A smart Borussia Dortmund side laid low at the Giuseppe Meazza Stadium on Wednesday night, taking a calculated 2-0 loss to be fully fit for Saturday’s Revierderby against Schalke.
“I think we played quite well,” a satisfied Lucien Favre told Sky after the UEFA Champions League game. The Black and Yellows contained Inter Milan as well as they could without breaking a sweat.
“Our defensive performance was okay. We played patiently and didn’t concede many counter-attacks,” Favre said hinting at BVB’s patience to wait for defender Stefan de Vrij to pick out the right pass in the 22nd minute. Left wing-back Nico Schulz even disabled the offside trap to let Dortmund nearly-signing Lautaro Martinez through to score the first goal, knowing that the German outfit concedes fewer chances once they are one goal behind.
The 61-year-old carefully counted the counter-attacks Inter had in the second half and assessed that two is a very small number — irregadless whether they resulted in a penalty (82.) and in the 2-0 by famous goalscorer Antonio Candreva (89.).
Thinking ahead to Saturday’s big game against Schalke 04, Dortmund made sure not give away any attacking patterns, thoroughly confusing Schalke coach Dave Wagner and his analysts.
But in order not to disappoint the over 6,000 Dortmund faithful, who made the trip to Northern Italy, the Ruhr Side fired some warning shots. Especially in the second half, BVB made sure to leave the impression of an attack-minded team by nearly quadrupling their 0.09 XG from the first half to 0.35XG.
“In the 2nd half, we had 2-3 chances to equalise. You can’t expect to get 10 chances against such a good side,” Favre said, reminding Dortmund fans not to be too greedy.
Dortmund could very much afford a loss away to Inter Milan, forcing Antonio Conte to reveal his hand, which will come back to bite the Italian manager in the next game at the Westfalenstadion.
Meanwhile, the Borussen will be well-rested for Saturday’s derby thanks to their economic playing style. It is an immaculate title-winning strategy that will bring Dortmund to the next level when they steamroll the dimwitted Royal Blues.