Do Borussia Dortmund have a mentality problem?

Yes, the heat of the battle had hardly died down before the inquest began, but Marco Reus’ reaction to post-match questions clearly hit a nerve and were closer to the truth than many at BVB would care to admit. Is there a problem with the mentality amongst the current Schwarzgelben team?

After seeing Dortmund concede an 88th minute goal at the Commerzbank Arena to hand Eintracht Frankfurt a share of the spoils on Sunday evening, that is just the question field reporter Ecki Häuser posed to the BVB captain. “After the humiliation away to Union Berlin, a lot was said about [Dortmund’s] mentality. Is it still lacking?”

The response he got said a lot.

“This is really getting on my nerves with your mentality bullshit. Seriously. Today? Are you serious now? The 2-2 was scored due to mentality? Are you serious? We played dumb, sure, but don’t come to me with your shit about mentality. Every week it’s the same crap.

“Our main problem is that we can’t see out a game. But that has nothing to do with mentality. A goal like the 2-2 just mustn’t happen. If we make it 3-1 this game is over, but we also could have seen in out to win 2-1 but we didn’t — that’s it.”

Quite an explosive retort but hidden amongst the anger and frustration from Reus is more than a modicum of truth.

Twice the visitors gave up the lead against Frankfurt and whilst leaving the Commerzbank Arena with a point is no small feat, if Dortmund are going to be serious title contenders, then they need to be taking all three points when they find themselves in a winning position with 15 or 20 minutes left.

As I was watching the game, the co-commentator Stefan Freund hit the nail firmly on head with 15 minutes remaining explaining that the result was very much down to the way Dortmund ‘managed the last quarter of an hour’. And so it panned out with Thomas Delaney scoring a late own-goal to make the final score 2-2 after Jadon Sancho had fired them ahead with 25 minutes left.

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The loss of Mats Hummels through injury played a part, as did the introduction of Bas Dost to give the Adler more bite in attack. But should Dortmund lose out on the title by a small margin (like they did last year), there will be an inquest as to where important points may have been dropped.

The analysis will point to Union Berlin and also to this match. How often do Bayern Munich drop points late in a game from a position of strength? Jürgen Klopp has coined the phrase ‘Mentalitätsmonster’ (mentality monsters) for his current Liverpool side. Borussia Dortmund have all the skill, fire-power and attacking flair you could ask for, but do they have the quality that Klopp has identified?

They say that canine owners often look like their dog, and also that football teams mirror the personality of their coach (Diego Simeone at Atletico Madrid is a perfect example), so is there a link between BVB’s perceived mentality problem and their mild-mannered trainer Lucien Favre. I’m just asking!

Ecki Häuser was just asking too when he prompted the angry response from Marco Reus. Sometimes the truth can be a bitter pill to swallow.

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Mathew Burt

A year spent living in Bremen got Mathew hooked on the Bundesliga with regular visits to the Weser Stadion getting in the way of his studies. Back in the UK now, he still keenly follows the Grün-Weißen and German football in general. Follow him on Twitter @matburt74.

1 Comment

  1. A well-written article, very reassuring for me as a fan with the same concerns. Another draw against Bremen under similar circumstances. Just Frustrating. Hope we turn it around in Prague and come back with confidence

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