In the wake of Borussia Dortmund’s dismal loss against VFB Stuttgart on the road in the Bundesliga this pasty weekend, Sporting Director Sebastian Kehl spoke out about the defeat, noting his disappointment with the result and the squad’s performance:
"“It’s inexplicable. It was a very, very poor performance from us and an absolutely deserved win from VfB Stuttgart. It was brutally disappointing today, there’s no other way to put it.”"
Dortmund were unable to maintain their lead despite going ahead first courtesy of Niclas Füllkrug’s strike against the run of play. Defensive errors put Dortmund under unnecessary levels of threat but also forced keeper Gregor Kobel to make some rash decisions, leading to the eventual penalty that cost Dortmund any points whatsoever. The defeat led to Kehl very openly stating that at this point in time, there is little to talk about in terms of team goals:
"“The way we performed today, we no longer need to talk about goals. You simply have to realize that many, many players played completely below their level today, in all areas, and then you can’t win a Bundesliga game. The way we performed today, both as a group and individually, is not how Borussia Dortmund should play.”"
Kehl’s words ring particularly true considering the fact that Dortmund, after having gone undefeated in the Bundesliga in the lead up to the Bayern game, have now lost two on the trot, furthering the gap between them and the other sides in the top four. Bayer Leverkusen now have a 10 point gap between themselves and Die Schwarzgelben, which puts into perspective just how much Dortmund are in danger of not meeting their expectations for the season, let alone competing for the Meisterchale.
Many would have perhaps thought that the game against Newcastle would have offered a good platform to build off of moving forward, but many of the players (which, to be fair, could have benefitted from some rotation) looked slow, tired, and very much off the mark. Dortmund’s result against Stuttgart is once again a highlight of perhaps all the issues Dortmund have been facing; unfocused performances, match fatigue and unwillingness to rotate on behalf of Edin Terzić himself.
Dortmund’s date with Stuttgart will have to be analyzed carefully ahead of the two club’s upcoming meeting in the DFB Pokal, as losing against them in Germany’s major cup competition is out of the question. The game will also have to be looked at very closely under a microscope ahead of the other big encounters Dortmund have after the international break, namely against aforementioned Leverkusen, RB Leipzig and Borussia Mönchengladbach in the league alone, not taking into account their games against PSG and AC Milan in the Champions League. The next month and a half will be a critical time for Dortmund and may prove defining for the course of their season as a whole.