Edin Terzic clearly prefers a 1-4-2-3-1 formation, although the wide choice of offensive options can prompt him to switch to a 1-4-3-3 shape to ensure all players have a place in the squad.
Borussia Dortmund’s defence primarily press high using two pivots working to protect the centre from direct passes, while all offensive players actively and high press the defensive line. The adopted 1-4-1-4-1 shape then can transform into 1-4-4-1-1, if the opponent is looking for free spaces on the wings. They then seek the support of central midfielders aiming for a 2+1 variant on the chosen wing. The key to the effectiveness is the aggressive and very active play of the central defenders, who must effectively close down space up the box.
In attack Dortmund tends to build from the back in a 3+1 shape using a deeper positioned central midfielder (Bellingham or Ozcan) for combination play with the central defenders. Progression is either secured by the wide positioning of partners in the second line or direct balls played past.
In the offensive third the central three are given a lot of freedom both in their movement and in their choice of attacking variant, which does not change the fact that the key to their effectiveness is the positioning and the cooperation with partners of position No. 10. The fast one-touch play focuses the attention of the opponent in the centre and creates more space for diagonal entries with the ball into the box from both wings.
In doing so the tempo and aggressiveness of the left side is balanced by the fluidity and creation of passing options from the right.