Breaking The Habit
Winning is a great habit to get into, but on the opposite side of the spectrum, losing is a tough vice to break. After dominating the Bundesliga for large stretches of the season, episode 2 of Inside Borussia Dortmund shows the changed mentality of the players as they struggle to break the vicious cycle of drawing and losing matches. Structurally, the series still continues to jump between past and present but here there’s a little more consistency compared to the first episode, as the series follows the month of February for the German team; a crucial time for most clubs in the season.
We begin with Dortmund preparing for the cup match against Hoffenheim, continuing their quest for glory as the Germans suffer a major injury blow. Adding salt to the wound, the team succumb to a 3-3 draw, after dominating the early stages of the match and going 3-0 up. This brings their winning streak to a grinding halt and with it, a changed mindset for many of the players. Narration from the team helps flesh these segments out and gives an inside view to what happened in the dressing room.
As the team lick their wounds, the next game comes thick and fast in the form of a Champions League away tie to Tottenham. Of course, for those who know the story, they were hammered 3-0 at Wembley while injury concerns with Marco Reus continue to hold them back.
It’s at this point that the episode takes us on a trip down memory lane, showcasing Dortmund’s rise to glory as their fans celebrate a momentus victory in 1989. This happens to be a a momentary distraction, as we then jump back to present day Dortmund as they prepare for their next match. After drawing again, all of their hopes pin on a crucial win in their next game. Unfortunately this is easier said than done as they go up against the mighty Bayer Leverkusen. After a tense encounter, which ends in 3-2, the team manage to squeeze through and get the important win they need.
Catching up with a few injury concerns, and a look at Witzel’s impressive language skills, we then jump back in time again to see Dortmund’s backroom staff and management through the years. This ultimately plays host to a cruel juxtaposition, as the team go up against struggling Ausberg and lose, which the media blow out of proportion. There’s some interesting, thought provoking content here around the media’s influence on the game and the psyche of players but this isn’t explored in much detail, as the episode ends rather abruptly.
Although the series still pales in comparison to other football documentaries out there, Inside Borussia Dortmund does well to keep things intriguing and engaging. I’m not a big fan of matches that feature narration from players over the top – especially as it would have been nice not to know the results prior to watching the game. Hearing team-mates discuss their loss or win prior to the match, and then going on to show the on-pitch action sucks the emotion and intensity from the game, which is a little disappointing.
If there’s one area the series excels though it’s with the electronica soundtrack. The mix of thumping bass and sombre, piano-driven tracks really do well to accentuate what’s happening on-screen and moreso than most documentaries out there, Inside Borussia Dortmund absolutely nails its music. With two more episodes to go and the deciding matches of Dortmund’s season still to come, big question marks remain over the series and quite what direction this is likely to go next.