The end of the Dortmund series – and an endurance test

A setback becomes a rehearsal: After losing the Champions League in London, BVB can quickly prove that they are solid.

Shake your head, keep going: After being eliminated from the Champions League, Giovanni Reyna want to look ahead.


Patrick Kleinmann reports from London

The range of Dortmund emotions on Tuesday evening was great: sadness about the round of 16 elimination at Chelsea mixed with anger about the decisions of the referee team, concern for Julian Brandt and a good portion of defiance. Edin Terzic kept a cool head in the confusing situation between a legitimate exit, the end of an impressive series at the beginning of the year, the disadvantage in the game, but also the lack of his own funds.

The coach assessed the 0:2 at Stamford Bridge in a pleasantly reflected and sober manner. “They were both very close games, so little things make the difference,” he said, summarizing a lot without wanting to make excuses: “Today we were unlucky in a few situations, but that’s part of the game.” Because in addition to bad luck, such as the absence of the top performers Brandt, Gregor Kobel and Karim Adeyemi, who were still decisive in the first leg, and the disadvantage of the irregular second goal, BVB lacked a lot to win the game on their side. His team “definitely didn’t play a bad game,” said Terzic, “but we needed an extremely good game.”

Problems with nimble offensive forces – Brandt sorely missed on the counterattack

And Dortmund didn’t deliver that, against Chelsea’s selection, which was put together with a lot of money, there was not enough in all respects. The recently so solid and stable defense around the central defenders Niklas Süle and Nico Schlotterbeck had its problems with the fast deep runs of the nimble London attackers around Joao Felix and never got the outstanding Kai Havertz under control. And in attack they didn’t have the means to often put a deep and compact opponent under pressure like Jude Bellingham’s big chance in the 56th minute. The back three around Kalidou Koulibaly, who was almost invincible in a header duel, cleared high balls with ease, there was a lack of wit, space and, last but not least, Brandt, who was so strong recently, and had to leave the field after just five minutes with a thigh injury. “Jule has been an extremely important player in recent weeks, if not the most important one on offense. That’s very bitter for us,” said Marius Wolf.

Also because of this: “The last punch” was missing, stated keeper Alexander Meyer. And so it was not enough for the conceivably high level of a Champions League round of 16, even against a battered opponent like Chelsea – and it wasn’t just Nico Schlotterbeck who had the feeling that “more would have been possible”. “We knew form and confidence wouldn’t be enough,” concluded Terzic, echoing his own words from the pre-game press conference.

Rehearsal for stability – full focus on the derby

The first blemish of the year, which has been fantastic in all competitions so far, will also be an endurance test for BVB. So far, Dortmund had not let setbacks such as unfortunate goals conceded throw them off the track, the end will now be the great test for the stability of the team. There is a lot at stake: After the “Blues”, the “Royal Blues” are waiting for the derby of perhaps the Bundesliga teams with the best form on Saturday. “We have to get the game over with quickly,” demanded Marius Wolf on Tuesday. In the evening “the disappointment should be great”, but from Wednesday there will be “full focus on Schalke” and the next difficult task: “We really want to win the game, this is THE derby.”

The new injuries of the past few weeks make the task more difficult. Especially on the offensive, the squad is thin without Adeyemi, Brandt and Youssoufa Moukoko, Sebastien Haller is currently not a factor in all efforts. And substitutes Jamie Bynoe-Gittens and Donyell Malen were also unable to provide any impetus on Tuesday. But it will be urgently needed by the unloved and defensively strong neighbor.



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