Praise for Mats Hummels after victory at 1860 Munich
MIt’s noisy in the stadium, with loud support, the players know each other Borussia Dortmund out. At home in their own arena anyway, but also away from home, the black and yellow fans usually know how to make themselves heard. In Munich, however, they had no chance in the first competitive game. The fans, not the team. The fact that the acoustic rating in the first round of the DFB Cup at TSV 1860 was clearly lost, even after the final whistle, when there was actually only something for Dortmund to celebrate, was to be overcome. Because everything else was pretty much perfect.
At the 3-0 win in front of 15,000 spectators against the third division club from Munich the problems of preparation all seemed to be solved at once. Unlike in the friendlies against Valencia and Villarreal, coach Edin Terzic relied on a back four – and the newly formed defense around Nico Schlotterbeck and Niklas Sule worked as if they had always played together.
When Süle complained of thigh problems during the break, he took over Mats Hummels his part – and according to his trainer, fitted in perfectly. “He was there straight away, very present, very strong in tackles, very clear in the passing game. That’s how we imagine it,” said Terzic.
The fact that Sébastien Haller was diagnosed with a tumor and that an important key position on the offensive is vacant for the time being was of little consequence on this rainy evening. Donyell Malen, Youssoufa Moukoko and Karim Adeyemi seemed keen to show that the club don’t have to scramble to replace Haller, who will be out for months. “Sébastien may not play with us, but that doesn’t prevent us from playing for him,” said Terzic.
Although TSV 1860 is now an ambitious third division club, it can normally not be a real benchmark for an equally ambitious top Bundesliga club. Tactically, running and qualitatively, the “lions” in the atmospheric traditional stadium on Gründwalder Straße were not competitive in this duel. In 90 minutes, they only had one shot on goal, while Dortmund shot 24 times.
BVB remains cautious
That, Jude Bellingham is sure, should be different next weekend when the Bundesliga starts. “Leverkusen will be tougher,” said the Englishman. And also sports director Sebastian Kehl doesn’t want to know that BVB has overcome all difficulties. “Where we stand,” he said, “can’t be said after this game.”
But games in the first round of the cup are not just about the quality on the pitch, but also about the mentality, the attitude. “It was much more difficult for us, because Sixty had nothing to lose,” said Adeyemi, describing the danger of duels with lower-class clubs. Legs and head worked great at Dortmund. “We showed the right body language right from the start,” said Terzic, calling his team’s performance “a mature performance”.
This led to a quick decision, largely thanks to a much-improved painting compared to last year. In the eighth minute, after his shot, the ball landed first on one post, then on the other, and from there bounced into the goal. After a good half hour, Malen was again too fast for the overwhelmed Sixty defense, now Jude Bellingham completed the attack and scored to make it 2-0 (31st).
The performance increase of the 23-year-old Dutchman, said Kehl, was already noticeable in the preparations. “He looks fresher, more positive, lighter.” When Adeyemi made it 3-0, the wet ball slipped out of the hands of the otherwise very good Munich goalkeeper Marco Piller (35′) and rolled into the net. “The victory could have been, or even should have been, much better,” said Kehl.
Terzic also saw a few deficits. “It wasn’t all good.” For example, the offensive game often concentrated too much in the center in the second half. “It got too tight,” criticized the BVB coach. In addition, they “allowed two or three chances from counterattacks”. Sixty, however, was unable to capitalize on these small mistakes.
Terzic sees the fact that the Westphalians were able to make a number of substitutions in the end without losing the flow of the game, for example the 17-year-old Jamie Bynoe-Gittens came on for national player Julian Brandt, as a result of Dortmund’s squad planning. “A team shows not only by the players who are on the field, but by how strong the bank is.”
In the first round of the cup, both were unexpectedly strong enough, the team on the pitch and the substitutes. If this were to happen again in the Bundesliga opener against Bayer Leverkusen next Saturday, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise. But definitely a small statement.