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J. Kamiński (15), L. Waldschmidt (75), J. Guilavogui (90)

Kovac prepared to stick with back-three despite Dortmund drubbing

By Peter Weis   @PeterVicey

Despite the fact that his back-three produced some of the worst defending on a Bundesliga seen in ages against Dortmund on Sunday, VfL Wolfsburg trainer Niko Kovac suggested that he would have to stick with the system due to a lack of alternatives. 
Niko Kovac.
Niko Kovac.Photo: Sven Mandel / CC-BY-SA-4.0
VfL Wolfsburg have been lining up in a back-three ever since losing left-back Paulo Otavio and center-halve Maxence Lacroix to season-ending injuries. A three-man defensive chain comprised of Joshua Guilavogui, Micky van de Ven, and Sebastiaan Bornauw found itself completely shredded during the first-half against Borussia Dortmund last weekend. A switch to a back-four after the restart yielded next-to-no improvement.

Speaking at a Friday post-match presser, Kovac cast doubt on his ability to do much other than line his charges up in a back-three yet again. This is in large part because, according to the coach, January acquisition Nicolas Cozza has too much catching up to do on the training pitch to merit a start. The Frenchman is, in the coach's words, "still adjusting to the new environment."

Kovac also went into great detail about his decision to utilize central defender Micky van de Ven as a left-back; something that has produced positive results this season. The VfL trainer specifically noted that he didn't like the idea as the Dutchman was "very much needed in the center". For all intents and purposes, it looks as if such a move isn't happening.

"I think that the three-man backfield has worked well in recent games," Kovac said at the press conference, "The defeat in Dortmund was not due to the system, but because we showed the weakest defensive performance this season."

"The system is not decisive," he continued, "It's always about attitude, passion, mentality and fighting spirit. If we display that, then we will win even with a back seven."

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