Out in the Champions League: painful consequences for BVB

EThere was a feeling of powerlessness in the words that Marco Reus formulated when BVB had missed its first big goal of the season. “That hurts,” said the Dortmund captain after the 3-1 defeat at Sporting Lisbon, with which the Revierklub was eliminated from the Champions League. After a game that was somehow typical for this team.

“We are always discussing the same mistakes this season,” Reus said angrily, referring to avoidable dismissals, very unnecessary goals and a lack of efficiency in front of the opposing goal. Reus looked perplexed. Because right now, when there are actually recognizable results of a development under the coach Marco Rose, who was newly signed in the summer, the team is stagnating.

Borussia Dortmund almost never plays really well over 90 minutes. In the Bundesliga, the team is still in second place in the table due to their impressive home strength, just one point behind FC Bayern. The first really painful consequences have now followed in the Champions League, and the trend is worrying.

Three of the last four competitive games were lost, and for the first time ever, Dortmund experienced three defeats in a row in the Champions League. And conceded eleven goals in five group games indicate massive weaknesses. “In the end, it is always goals conceded by individual mistakes,” said Reus, and Rose explained: “In games like this you can make even fewer mistakes and we made even more mistakes.” The coaching team had actually come up with a plan that basically worked .

Dortmund only rudimentarily good

In most phases, BVB dominated the midfield, always had good approaches for dangerous offensive actions. But just approaches. In the first half hour in particular, his team was “in good shape”, said Rose, but at the same time he had to admit “that the opponent was more consistent and uncompromising in the decisive situations.” Front and rear. Beyond the strategy and the implementation of the plan, individual quality is also a very decisive factor in this sport.

At this point, Dortmund, who have suffered many injuries, are struggling with a permanent problem. On Wednesday, Raphael Guerreiro, who had just recovered from an injury, signed off after warming up with repeated muscle problems. For the important Portuguese, Nico Schulz moved into the starting line-up and made the crucial mistake before the 1-0 for Sporting. After the Dortmund player failed to accept the ball, Pedro Goncalves stood free in front of the Dortmund goal and scored to make it 1-0 (30th).


Nothing to get: Borussia Dortmund around Thomas Meunier loses at Sporting Lisbon.
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Image: Reuters

That was a first turning point in the game, because before this goal Reus had the feeling that Lisbon had been “totally insecure”. But now the stadium was suddenly loud and the Dortmund heads began to work. Order was lost more and more often, and one of these unsorted situations, in which Axel Witsel and Reinier did not defend energetically enough, Goncalves used to make it 2-0 (39th). During the break, Schulz was replaced by Emre Can, who finally decided the game with his red card (74th).

What exactly the Dortmund man had done was not clearly visible, not even on television. Can may have hit his opponent with his hand in the face when he tried to shake him off with a defiant wiping motion after a duel. “I heard from the referee that it was relatively clear, even after the VAR had checked it,” said Rose, who, however, was also annoyed with Can: “The fact is that we simply shouldn’t let the referee get into a situation like that to have to decide. ”Because it was precisely in this phase that BVB had created enormous pressure, everything was still possible. As it was, however, Rose finally had to find out: “This is the fourth defeat outnumbered.”

Looking back, a key moment in this group stage was the hard-to-justify dismissal for Mats Hummels in the 3-1 win against Amsterdam in the fourth group game. With the world champion, the duel with Ajax would have taken a different course and the presence of the defense chief would certainly have helped in Lisbon.

Without Hummels, the long-injured Dan-Axel Zagadou caused a penalty in the final phase in an actually completely harmless situation. And when Gregor Kobel had saved the penalty, Zagadou was not awake enough, so that his opponent Pedro Porro, who started faster, was able to score the 3-0 with a margin (81st). Just like Schulz and Can, the Frenchman had only just recovered from a protracted injury.

Dortmund did not recover from this third goal. Donyell Malen’s 3-1 stoppage time came too late. “That was a shitty evening, we’re out,” said Reus. The fact that the club will compete in the second half of the Europa League and are among the favorites for the title comforted no one.

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