Klopp’s Tactical Gamble Backfires
Borussia Dortmund’s Jürgen Klopp has been regarded as one of the most respected managers in Europe after his back-to-back Bundesliga title wins in the last two seasons. But the honeymoon seems to be over, at least for this week, after a 2-1 home loss to fierce rivals Schalke in which Klopp used three at the back instead of his usual positioning. It didn’t work, but possibly more noteworthy are Lukasz Piszczek’s comments to bundesliga.com about how this tactic was not even tested in practice before the match.
bundesliga.com: And did you practice playing with just three back in training?
bundesliga.com: So Dortmund were trying out this variation for the first time against Schalke?
Piszczek: That’s right.
Bizarre. Schalke had not beaten Dortmund since 2009 in this league fixture and Dortmund were favorites to get points again at home, but the tactical change only served to make Dortmund look unorganized and lethargic. Furthermore, this is Germany’s biggest derby and Schalke were then (and still are) above Dortmund in the table. It’s much too early to presume Klopp’s gamble has lost them the title, but it is true that it’s a daunting task as they’re currently 12 points behind Bayern, who have set a record in winning all eight games this season.