Adam Bate from Sky Sports, while explaining Dortmund's winning formula in recent years, said, "Part of the appeal of the Dortmund success story - winning two Bundesliga titles and reaching the final of the Champions League - was precisely because of their unique style. Klopp's team presses high up the pitch in an effort to win the ball back nearer the opposition goal. For them, the key moment to expose a weakness is when the opponent has surrendered the ball. As a result, possession becomes less important than the moment the opposition loses possession. The more it happens the better. It makes for a high-energy approach that is almost counter-intuitive at the top level of the game." Bate's emphasis on "the moment the opposition loses position" also explains the biggest problem with Dortmund's strategy, Gegenpressing, which means counter pressing in German. Although, it is nice to create a new terminology for football, it is obvious that this term is a success of the German marketing system. This counter pressing, which is pressing the opponent like a shockwave or in other words, like a blitzkrieg, was neither new nor revolutionary.
First of all, the concept of the press is never sufficient to become a strategy on its own. It may look like a strategy in Dortmund's case, but there is always another sneaky detail hiding behind the visual. In this case, not surprisingly though, what smells like the center of Dortmund's strategy is a familiar one, counter attacking. At this point, frustratingly the whole strategy loses its originality. However, the reasoning behind this is very simple. A team presses its opponent to take the ball, this is the simple part. Nevertheless, the actual strategy shows up when you have the ball. Thus, what makes pressing meaningful is the answer that you give to this question: What are you going to do with the ball?
Secondly, in the neo-total football strategy, especially Josep Guardiola's Barcelona and Bayern Munich, this kind of pressing was always present. Guardiola, in order to make the opponent stay in their half and to create an offensive circulation, implemented this pressing method before Jurgen Klopp. Added to that, since Dortmund make use of this strategy in favor of counter attacking, in other words not attacking in a sophisticated way, there were always fewer players pressing on the Dortmund side than the Guardiola-era Barcelona and today's Bayern Munich. Once upon a time Dortmund's pace compensated for their strategic deficiencies and players like Nuri Şahin and İlkay Gündoğan mostly handled the organizational work. Nonetheless, this season the whole strategy of Jurgen Klopp collapsed. Of course, injuries and their losses in the transfer market affected the team's performance, but more importantly, Dortmund's opponents figured out how to stop them.
In their latest game, which was a decisive loss against Borussia Monchengladbach, Dortmund were hopelessly trying to implement their strategy, which was easily confronted by the opponent. Monchengladbach's strategy was one of the simplest and most pathetic plans that a team can choose to play, but it paid off. While Dortmund panicked and tried to attack as fast as they could, they imbalanced their game at the same time and Monchengladbach made the few opportunities they got count. Well, if you insist on playing fast and vertically against a defensive-minded opponent and if your opponent is ready to wait for your mistakes, your are probably going to give a lot of chances to the opponent.
On the other hand, Dortmund's possession stats are higher this season (55.4 percent) than in any of the previous four campaigns in which they finished in the top two every time. Ironically, this affects Dortmund's game play in a negative way because they simply do not know what to do when they have time, space and the ball. I respect Klopp's work but Dortmund is a really easy opponent to solve nowadays. If you choose a regressive strategy against Dortmund then the team just goes out of control. Players start trying to create opportunities on their own, not enough patience is given to prepare offensive moves and defensive line imbalances. Therefore, Dortmund and Klopp has to acknowledge their strategy's inability to surprise opponents and dominate the game. Gegenpressing was cool once upon a time, but it just does not count anymore.