When coach Lucien Favre was at Borussia Dortmund in late November, he dared to change the system. And it works: BVB won all four consecutive matches, in the 4-0 win at FSV Mainz 05 even in an inspiring way.
The crucial question was answered by Julian Weigl right after the final whistle in Mainz. "He found it out himself," Weigl said. He, it's coach Lucien Favre. Of course, it was about the new system, which Dortmund recently gave four competing matches in a row. It was about 3-4-3.
Since joining the summer of 2018, Favre has largely relied on a 4-2-3-1, sometimes with minor modifications. However, he never moved away from the back four. When he was finishing in late November after a 0: 4 defeat at FC Bayern Munich, a 3: 3 against the promoted team SC Paderborn and a 1: 3 at FC Barcelona, everything was put to the test . The system as well.
"Before the Hertha game, we sat down and discussed a lot," says Sebastian Kehl, head of the Mainz licensing team. Weigl also reported discussions between the team council and Coach Favre regarding the system. Favre then dared to switch to a 3-4-3. It was his last cartridge, so to speak. And she sat.
Julian Weigl praises: "System change has done us good"
Dortmund won with a lot of fight, numbered 45 minutes, initially 2-1 at Hertha BSC. This was followed by a convincing 5-0 victory over Fortuna Düsseldorf, where Dortmund did not allow a single shot on goal, and a happy 2-1 victory in the Champions League against Slavia Prague, which brought the team into the 16th round. However, instead of the system, keeper Roman Bürki was the winner. After the match, Favre praised him: "He drew the right conclusions from the crisis, changed the system and managed to keep the team behind him."
And now this 4-0 victory in Mainz. Dortmund, as against Düsseldorf, did not allow a single opposing shot on goal and showed offensive, sometimes enthusiastic football. "The system change did us good," Weigl confirmed. "It was the right step for safety in the back, and the self-esteem that holds the ball is slowly coming back." Kehl said: "We believe this formation gives us more stability, with three people in defense, but also more options on the outside and in the storm."
And in fact: the system transition is a win-win situation for Dortmund. The team is better behind, and plays more creatively up front. The new system fits perfectly with the existing player material.
Julian Brandt is the big winner of the transition
In Mainz, Manuel Akanji, Mats Hummels and Dan-Axel Zagadou formed the triple chain. The building game was largely taken over by Hummels, who played some good passes in the top – such as in the 12th minute of Marco Reus. The most striking representative of the triple chain was Zagadou, who not only won a strong nearly 73 percent of his duels, but also prepared Jadon Sancho's 2-0 victory with a ball win and subsequent sprint across the pitch. All three acted defensively – against admittedly harmless Mainz – very stable.
Probably the biggest winner of the system transition is midfielder Julian Brandt, who after several weeks of almost desperate search for a position now lies just ahead of Julian Weigl at eight. A position that was made for him. As with the previous matches, Brandt also gave good ideas and a number of opening cards to the interfaces in Mainz. After Achraf Hakimi, Brandt recorded the second most ball actions, against Düsseldorf and Prague he had the most. Above all, the interaction with Marco Reus, who acts like the wrong nine, works fabulous.
BVB receives RB Leipzig on Tuesday
Wingers Sancho and Thorgan Hazard also benefited from the change. Since the two outfielders (in Mainz it was Hakimi and Nico Schulz) move extremely high in 3-4-3 thanks to the protection of three central defenders and the top Reus often drops, Sancho and Hazard can slide into the center and there with their technical Skills in a confined space provide a goal. They both met Mainz, and Sancho also prepared a goal.
The system change probably saved Favre the coach post and brought Dortmund four wins. So far, however, there have been no real touchstones. This will already follow on Tuesday when Dortmund receives the least temporary series manager RB Leipzig (8.30 in LIVETICKER). With victory, third-placed Dortmund could advance to the bulls to one point.