Borussia Dortmund: The Lucien Favre effect

Borussia Dortmund couldn’t have got off to a worse start under Lucien Favre in the Bundesliga. It took RB Leipzig just 31 seconds on Sunday evening to take the lead at the Westfalenstadion as fans in attendance were in shock. Life under the Swiss tactician wasn’t supposed to start like this but to be fair, Dortmund-Leipzig was always going to be the game people had their eyes on in the opening round of fixtures as it was always going to involve goals.

Credit where it’s due though. Despite RB Leipzig’s possession in the first-half, it was Borussia Dortmund who posed more of a threat going forward – something you would expect to see under Favre. Die Schwarzgelben equalised through a Mahmoud Dahoud header before Marcel Sabitzer’s own goal gave Dortmund the lead after 40 minutes. Minutes later, Axel Witsel capped off his Bundesliga debut with a goal just before the break.

But for Borussia Dortmund’s attacking threat, they must be thankful for Roman Burki. The stopper denied RB Leipzig from scoring on several occasions, mainly through defensive errors. Something that Favre will be keen to iron out.

The second-half was very similar to the first. For all the possession that RB Leipzig had, Ralf Rangnick’s side were unable to find a way back into the game even with the introduction of Timo Werner. Favre’s Dortmund once again looked a threat on the break, something we saw so often during his time at Borussia Monchengladbach and OGC Nice.

Borussia Dortmund’s win over RB Leipzig has shown that they are clinical when given the chance. Movement in the final third is clearly something Favre has been working on during these early days at Dortmund and if they’re able to maintain it for the season as well as shoring up their defence, they could well be up there with Bayern Munich.

There were plenty of positives to note in an attacking sense, it’s still evident that CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke and Borussia Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc must work in these coming days to secure a striker before Friday’s deadline. The Bundesliga club appear to have struck a €2 million loan deal with Barcelona for Paco Alcacer, which includes a €25m purchase option.

The 24-year-old Spaniard will add depth to Borussia Dortmund’s attack and will also add something different to what both Max Philipp and Marco Reus can offer, with Sweden international Alexander Isak the only other viable option and so with Champions League football and DFB Pokal to contend with, it’s vital that Dortmund can get this deal done.

Should Alcacer arrive, then it’s fair to argue that Borussia Dortmund have had one of the most impressive summer transfer windows from a Bundesliga club. Abdou Diallo arrived from Mainz as one of the Bundesliga’s best central defenders last season as although their defence against RB Leipzig looked nervous, more minutes with Favre’s back-four will hopefully eliminate these early shaky moments.

The arrival of Thomas Delaney from Werder Bremen wasn’t held in high regard by Dortmund fans, but the signing of Belgium international Axel Witsel to play alongside the Dane improves Dortmund’s midfield immensely. Together, the duo adds much needed energy to Dortmund’s side while it will allow freedom to either Mahmoud Dahoud or Mario Gotze, dependent on who plays.

It’s also easy to forget Borussia Dortmund have Julian Weigl at their disposal. The 22-year-old German midfielder was expected to depart the club for either Paris Saint-Germain or a move to the Premier League but for BVB bosses to convince Weigl to remain at the club shows the power the Bundesliga club holds having once being criticised for being a selling club.

So all in all, Borussia Dortmund have opened up their 2018/19 Bundesliga campaign rather convincingly. Conceding a 31 second goal against RB Leipzig on the opening day, arguably against your league rivals given they’ll both be challenging this season, was always going to be a test of character. Borussia Dortmund overcame that test and the side Favre has inherited will certainly grow from this performance.

MD1 Bundesliga Results

Bayern Munich 3-1 TSG 1899 Hoffenheim

Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-2 FC Augsburg

Hertha Berlin 1-0 Nurnberg

Freiburg 0-2 Eintracht Frankfurt

Wolfsburg 2-1 Schalke 04

Werder Bremen 1-1 Hannover 96

Borussia Monchengladbach 2-0 Bayer Leverkusen

Mainz 1-0 Stuttgart

Borussia Dortmund 4-1 RB Leipzig

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