AWhen the two Borussia Dortmund team buses drove from the grounds of the José Alvalade stadium, Portuguese fans formed a line. Some police officers were there too. You never know what might happen. The fears were unfounded. A bit of mockery and ridicule, that’s all the fans of Sporting Lisbon gave the BVB professionals on their way.
It should hardly have been noticed on the buses. The frustration sat too deep after the miserable failure in the Champions League season 2021/22 – one match day before the end of the preliminary round, in a group that had been classified as “feasible”.
“That was a shitty evening. We’re out. That’s a bitter truth, “said Marco Reus after the 1: 3 (0: 2). The captain’s job was to explain the failure. “You simply can’t lose three games in a row in the Champions League. Then you don’t deserve to get any further, ”he said in an interview with DAZN.
He’s right about that. After the two defeats against Ajax Amsterdam, number three followed on Wednesday. Even with a draw, Dortmund would hardly have been able to take the round of 16. But Sporting was served the advancement on a silver platter. It’s not just the relegation to the Europa League, but above all the way that defeat was that that hurt.
BVB repeats patterns of inadequacies
Or as manager Michael Zorch summed it up: “It is financially, athletically and in terms of image a major setback.” Which can hardly be compensated financially in the Europa League, to which BVB has now been banished, as Zorc outlined. “You have to go very far for that,” he said. In every sentence he had to say about the game, there was deep frustration and great disenchantment – and a lot of annoyance.
Because the Dortmunders were not inferior, in terms of playground equipment and ball possession they were even better. “We definitely didn’t play our best game, but we had it under control until the 0-1. That was completely unnecessary, ”said Reus. In the end it was always individual mistakes that decided the games to the disadvantage of BVB: “Sporting simply didn’t do anything for the game and wins.”
The reasons for failure are obvious. It was true, agreed coach Marco Rose to his captain: His team “was basically good in the game for over ninety minutes, we were more on the ball. But goals are scored in the opposing penalty area. You prevent goals in your own penalty area. ”At certain intervals, the same shortcomings come to light again and again: that hesitation and hesitation near the goal. And the lack of concentration when defending.
“All in all, football is very fair. Sporting deserved it because they went uncompromisingly to our goal with everything they had and defended their goal, Rose said: “It doesn’t matter how much possession you have if the opponent is more determined in the crucial moments is.”
Emblematic of this was the first goal conceded after half an hour. Sportings defender Sebastián Coates hit a long ball into the Dortmund half. Niko Schulz completely misjudged himself, and Pedro Goncalves hardly had any trouble scoring. Nine minutes later Marin Pongracic was wrong, Manuel Akanji tried to slide – and put the ball right in front of Goncalves’ feet. He put together his double pack. After the change there was an initially comparable chronology: Dortmund played – up to the opposing penalty area. Then not much was possible.
At a certain point in time, the nerves played along. Emre Can, who was substituted on for the overwhelmed Schulz at break, returned the favor for Pedro Porro getting on with a kick and a wiper. A pack was formed and the game was interrupted for seven minutes. Can saw red. Then Dan-Axel Zagadou, substituted for Pongracic, also kicked Paulinho. This was followed by a penalty and the 0: 3 (81st). The following goal by Donyell Malen fell only in stoppage time.
There is a risk that this defeat was a hit. Because it throws light on the problems of the Dortmunders, which are in stark contrast to their own claims. For a top team there is a lack of quality across the board: If too many regulars like Mats Hummels, who was banned on Wednesday, Erling Haaland, Thorgan Hazard, Raphael Guerreiro, who injured himself while warming up, are missing, it will be tight.
The team cannot compensate for that at a high level. Schulz, Pongracic or Felix Passlack, which has been used more frequently in recent weeks due to the lack of alternatives, is lacking in substance. This becomes a problem at a time when staffing levels are becoming thin.
Of course, Rose cannot and must not put it that way. “I’m part of the team,” he said: “We have been saying for a long time that we have to make fewer mistakes. We knew this was a final. And in games like this you can make far fewer mistakes. ”The coach confirmed that he wanted to work on it, as he did after the two defeats against Ajax. “We have to get better,” he demanded. It won’t be easy. The only hope that remains is that the personal situation will relax. On Saturday, Dortmund have to go to Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, followed by FC Bayern on the weekend.
The goal of hibernating in the Champions League, having missed, also hits BVB financially sensitive. The club had already posted a loss of over 116 million euros during the Corona period. Further money is lost due to the downgrade to the Europa League. In addition, the way you leave it also scratches your self-image. “It is our duty not to give up,” Rose tried to address. The problems will be worked on, he promised. The question is how long it will take for this work to be a resounding success.