a constant fluctuation between this and other formations. This was a surprising change from Gladbach’s usual diamond formation, with Rose clearly looking to protect the wide areas more effectively and prevent Dortmund’s offensive tactics this way.
Gladbach’s alternating shape
Gladbach’s shape changed depending on the position of the ball and the type of press they therefore employed. In high areas of the pitch, Gladbach stuck to their 4-2-3-1 as we can see below. This meant that the wide players within the three pressed Dortmund’s full backs rather than Gladbach’s central midfielders performing this role, as they do when Gladbach play with a diamond. This allowed them to stay slightly more compact and to protect the wide areas more effectively, and also allowed an easy transition into their deeper shape.
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