Why Jurgen Klopp Is Under the Most Pressure for Dortmund Following Recent Loss

Stefan BienkowskiFeatured ColumnistAugust 25, 2014

Dortmund's head coach Juergen Klopp comforts player Erik Durm after the German Bundesliga soccer match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen in Dortmund,  Germany, Saturday, Aug. 23, 2014. Borussia was defeated by Bayer with 0-2. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Jurgen Klopp will be in a foul mood at Borussia Dortmund training sessions this week. With only one game gone in the new Bundesliga season, his team already find themselves three points behind Bayern Munich, following a surprise defeat to Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday. 

Yet it won't be any player or tactic that will have the usually enthusiastic manager in a poor mood. It will be his own guidance and actions before the match that will be bringing him down. For the players that he chose on the day ultimately fell apart against a determined Leverkusen side because of him and his uncharacteristically poor judgement. 

The most obvious problem with Dortmund's setup on Saturday was the nature of their central midfield pairing of Sebastian Kehl and Milos Jojic.

Kehl, the former club captain for a number of years, has long looked passed his best in the yellow and black of Dortmund and once again found himself chasing shadows around the park. Jojic, on the other hand, suffered from the opposite problem: too little experience in handling a side that planned to close Klopp's team down from the very first minute. 

Martin Meissner/Associated Press

Such a game was screaming out for the expertise of Sven Bender; a central midfielder admired across the continent for his subtle technical ability to keep possession of the ball as well as match any opponent in a physical sense across the park. 

Dortmund never looked in control of the match because they never had any say over possession of the ball in the middle of the pitch. That was through the absence of Bender and ultimately the fault of the coach. 

What then followed as a reaction to such a dismissive midfield performance was the inevitable demolition of Dortmund's back line. 

Klopp raised a few eyebrows prior to the match when he decided to give Matthias Ginter his first Bundesliga game for the club against a tricky top-four opponent, while a reasonably fit Neven Subotic took his place on the bench. 

Of course, it wasn't all Ginter's fault. Lukasz Piszcek looked completely uninterested throughout the match and Erik Durm seemed far from sharp enough to be starting a match so soon after his return from the World Cup in Brazil, but at times it seemed as though Sokratis Papastathopoulos was the only defender on the park. 

Some fans will point to the fact that Subotic has only just returned from injury, but following a full 90 minutes of football against Stuttgarter Kickers a week before, it is unlikely that the Serbian defender would have offered significantly more than what was on show. 

Klopp simply picked the wrong men for his back line, and his team paid the price. 

One final fault that clearly stuck out during Saturday's performance was the glaring drop in intensity from Dortmund's best player: Marco Reus. 

Fans were pleasantly surprised when they saw the forward feature in the aforementioned DFB-Pokal game a week before the new Bundesliga season, but it didn't take long before most realised that he simply wasn't fit enough to start and finish the match against Leverkusen. 

While Henrikh Mkhitaryan salvaged what he could from a midfield war zone and Ciro Immobile and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did what they could from the little service offered, Reus laboured on the left of Dortmund's attack and often struggled to get involved in the game at all. 

No coach at the club would ever be criticised for trying to feature Reus in any starting line-up, but Klopp should surely have known how unfit and poorly prepared his star player was ahead of such a big game. 

Such a poor decision is, of course, then put into context when we consider that the fitter, more industrious Jonas Hofmann was available to take his place at any moment and could have perhaps even started in Reus' place.

A young player who still has quite some distance to go before we consider him a genuine alternative to the German international, but one who could have made a difference against Leverkusen on the day. Another poor decision from Klopp that could have been easily fixed if he had chosen the right player.

Dortmund now venture to Augsburg on Friday, where they face another side hoping to steal points from a title challenger down on their luck. There, Klopp's team will either welcome an opportunity for redemption or further heartache in a season that already looks stacked against them.

Whichever situation materialises will ultimately be determined by their manager's tactics and team selection on the day.