When Borussia Dortmund coach Peter Bosz arrived for his pregame press conference on Wednesday he looked like a man who has finally figured out his team’s problems. It was clear from his statements that the international break was a welcome sight to regroup and refocus. But on Friday night there was no organization, focus or determination when his side lost 2-1 to promoted VfB Stuttgart, meaning that both promoted teams have managed to beat the Black and Yellows during the Hinrunde.
Dortmund had to make do without star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who was out because of disciplinary measures and Christian Pulisic, who sustained muscular problems just before the game.
Hannes Wolf’s Swabians came out all guns blazing as they pressed BVB high up the field and forced them to make mistakes. However, it was BVB who had the first real chance of the game after a good link up play between Andriy Yarmolenko and André Schürrle that led to the latter shooting wide from close range.
Three minutes later the home side took the lead after a miscommunication between Marc Bartra and Roman Bürki presented a golden opportunity for Chadrac Akolo. Bürki was coming out of his line to collect the ball and wasn’t expecting the back pass from Bartra, which the Swiss keeper was unable to control. Dortmund couldn’t have had a worse start to the game as Akolo netted his fourth goal of the campaign.
The Black and Yellows looked more nervous after the goal and it would be a while before they can put passes together to penetrate Stuttgart’s defense. Most of the chances came through the right hand side mainly through Yarmolenko and Jeremy Toljan. Schürrle and Goetze tested Ron-Robert Zieler but the German managed to parry away whatever was thrown at him, earning the former Hannover goalkeeper Man of the Match status.
Just before the break Dortmund were awarded a penalty after a hand ball in the box. Schürrle’s attempt was saved but Max Philipp was on hand to smash the rebound on to the roof of the net. It was 1-1 at half time.
Instead of using the equalizer as a springboard to win the game BVB collapsed once again and the dodgy defense was exposed as Josip Brekalo managed to get in behind the out of position Dortmund back line and took all the time in the world before sneaking a shot through the legs of both Dan-Axel Zagadou, who came on at half time for Sokratis, and Bürki into the back of the net. How embarrassing!
After the second goal Dortmund were basically chasing a dead-end with lack of ideas in the creative department making a comeback beyond reach. The introduction of Mahmoud Dahoud and Raphael Guerriero did very little to rectify that, as former BvB youth coach Wolf and his Swabians continued their unbeaten home record for 2017.
The Black and Yellows continue their winless run in the league despite having a big advantage in possession (63%) along with the edge in shots (9-13) in Stuttgart, and could end up as low as 7th place by the end of the Match Day. With that loss even more pressure will mount on Bosz. Friday night’s game offered him an opportunity to change the mood surrounding the club but he failed to make it count. It is also hard to imagine how he can comeback from this with Spurs and Schalke being his next two opponents. He is a man walking on thin ice.
It is also time that questions be asked about the Dortmund hierarchy, whose decisions regarding transfers and managerial appointments are putting the team in trouble.
The only positive for BVB was the return of Schürrle who put in a decent performance after his long injury absence. The striker spoke after the game and here is what he said regarding the team’s poor run of form (Quote from the club’s official site).
You’re currently going through a rough patch. What do you now need to clear your heads? You’ve got Tottenham on Tuesday, then the derby coming up…
“We simply need to stick together as a team. We need to encourage each other and remain focused. It was not all bad against Stuttgart. There were some good elements out there and good spells in the game too. We just need to take that on board. At some point we’ll manage to turn things around and pick up victories again. Then lots of things will get easier for us.”