Dynamo Dresden 2-1 Bochum

The first half formations.

Bosnia and Herzegovina left-back Muhamed Subašić scored two goals on a memorable début as Dynamo Dresden defeated Bochum in a battle between two of 2. Bundesliga’s early season strugglers. However, the game was changed during the closing stages of the first half when Bochum’s Japanese winger Takashi Inui received a harsh second yellow card. His side had looked the slicker of the two teams for the majority of the opening 45 minutes, and their quality might just have seen them over the line had they kept 11 men on the pitch. But, they didn’t, and roared on by a vociferous home crowd, Dresden took full advantage, and move up from 16th to 10th in the league. Bochum, meanwhile, remain second bottom.

Match preview here.

Bochum got comfy in the opening stages, and knocked the ball about on the floor from touchline to touchline. Dresden sat off in a compact 4-4-2, not pressing too fiercely, and seemingly content to let their guests have the ball so that they could play on the counter. The home side looked stodgy and nervous when in possession, and could barely string two passes together, let alone play something good enough to splice the banks in Bochum’s off-ball 4-1-4-1.

Some individual play provided the match’s first chance, however, as Jong Tae-Se’s head-down dribble at the hosts’ defence drew a dangerously positioned free-kick in the ninth minute. Alas, the North Korean striker wasted the chance himself by blasting the shadow of the D located set-piece into the wall. It was a let off for Dresden really, as things weren’t going there way. With no one in midfield taking enough control of the ball (be it wanting possession or using it when given the chance), it was left to the centre-backs to pump the ball forward. However, the movement of the strikers’ wasn’t good enough to make this work, meaning possession was being handed back over to Bochum with embarrassing ease.

Although the visitors continued to play some pretty and calm stuff, there was nothing urgent or energetic about it, meaning the first 15 minutes were short on action and excitement. Perhaps sensing that they could press and profit from the lethargic-becoming Dresden defence, the away side began to press higher up the pitch. However, this provided Dresden with exactly the kind of gap they were looking for, as swashbuckling right-back Cheikh Gueye’s diagonal run from the channel found him heading towards the byline in behind both Matthias Ostrzolek and Takashi Inui. The Japanese youngster took one for the team, hauling down Gueye (who received the ball after a body-drawing one-two between Mickaël Poté and David Solga in the centre of the pitch), and conceding a free-kick right on the line that separates the penalty box from the rest of the pitch. After the referee had dished out a yellow card, the free-kick was wasted; but, at the very least, a warning shot had been fired.

As we neared the halfway point of the first half, Bochum’s formation had become narrower and now better resembled a 4-3-3. Nonetheless, the pace of their play hadn’t hastened, and even though a – decently pressed – spell in the 27th minute of ball-holding in the final-third resulted in a one-two that all-but released Inui on goal, Dresden had ample time to get back and poke the ball away from danger. Two minutes later, the hard-working Poté ruined an opening for Dresden; created by a superbly timed then well-placed headed flick-on from Zlatko Dedič, only for the Benin international to not bother looking before returning the pass.

With 15 minutes to go until half time, it was already obvious that if this cagey game wasn’t going to end 0-0, a mistake would decide things. Unless, of course, during the remaining hour, Dresden borrowed some of Bochum’s finesse and expansiveness on the ball, or the visitors took some of the hosts’ urgency. Playing at right-back, Paul Freier showed flashes of his nous and experience, and caused his direct opponent Filip Trojan all sorts of woe in both defence and attack. Yet Bochum never really stretched a side who were playing in the third division last season, and for a team so close to achieving promotion in May, this wasn’t good enough.

Things looked like they might have been about to get interesting in the 35th minute when Bochum got a bit too casual in their second-third sideways passing, allowing the ball-collecting Dedič to illustrate just why he was lurking so much deeper than his striking partner. Ever the experienced pro, Marcel Maltritz hauled the Slovenian attacker down, and Bochum defended the subsequently floated free-kick with the discipline of a side who’ve spent most of the last decade in the top-flight.

However, Dresden so nearly illustrated why Bochum are now second bottom of the second division in the 40th minute after winning a free-kick on the right wing (the bombaring Gueye drawing a panicky and needless trip from inexperienced midfielder Christoph Kramer). Trojan swung the set-piece in, and after the Bochum clearance went up in the air rather than out, Koch looped a header over the flapping Andreas Luthe. However, reading the situation superbly and thus, there on the line, was Maltritz; clearing the danger despite the muscular attention of Dedič.

The away side weren’t doing much with their own set-pieces, mind. This was encapsulated by Inui’s poor efforts on the stroke of half time. First, his right-footed inswinging corner weakly failed to evade the first man in yellow. Then, under no pressure to deliver the second ball, the Japanese attacker failed to clear the first man once again. Inui’s evening got even worse one minute after that, though, when he was shown a harsh second yellow card for leaving a boot in on Solga.

With Bochum’s players incensed by the decision, there was suddenly a newfound energy to the game. However, this resulted in the mistake I had mentioned earlier on – the one which would deliver this game a goal. Ginczek bulldozed his way into a needlessly overzealous challenge on Trojan down the left wing, allowing the former Mainz man the chance to deliver a free-kick that would be the final piece of action in the half. His ball was the perfect height and pace for those attacking it, and on his début, the unattended Muhamed Subašić placed a header from the centre of the box into the back of the net to give Dynamo Dresden a 1-0 lead!

The same twenty-one players returned for the second half , although after Bochum coach Friedhelm Funkel complained about Poté going down too easily and winning a free-kick, Bochum were nearly deprived of a man on the other side of the chalk too (the ref issued a warning rather than another sending off). Lining up in a 4-4-1, the visitors now at least had the chance to play on their break, which given that they had Jong Tae-Se making his first appearance of the season, probably actually meant they could play to another one of their strengths.

The Asian attacker won a free-kick from a dribble in the 50th minute, but his colleagues wasted it, allowing Dresden to break. However, this chance was also squandered – one of several attacks that ended in such a way during the opening stages of the second half. Although Dynamo were now playing more positively against the ten men, they also didn’t mind sitting off and letting Bochum come at them occasionally. Coach Ralf Loose knew that if he got ten men behind the ball as quickly as possible, there was nothing that the away side could do other than take extremely risky gambles. Thus, we saw Dedič making more of an attempted to get back when the hosts were out of possession during the half’s opening ten minutes.

The formations for the closing stages.

Poté, therefore, pressed with as much gusto as his lungs would let him, and, as a result, the Bochum midfield and defence had to make snap judgements when it came to deciding where and how best to get the ball into the final-third. They succeeded in doing so on a number of occasions, before finding themselves swamped when there. With Dresden not out to waste time in front of their passionate and noisy fans, Bochum hurried back as quickly as they could into two deep banks of four – Jong Tae-Se, like Poté, the lone presser, as his colleagues focused on conserving their energy.

Despite Poté now proving to be a real handful, drawing fouls and zooming onto through-balls, Dresden were still having the same technique problems as the first half, and thus, chances on goal were few and far between. Resultantly, they occasionally tried to stand and play a bit higher up the pitch as we entered the final half-hour. Seizing on this rather than buckling under the pressure, some quick passing football in the centre of their own half by Bochum allowed a ball to be shipped out to the disguised dart of Freier, who whipped in a cross for three box-reaching targets. A shot was eventually teed up for Kevin Vogt, but that got blocked, and Ginczek then wasted the second ball by closing his eyes and heading wide.

With desperation sinking its claws into the Bochum psyche, they were now making all their passing moves as speedy and expansive as they could, and this saw them get a hold on the game, and force Dresden into camping out in or near their own box. Funkel made a change with 20 minutes to go to help maintain this, replacing Ginczek with the more experienced Mirkan Aydın. When the passing football failed to tear holes, Funkel at least had Freier making incisions; the veteran was dribbling, nutmegging, crossing and shooting in an attack-focused second half performance. As for Dresden, their own full-backs were nowhere to be seen in the Bochum half, meaning that Trojan and Koch had to maintain the width, giving the visiting defence less to deal with on any crosses that landed in the box.

I can see the logic behind Loose keeping his full-backs deep at this stage of the game, as Dresden needed the points, and to ensure that they got them, risks had to be kept to a minimum. But, with the introduction of Aydın and the overlapping of Freier, Bochum were extremely narrow and exposed, and a better and more confident side would have been taking full advantage of this. Perhaps by replacing Trojan and Poté for Marcel Heller and Pavel Fořt (like for like substitutions), Loose was hoping to inject enough energy in the attack to negate the need for extra bodies down the flanks. More energy followed in the final ten minutes when Ioannis Papadopoulos replaced Maik Kegel – the Greek midfielder instantly making his presence felt with a box to box run and a crunching tackle.

Despite Bochum making another attacking change of their own, Vogt going off for Oğuzhan Kefkir, the momentum was all Dresden’s in the closing stages, as the substitutes took lung-bursting advantage of the gaps being left by their desperate opponents. And, after Kefkir handled on the edge of his own box in the 84th minute, determined to break whether by fair means or foul, Subašić rounded off a memorable début by scoring his second direct from the free-kick. 2-0 Dresden!

They had to endure a nervy bit of injury time after Jong Tae-Se laid off for a very late right-footed screamer from Aydın, but Dresden held on for what is only their second win of the 2011/12 season. Bochum, on the other hand, have gone from being Bundesliga hopefuls in May, to 2. Bundesliga no-hopers in September.

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