Analysis - Steffen Freund on Borussia Dortmund
Tue 12 February 2019, 12:05|Tottenham Hotspur
Bundesliga and Champions League winner with Borussia Dortmund, Euro 96 winner with Germany, former Spurs player, coach and cult hero and now one of the most respected TV pundits in Germany, Steffen Freund won it all for BVB before becoming a fans’ favourite at White Hart Lane.
The two sporting loves of his life are set to meet for the third time in four seasons in a fascinating Champions League, last 16 clash over two legs on Wednesday at Wembley and then back in Dortmund on Tuesday 5 March.
Here, Steffen runs the rule over BVB ahead of the first leg...
Steffen on... Borussia Dortmund
“First, you have to remember last season. Spurs played Borussia Dortmund in the group stage of the Champions League and after Thomas Tuchel left (at the end of 2016/17) they had two new coaches in one season (Peter Bosz, Peter Stoger) and that’s why it was really difficult to be successful. Nothing worked last season. However, if you are one of the biggest clubs and you make the right decisions, you can jump quickly back to the top again. Borussia Dortmund is a big club and they changed nearly everything. They have a new coach in Lucien Favre and a lot of new players - Manuel Akanji, who is a big miss at the moment (with a groin injury), Paco Alcacer, Axel Witsel, Thomas Delaney, Achraf Hakimi - all good quality players. The central midfield is now completely different with Witsel and Thomas Delaney, experience, individual quality and Witsel is a leader, with and without the ball."
Steffen on... BVB now
"The biggest problem for Borussia Dortmund at the moment is the defence. Normally it would be Akanji and Dan-Axel Zagadou, both physically strong, clever, good one against one and they have improved a lot in the last six months. Now it looks like neither are available with Julian Weigl, normally a central midfielder and Abdou Diallo, who was left-back at Mainz last season, playing in central defence (Weigl is also now injured). In the last game against Hoffenheim they were 3-0 up but conceded three goals in the last 15 minutes. They completely lost their organisation, and that’s unusual for Borussia Dortmund. That shows they are not so well organised without the two regular centre-halves. Trust me, if they do that against Spurs, they will lose the game. So the focus for them after that 3-3 is to be solid, stronger in the defence and they need the leadership from the likes of Witsel. Borussia Dortmund are also missing Marco Reus (also injured), who is very influential, very much like Harry Kane at Spurs.”
Steffen on... Jadon Sancho
“I think he’s the perfect example maybe for the future for lots of German clubs because to break into a team in the top six of the Premier League for a young player is really difficult. That’s why Borussia Dortmund signed Sancho (from Manchester City) and if you let them play, with that talent, I believe that young players can grow quickly. His talent with the ball is unbelievable. He’s so skilful, left and right, pace and movement, when he passes defenders he looks unstoppable. He is one of the reasons why Borussia Dortmund are so dangerous and he has nine assists (and seven goals) in the Bundesliga already this season."