Dortmund Falls Asleep: How A Lazy Offside Trap Allowed Juventus to Score

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Juventus’ 3-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund was well deserved, particularly since the Italian club turned in a spectacular second half performance. However, Dortmund also has itself to blame for failing to take advantage of a second leg played at home. Roman Weidenfeller’s hesitation in diving to save Carlos Tevez’s speculative long-range strike in the 3rd minute certainly threw Jurgen Klopp’s side off its game. However, the disastrous high line that the team employed while pushing for an equalizer also played a part. Here is the crucial moment in the 70th minute when things took a turn.

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This is the moment in which Jakub “Kuba” B?aszczykowski fails to see the quick thinking of Claudio Marchisio, who sends in a lovely chipped ball to Carlos Tevez. The pacy Argentine, in turn, plays in Alvaro Morata for the second, tie-deciding strike.

While the incident could certainly be explained away as “just one of those things that happens in soccer,” it also comes at a moment in which Dortmund should have been far more focused on playing a sound offside trap.

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Pictured above mere moments before the goal is the Dortmund defense, situated in a nice line only a few yards in front of the 18-yard box. Though the camera unfortunately doesn’t track the line’s movement, we catch a brief glimpse as the shot pans right of the defenders running forward once Juventus’ Arturo Vidal plays the ball back to his own half. They are, perhaps, setting up the trap.

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The Juventus defense, despite sitting on a one goal lead (or perhaps because of it), wastes no time in moving the ball forward again. Leonardo Bonucci picks up Vidal’s pass and quickly finds Stephan Lichtsteiner out wide. By now the Dortmund defense is already casually jogging up pitch, but all is not well. Kuba watches as Vidal points to Marchisio for a pass, and perhaps fails to notice Neven Subotic running forward to his left, thereby making him the last defender.

As in the first leg, Dortmund’s mistake may have been in expecting Juventus to pass the ball slowly through the midfield, rather than take a more direct route. Even so, with so many Juventus players that far forward, the high line should have been more alert.

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Now comes the moment of Marchisio’s one-touch, dinked through ball. The entire Juventus attack knows exactly what’s happening. Even with the easily broken offside trap, there is still time for Dortmund to track back and break things up. Yet only Subotic attempts to do so. Ilkay Gundogan, perhaps believing it isn’t his job, fails to move at all despite finding himself deployed as a temporary central defender. Similarly, Kuba is also too late in reacting.

All this information begs the very simple question: what’s the deal, Dortmund?

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