Tuesday, April 23, 2024
HomeBundesligaDortmund: The ghosts of the past are back

Dortmund: The ghosts of the past are back

Instead of being enthroned at the top of the table after the match against the promoted team from Heidenheim, BVB finds itself in a tense situation early in the season. The 2:2 after a 2:0 lead causes anger among the fans – and maximum frustration among coach Edin Terzic.

The players are lined up in front of the South Stand late on Friday evening. Hands on hips, heads bowed. Like on 27 May 2023, like after the missed championship against Mainz. But unlike three months ago, the mood in the stadium is completely different this time. This time, many BVB fans are booing their players instead of consoling them. Loud and relentless. The 2:2 against the promoted team from Heidenheim causes disappointment, frustration and anger. All that has to come out in these minutes after the second draw in the third game of the season. And Dortmund’s third disappointing performance in a row after the fortunate 1:0 home win against Cologne and the sobering 1:1 in Bochum.

BVB coach Edin Terzic follows the action near the halfway line. At his side, his assistants Sebastian Geppert and Armin Reutershahn. They too: disappointed, disillusioned, frustrated. During the week, the Black and Yellows were sure that they would start the weekend on Friday evening as temporary league leaders. Instead, BVB has found itself in a pressure situation early on this season that those in charge wanted to avoid at all costs.

Haller disappoints and fouls clumsily

At first it had looked quite good for the home team. At least with a view to the score. Thanks to two goals from Julian Brandt (7th) and Emre Can (15th, hand penalty), everything was actually going according to plan. However, instead of taking the promoted team completely out of the game by making more consistent use of their chances, BVB invited the Heidenheim side in. Before the break, this went unpunished, even though there were already serious gaps in the BVB half.

However, those Dortmund players who hoped that the break would calm down the game, which was getting wilder by the minute, were deceived. BVB continued to create some very good scoring opportunities, but negligently missed the decision – and that was to take its revenge. First Eren Dinkci scored (61st), then – after a seemingly endless six-minute VAR review – Tim Kleindienst scored with a penalty kick (82nd) after the completely disappointing Sebastien Haller had clumsily knocked down former Dortmund player Jan-Niklas Beste in his own penalty area.

“Wild, wild mistakes “

“We’re leading 2-0, then you have to go for the third goal and kill the game,” Brandt later summed up as he faced the media after the bitter walk to the South Stand. Instead, his team had made “wild, wild mistakes”. “In the end, you have to hold your head up that the score is still 2:2.” Indeed, substitute Felix Nmecha had the best chance of the twelve minutes of injury time with his shot against the crossbar (90:+10), but the Heidenheim team had repeatedly run in the direction of Gregor Kobel against Dortmund, who looked knocked out at times. There was nothing to be seen of the vice-champion’s control of the game, of a higher individual quality, of the calmness and sovereignty that characterise a top team.

“Top teams don’t happen like that “

Terzic gets to the heart of the matter when he, too, steps in front of the DAZN microphone after a short walk to the dressing room, visibly drawn: “This doesn’t happen to top teams. It happens to us repeatedly.” Dortmund had often spoken in preparation about not repeating the mistakes of the previous season. Not to chase the music again in the first half of the season, to pick up immediately on the often strong performances of the first half of 2023. “Now,” says Terzic, “it’s happening to us again.” He says his team must understand that it is always about winning, that everything must be subordinated to winning. “We repeatedly failed to do that today.”

Terzic then looks back to the bitter end of pre-season, to the tears and emptiness after missing out on the title. “We have shown in the past that we can come out of phases stronger when things got bumpy. But we’ve also felt how painful it can be in the end when you don’t manage to make up for everything,” he says, drawing a bitter conclusion after a game in which his team once again got in their own way: “If we don’t stop doing that, then it will be hard to celebrate anything at some point. “

Füllkrug “can understand the whistles “

Part of Dortmund’s bitter day was that even Niclas Füllkrug, the previous season’s top scorer who had been signed from Werder Bremen the day before, was unable to avert a relapse. Still applauded and cheered when he was substituted, he too stood next to his new teammates after the final whistle and received the catcalls. “I can understand the whistles to some extent,” he says – and is thus in line with Terzic, who expresses understanding for the fans’ reaction in the press conference: “I can completely understand both the anger and the frustration. I feel them just as much.”

On Saturday, the BVB coach announces, they will sit down and talk about the game and the recurring mistakes. Afterwards, his team will go their separate ways. A large part of the squad is away for the international match week. The opportunity to correct Friday night’s disastrous impression will not come again for another two weeks at SC Freiburg.

The criticism is not getting any quieter

“Explainable,” says Sebastian Kehl as midnight approaches, “it’s not for any of us. It simply must not happen to us.” Dortmund’s sporting director, who seems downright perplexed in his remarks, knows how unsettled things will now become. Especially as the environment has already been nervous in the past few days. The summer transfer phase with the four purchases Füllkrug, Nmecha, Marcel Sabitzer and Ramy Bensebaini already provoked criticism before the Heidenheim game, because obvious problems in the defence – the quantitatively thin line-up in the centre and at the back – were not remedied. It is not likely to get any quieter in the coming days. The problems, however, lie deeper. The ghosts that BVB thought it had banished in the last second half of the season are back.

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