Borussia Dortmund manager Edin Terzic explained how he wants to bring Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus back to their best.
“[Marco and Jadon] know that they are not playing at their optimal level,” Terzic told his news conference on Thursday. The 38-year-old caretaker manager, who took over the reins at Borussia Dortmund after Lucien Favre was fired last Sunday, has several fires to put out.
Reus and Sancho often epitomize BVB’s on-field struggles this season. Neither can quite replicate previous heights. “Sometimes all it takes is one play, sometimes it takes a bit longer,” Terzic said, adding: “Marco is used to finding back to his form immediately after long injury spells. This time it’s going a bit differently. Nevertheless, he played an integral role in Tuesday’s win. He scored the winning goal and showed leadership. I’m certain it won’t be too long [until he regains his form].”
Reus’ goal against Bremen was only his fourth in 19 appearances. The 31-year-old, who was sidelined between February and September, is only averaging 0.32 goals and 0.08 assists per 90 minutes (compared to his 0.55 goals and 0.26 assists p90 since joining Dortmund). Too often the team captain has disappeared in games this season.
A similar drop has occurred in the scoring output of Sancho. The England international scored a breathtaking 20 goals and 19 assists in 44 appearances last season. In the current campaign, however, the midfielder has mustered only three goals and six assists in 16 showings.
Favre had speculated in the past that the 20-year-old’s rough patch was due to the ensuing mental toll of summer’s transfer saga that could have entailed a potential move to Manchester United. Comparing Sancho’s numbers from last season to the current, his ‘goals per 90 minutes’-rate dropped from 0.55 to 0.23 and assists slumped from 0.52 to 0.46 p90.
“It’s on us to remind them of situations where they made the difference. Sometimes it’s only nuances,” Terzic explained. “Like not stopping a ball first but immediately moving toward goal with the first touch. Immediately taking positive action, immediately gaining speed and not allowing the opponent to create a two against one situation. But it’s not only about individual instructions. We also want to make sure there are teammates close enough for a quick one-two or offer a vertical run. These are the tasks we have to tackle as a team. Individually, our players know how good they are, and we are working step by step to bring them back to old strength.”
The tight schedule, however, isn’t helping matters. Dortmund have to play back-to-back away matches, as they travel to Union Berlin on Friday after Tuesday’s 2-1 win at Werder Bremen. The match at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei will be their ninth within 27 days.