Dortmund’s new power from the middle

After a short settling time, the Belgian Axel Witsel is the driver of the Dortmund game.
Together with Thomas Delaney and Mo Dahoud BVB has virtually a completely new midfield in the field.
Tactically, these three players are very variable and difficult to calculate for opponents.
By Ulrich Hartmann, Dortmund
“Crazy,” said Axel Witsel again and again. But he did not say it shrilly or excitedly, but rather in a calm manner with a rather sober tone. The 29-year-old Belgian speaks in much the same way as he plays football, and how he played in front of 80 000 spectators on Sunday and won 4: 1 against RB Leipzig with his new club Borussia Dortmund was really “crazy” everywhere. Crazy how Leipzig took the lead after 31 seconds. Crazy how Dortmund had turned the game in spite of Leipzig dominance already at break in a 3: 1. Crazy, as Witsel had scored the third goal by spectacular Seitfallzieher. And crazy, that after the 4: 1 by Marco Reus in stoppage time suddenly also sole championship leader was. Dortmund first, Bayern second, Leipzig last.

Witsel has been training recently with Borussia Dortmund under Lucien Favre. He has only completed three competitive half-seasons with this team, but one already has the feeling that he has been directing this team for years. His presence and overview, but above all the calmness he radiates on the ball, are remarkable. At the Pokalkrimi in F├╝rth, he came on a quarter of an hour before the end and scored in injury time the equalizer, which rescued Dortmund in extra time, in which Marco Reus scored late the winner. On Sunday against Leipzig scored Witsel two minutes before the break that 3-1, which decided the game actually for Leipzig prematurely for Dortmund.

Witsel acted like the hedgehog from the children’s story of the hare and the hedgehog. Came in the BVB defensive danger, he was behind the back to clarify. Was in midfield the game raised, he was the ball distributor. And there was a chance in front, as in the 43rd minute, when Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi bounced off a header from Thomas Delaney, Witsel was also back to artistically push the ball into the net. “I’m already there,” the hedgehog said during the race again and again to the perplexed rabbit, but the hedgehogs were two, they were tricking. Witsel does everything alone.

“There is no secret,” said the Belgian after the game in the cabin with a big smile. The fact that he plays so sovereign after such a short familiarization period, that he is the most dangerous Dortmund and two goals best shooter and that he forms with Delaney and Mahmoud Dahoud a midfield triangle, as the BVB last had none, the astonished the observers.


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