Bad Ragaz 2018 is history. After eight days, a total of 15 intensive training sessions and three friendlies, the Borussia Dortmund team are on the return journey home. On Friday, the last phase of the preparation period begins before the DFB Cup tie against Fürth coming up on 20 August to start the season.
The fact that the team was not able to build on the remarkable results achieved in the USA, with victories over Manchester City and Liverpool, was clearly a consequence of the training structure. This last week in Bad Ragaz will be the last week in which the athletic coaches can put the senior squad through high-intensity exercises. Which is why, after the two friendly games against Zürich (4-3) and Napoli (1-3), Roman Bürki stated that, "The fatigue was noticeable today."
"When we lose the ball, it creates problems"
After a not entirely deserved clear 3-1 defeat during pre-season, against the well-oiled Italian league runners-up from last season, Lucien Favre stated, "When we lose the ball, it creates problems. That's where we need to improve tactically. Our anticipation must get better. Sometimes we have to keep it simple, rather than taking risks."
As of Friday, the Swiss football manager will work to improve the team tactically. The main focus will most likely be on how to react to loss of possession. That is where Favre noticed that there was room for improvement during the two games on Tuesday. "There are still too many little things that can cause issues. Sometimes we lose structure to quickly," complained Favre.
More depth when going forward
Offensively, the head coach wants to see more depth when going forward. He misses pushing forward right up to the byline, "So that we can play past the defensive line." Christian Pulisic was the only player to be applauded by the manager after creating some successful situations. For the early afternoon game against Zürich, Jakob Bruun Larsen was the only one to gain recognition. Aside from that, Favre stated, "You have to start your run at the right time and the pass has to come at the right moment. We haven't mastered that yet."
In the three friendly games, including the 1-1 draw against Stade Rennes on Friday last week, Favre utilised three different playing systems. He mostly played a 4-3-3 and occasionally a 4-4-2, mainly using Götze as a deep-lying forward.
Despite the criticism and a total of six goals conceded in a matter of eight hours, the 60-year-old was not too harsh on the team. "Apart from that, it wasn't bad, we hit the crossbar and had four clear chances, it was okay."
"We had a good training camp"
"We had a good training camp," said goalkeeper Roman Bürki. "We had excellent training conditions. The facilities were outstanding and the atmosphere was just great." There's more good news: there are no injuries to report and Julian Weigl was able to take part in team training after overcoming his adductor injuries.
So, Favre can now start his fine-tuning on Friday with a full house (almost). And the new addition to the squad Axel Witsel has trained well during the holiday period so that he can soon start full training. There are still twelve days to Fürth ...