BVB goes under at Ajax: Dortmund’s dangerous tendency to give up

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Marco Rose made no secret of his frame of mind. “And, Mr. Rose, what do you think of an evening like today?”, The coach of Borussia Dortmund was asked by a Dutch journalist – a little nice, a little provocative. Rose thought for a moment. Then he said: “Shit.” Loud laughter spread in the busy press room of the Johan Cruyff Arena.

It is not easy to deal with severe defeats, to strike the right note. Finding the balance between criticism and reducing frustration. Rose tried, however, unsuccessfully. He started businesslike, almost sober – but then clearly put his finger in the wound and showed what had led to this disaster, which could have ended much more bitter for his team with the 0: 4 (0: 2) : an expected strong Ajax – and a BVB that at some point just surrendered helplessly.

Frustration after the defeat in Amsterdam. Nevertheless, BVB still has the best chance of reaching the last sixteen of the Champions League

Source: AP / Peter Dejong

“It was a deserved win for Ajax. Overall, we got into the game well, ”said Rose. But then, at the latest after conceding an early goal, when Marco Reus deflected a free kick from Dusan Tadic with his head into his own goal (11th minute) and after Daley Blind had increased to 2-0 for the Dutch (25th), BVB had “We weren’t able to counter it enough, didn’t react with our body language,” explained the BVB trainer. As a result, Ajax played itself into a frenzy and the Dortmunders got bogged down in a never-ending chain of problems.

BVB goalkeeper Kobel prevents worse

“Mistakes in the build-up of the game”, “too few or incorrect movements in the opposing half”, “too many lost tackles” ensured that Rose’s team pulled more and more into the abyss. Without keeper Gregor Kobel, Dortmund would have been hopelessly behind at the break. A last attempt by the coach to counteract this with tactical changes and positive reinforcements at halftime failed. BVB had long since found itself in a downward spiral.

Netherlands Soccer Champions League

Gregor Kobel (r.) Saved BVB from an even bigger defeat

Source: AP / Peter Dejong

In the end there were even signs of disintegration: the fourth goal conceded, the experienced defenders Mats Hummels and Emre Can Sebastian Haller headed almost unhindered. Like captain Marco Reus, they were physically and mentally drained.

“It was clear that it would be difficult here. But we came here as Borussia Dortmund to take something with us. And we have to broadcast that consistently. We have to stay tuned and believe in our quality, especially in difficult games, ”said Rose, focusing on a problem that his various predecessors could not solve either.

“In Munich there is then a fire under the roof”

Every now and then, BVB seems to give up in complicated phases. Then confidence fades. It is not encouraged, but waved off. “If you’re 2-0 down, you’re never satisfied. But Joshua Kimmich doesn’t wave that, he gets really angry, “said Rose and tried a Bayern comparison:” That’s the difference. In Munich there is then a fire under the roof. The question is: how do you accept that? How do you react? “

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Although these sentences do not express any sensational new knowledge, they are nevertheless noteworthy in the context of the development of BVB. Because in Dortmund so far it has been difficult to clearly identify the problem that occurs regularly – the lack of conviction in important moments. Debates about inadequate mentality were quickly stifled, even more so, discussions about the quality that was perhaps not entirely sufficient at the very highest level.

Rose’s clear and ruthless analysis could be a first step towards a successful therapy. It is not about tearing himself apart, but about a self-critical and controversial approach, he emphasized. “That is the learning process that has to start with us. We can only do that if we stand together, if we work as a team. If we put up with such evenings and don’t let ourselves be divided, ”he explained. It is not – as has often been assumed – the lack of will. “My team has character, but we also have to learn to find solutions in difficult moments,” he said.

“Have our limits been shown”

The way there will be difficult, it will take time. Because some of the reasons also lie in the structure of the team. There is the inexperience of some young players, which means that certain game elements do not always work. When it comes to pressing, it is essential that everyone participates. If this does not happen, the risk of opening up spaces for the enemy to attack increases immensely. And the more mistakes happen, the less willing the old hands seem to be to make up for the mistakes of their colleagues.

Ajax Amsterdam - Borussia Dortmund

Marco Rose experienced his first significant defeat as BVB coach

Source: dpa / Bernd Thissen

“We were shown our limits. That means that we have to roll up our sleeves, “said Rose:” So that we will look different in two weeks when we have to deal with Ajax again. “The coach was reminded of this when he left Amsterdam. The Dutch journalist, who initially asked him how he was feeling, said goodbye with a discreet hint. “See you in a fortnight. Then we’ll be back. “

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