Borussia Dortmund beat Schalke 04 in the Revierderby behind closed doors 0-4 at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday. BVB coach Lucien Favre answered questions submitted by reporters after the game.
Was the clever midfield trio of Brandt, Dahoud and Delaney the key to victory today?
Favre: “Dahoud and Delaney played in front of the backline, they obviously also could get involved in the attack. Julian Brandt was in between together with Thorgan Hazard as a false no 10s. They had to play on the inside because Erling Haaland needed their support. Otherwise, we had players with Hakimi and Guerreiro who like to go forward. The key to the win was that the team played well together, also defensively. It was important that they did not allow many chances
Do teams that are technically superior to their opponents gain an advantage when fan emotions are not a factor?
How did you experience the match without any fans and were you able to enjoy the performance of your team without any atmopshere?
Favre: “It’s very special for all teams and coaches. You take a shot, make a great pass or score a goal and there are no reactions. The players can celebrate but in a very limited way, they have to stay disciplined. It’s very weird. The 81,000 fans are missing a lot.”
How do you assess the level of play today compared to other home games this season?
“As I said, it’s entirely different in front of an empty stadium. Also for the people, who are watching the game on tv. So that makes it harder to assess how the game went because I had the impression that we weren’t as hard-working but that might just be due to the lack of a crowd. The players were very focused on their task. It was very important to play football, make good plays and score goals. It was absolutely vital to remain completely focused. They did that very well.”
Were you surprised how dominant your team was today and how technically superior they were?
Favre: “Yes, 4-0 against Schalke is pretty okay. It was a deserved win. Like I said earlier, the players were focused on the pitch. How should I behave going into the challenge — Do I want to win the tackle? Do I dribble or play a good pass? When do I shoot on goal? That’s key. Having fun but also showing resolve at the same time.”
Did you observe anything from your players that was better than usual due to the special individual training?
“Hard to say right after the game. I mean, usually, you need five, six weeks, sometimes an entire year or two in order to improve. But sure, I did see a few positive developments from some players.”
Were tactical orders better adhered to, given that coaches were more audible on the sidelines?
Favre: “Obviously, it’s better with fans but it’s also clear that players can better communicate on the field, which is very necessary. When there are 81,000 in attendance, I don’t think that Hummels or Piszczek are able to talk to Hazard on the left wing. Same is true for the coaches.”
Does a 4-0 derby win feel as good in an empty stadium as it would in a packed arena?
Favre: “It’s better with fans than without, no discussion. Nevertheless, we wanted to win the game today because we know that they’re there, watching on tv.”
Marco Reus, Dan-Axel Zagadou, Axel Witsel, Emre Can, Nico Schulz and Gio Reyna in warm-up — were the many muscular injuries the toughest opponent today?
“I believe that many teams will be in that situation because for five weeks, we trained in groups of two and then four and six. It’s completely different. We started very late with training in a 10 v 10 setup with the elements of possession play and tackles. I hope that Reyna doesn’t have anything serious. As for the rest, Emre Can and Axel Witsel still need a while but not too long, Dan-Axel Zagadou is out for the rest of the season, and Marco Reus may come back but we don’t know when because he’s yet to train with the team. Nico Schulz has re-injured himself and can’t do anything for two to three weeks. Thorgan Hazard (cramps), Mahmoud Dahoud and Thomas Delaney were subbed off without any injuries.”