Photo by Toby Melville | Reuters
The Bundesliga is approaching the end of its season with only three more matchdays to go. Bayern Munich is one win away from clinching the league title as they defeated Monchengladbach 2-1 on a late winner from midfielder Leon Goretzka. With the season winding down and the race for European play heating up, let’s look at my three takeaways from matchday 31.
- Dortmund needs serious creativity
Borussia Dortmund is without question the second-best team in Germany and a team that one can always expect to make the Champions League knockout round. However, ever since Jurgen Klopp lead Dortmund to the UCL Final in 2013, they have not been a truly elite team in European club football. Bayern’s dominance has been a part of it, but the biggest culprit is the lack of consistency in creativity. Captain Marco Reus is a Dortmund legend and he has been their main playmaker for many years. As great as he is, however, he is often injured, and Dortmund have sorely missed him as of late.
Yes, Dortmund ended up beating Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-0 on Saturday, but that was due to a last-minute goal from young phenom Erling Halaand. Ever since Dortmund destroyed Schalke 04 4-0 in the first game back since play resumed, Dortmund has not looked dominant offensively like we are accustomed to seeing. I see a lack of creativity and decisiveness in the attack which leads to a lot of stale shots instead of true chances. This summer, I think Dortmund should at the bare minimum try to sign a player that can give this team pace and creativity. I recommend looking in the Serie A for help.
- Alphonso Davies continues to flash on the screen
While Bayern Munich won 2-1 over Monchengladbach, it certainly wasn’t easy. They were without superstar striker Robert Lewandowski and needed a late goal to achieve victory to put themselves in position to wrap up the Bundesliga title on Tuesday. While shorthanded, they got a boost from Canadian leftback Alphonso Davies. He passed it through multiple Monchengladbach defenders and ended up with defender Bejamin Pavard. He passed it to Goretzka who put it away to give Bayern the lead and the victory.
Davies once again made the biggest play of the day for them like he has often done since play resumed. He is a difference maker at the leftback and can be a force everywhere on the pitch. While he doesn’t stuff the staff sheet, you can easily tell how valuable he is for Bayern just by watching him play and the impact he makes in every match.
- Will the real Bayer Leverkusen please step forward?
Bayer Leverkusen is a team I have discussed plenty when writing these takeaways and for good reason. They have been the most inconsistent team in the Bundesliga by far since play resumed and Sunday’s draw against Schalke confirms this. With Monchengladbach’s loss to Bayern and last week’s loss to SC Freiburg, Leverkusen had a golden opportunity to gain ground over Monchengladbach for the final UCL spot. While losing to Bayern is understandable, drawing against Schalke is a head-scratcher.
Schalke is a team that hasn’t won a Bundesliga game since January 17, which was also the last time they scored multiple goals in a match. Today, they gave up a penalty to Schalke and drew 1-1 despite dominating possession. They missed winger Leon Bailey who missed the game due to the birth of his child, but they needed this. Schalke has had a disastrous run of form. Leverkusen couldn’t capitalize on their possession and lost a chance to gain three points and put themselves three points ahead of Monchengladbach for fourth place. While they are a point ahead, the margin of error has thinned. If they are to qualify for UCL play, they need to play consistently well their last three games of the season.