Agnibha Ghosh / 26 September 2015

Probably, the most loved and respected club with the most passionate fan base is Borussia Dortmund. After the disappointment of last season and the departure of the talismanic Jurgen Klopp, very few expected to see the exciting BVB back. But, BVB is back with a bang. They didn’t spend the astronomical amount in the transfer window, still they are sitting only below Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga table with 16 points from 6 matches. After, winning 7 of the 8 pre-season and friendly matches (including a thumping 2-0 victory over Juventus), they continued spellbinding form with 5 wins and 1 draw in 6 Bundesliga matches, with proceeding to Round-2 of DFB-Pokal and knocking out Wolfsberger AC and Odd with 6-0 and 11-5 aggregate to sit at the top in the UEFA Europa league Group C table with a win under their belt. Football fans all over the world are gushing over Borussia Dortmund. Posts and memes with the writing ”Happiness is to see BVB back again” are umpteen these days on the internet. But, what caused the upturn of fortune for BVB even without a certain Mr.Klopp? Basically, the outstanding form of Marco Reus, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan coupled with the tactical attributes of Tuchel is to be credited largely. Henrikh Mkhitaryan scored 9, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang netted 9, Marco Reus scored 6, Shinji Kagawa netted 5. Besides, these attacking midfielders, forwards coming up with almost as many assists as their goals. Let’s have a scrutiny with scrupulous details.

The credit of the success must go to the manager Thomas Tuchel, the man is pivotal in BVB’s success. His squad rotation policy and usage of players is exceptionally good. The way he turned Henrikh Mkhitaryan into a goal and assist machine is commendable. Klopp played long-ball tactics last season, which doesn’t suit Mkhitaryan’s game. Tuchel has discarded the long-ball tactics, he is concentrating on build-up play and ball possession. As a result, Mkhitaryan is getting success. Tuchel is deploying Gundogan in a much deeper role – sometimes he drops between 2 CBs -that allows Gundogan to get more space and it outnumbers the opponents. Weigl is being used brilliantly in the Left-6 role and as the blocker in front of the 4 defenders. Tuchel’s ability to get the best out of the players is evident from the newfound brilliant form of left-back Marcel Schmelzer. Klopp’s Geggenpressing flopped last season. Besides its tactical failure, Geggenpressing was indulging the footballers into physical battles, resulting in injuries. During his Mainz days, Tuchel was successful in implementing Geggenpressing, but here he discarded it. Rejecting long balls, he has implemented a possession-based playing style, kinda like tiki-taka, where the game is orchestrated from the back. Hummels and Gundogan are deployed as deep-lying playmakers. Here, the ball is passed to a central midfielder, who plays short one-twos with the number 8s ahead of him. The attacking midfielder then moves wide with the striker moving into the focal point. In Tuchel’s system, fullbacks are pushing high, the fullbacks are overloading the wings, Shinji Kagawa overloads left side after that, to allow Striker and Reus move into proper space. The cut-backs targeted to Reus is helping his game. Basically, Tuchel is playing a 4-2-3-1 with Gundogan and Heigl as double pivots or reverts to 4-1-4-1 with Heigl in front of the defence. When pressing, Gundogan leads the way. BVB’s quick transitions or quick switches have flummoxed the opponents. While defending, BVB is maintaining a high line to frustrate and block the opponents. Tactically, Tuchel is so flexible that he always seem to have Plan A, B, C, D, and E under his sleeve. They are playing much narrower and close down much more with and without the ball. An improved positional structure and proper deployment of left half-space with Kagawa, Mkhitaryan, Heigl and Hummels acting around this area have been his key to success.

Before the beginning of the season, the departure of Jurgen Klopp and the doubt over the future of Hummels, Gundogan and Reus made the mood of the fans pensive, the cracks on their forehead have now disappeared considering the brilliant start of BVB. They certainly look to give Bayern a run for their money..’’ECHTE LIEBE’’ ain’t it?

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