Borussia Dortmund must balance 'tiki-taka and risk' - Thomas Delaney
DORTMUND, Germany -- Borussia Dortmund have to find the balance between tiki-taka and vertical play, Thomas Delaney said after his side recovered from an early deficit to dismantle RB Leipzig 4-1 on Sunday.
The guests carved Dortmund's midfield open after 31 seconds, but Dortmund got down to business, grabbing three goals in 22 minutes to go top of the Bundesliga table after the first round.
"We want to build up cleanly from the back but we have to be clever about it," the midfielder told reporters after the game. "We need to find the balance between tiki-taka and playing risky
"We are happy with the result but there are several things we have to improve. For example, how we run at our opponents. Sometimes we made it too easy for our opponents to play through the middle."
Leipzig's Jean-Kevin Augustin shocked the Westfalenstadion with an early goal after Dortmund failed to clear the ball.
"The early goal was like a slap in the face but it showed that we have a good mentality in the team," Delaney said. "It's important for this team and of course it's important for the fans to witness a good start to the season."
Newly appointed manager Lucien Favre opted for three central midfielders consistent of Delaney, Axel Witsel and Mahmoud Dahoud in a 4-3-3 setup, and Denmark international Delaney praised the setup.
"In this formation our midfield has great stamina, is strong in the air and overall very physical," he said. "We can also switch it up in midfield, everyone of us can play in holding midfield or on the eight position. It worked pretty well.
"Axel is a player that is exuding a lot of calmness on the ball, Mo [Dahoud] is always going for the spectacular and trying to create the magic while I'm always running back and forth as box-to-box player. We are very different players.
"Overall, the level is very high in our ranks just look at who wasn't playing today. Mario Gotze, for example is very, very good. The depth in our team is certainly a plus."
Witsel, the scorer of Sunday's most spectacular goal, was overwhelmed with emotion in his first home match in front of 80,000 fans.
"It was crazy," he said, adding: "I felt a lot of positive emotions in my first home match here. I had previously played a game with Zenit [St. Petersburg] here so I knew what the atmosphere was going to be like but it's a lot different and much better when you have the crowd behind you."
The 29-year-old was once again an imposing, yet calming presence for his own team. After 90 minutes he had the most touches of all Dortmund players (68).
Asked whether there was a secret to his instant leadership role, Witsel replied: "I don't have a secret. I just work hard. We have a really talented team. Since I'm already 29, I try to help with my experience and give the best for the team.
"I don't practise scoring [side volleys] but I already scored similar goals at all of my previous clubs and national team. I just saw the ball in the air and attempted the bicycle. However, I'm not a striker but when I get the opportunity I do my best to score the goal."
Meanwhile, Dortmund are dealing with the challenge of keeping 29 players appeased. While Gotze found himself on the benched without a substitution, healthy players like Shinji Kagawa, Omer Toprak, Nuri Sahin, Sebastian Rode and Alexander Isak did not make the team at all.
According to reports, the club is close to making an addition to their striker department with Barcelona centre-forward Paco Alcacer.
Asked, whether the bloated squad could bode trouble throughout the season, Sebastian Kehl, the head of Dortmund's player department, jested: "It doesn't make much of a difference if we have 29 or 30 players in our team. We have a very big squad, the coach has to make very tough decisions.
"Players need to deal with that in a positive manner. Some didn't make the match day squad today and we also have the issue that during training some players cannot participate in certain routines due to numerical restrictions."
Kehl, who was installed in his role during the summer, hinted at more players leaving the club before Aug. 31.
"It's certainly a challenge this season but let's see what happens until Friday, the deadline day," Kehl said.