Dortmund - A difficult week culminated in a disappointing defeat for Borussia Dortmund, as die Schwarz-Gelben suffered a setback in the Bundesliga title race, losing ground on league leaders FC Bayern München following a 2-1 loss on the road against VfL Wolfsburg.
During a seven-day spell in which little has gone BVB’s way, head coach Jürgen Klopp had hoped his side could “turn the Arsenal FC defeat into something positive”. However, after failing to produce the desired reaction, Roman Weidenfeller and Co. were left to bemoan their own individual errors as they departed the Volkswagen Arena. “We were too careless,” admitted the newly-nominated German international.
Much like the UEFA Champions League encounter with the Londoners, the trip to Wolfsburg was a story of missed opportunities for Dortmund, who walked away with nothing to show for their endeavours, despite boasting more possession and shots on goal than their hosts. "Had we taken our chances after the interval, the result would have gone our way,” explained Weidenfeller. “But it also must be said that we invited Wolfsburg to win the game.”
It was a frank admission from the club vice captain, but one that was echoed by his team-mates, who did not shy away from laying the blame at their own feet. “Today we made far too many errors, both on an individual level and as a team, and we were duly punished," said Nuri Sahin of the result, which was made worse with the news that centre-back Neven Subotic will be out of action for at least six months after tearing the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.
“Simple and needless mistake”
Far from producing a sub-par performance, Dortmund had taken the lead on the stroke of half-time courtesy of Marco Reus’ direct free-kick, the fourth of its kind he’s scored since joining the club in 2012. However, the upshot of their midweek exertions seemed to take its toll on BVB as the game wore on. “We definitely still felt the effects of playing a tough game on Wednesday, but we were also guilty of a lack of concentration today in one or two situations,” conceded Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
“We made simple and needless mistakes that brought Wolfsburg back in the game,” continued the Armenian. “After taking the lead we should never have let the game slip out of our hands. It's a shame because we really wanted to win after the defeat to Arsenal.” While criticising the profligacy of the Bundesliga’s highest-scoring side, who have only failed to score once this term, appears somewhat contradictory, their wastefulness was highlighted further by another victory for title-rivals FC Bayern, who edged four points clear at the league summit.
Gearing up for a showdown
In a role reversal from the 2011/12 campaign in which Dortmund lifted the Bundesliga title, it is no longer FC Bayern, but BVB who are seemingly suffering as a result of a lack of squad depth. Though Marvin Duksch and Jonas Hofmann, both of whom came off the bench against the Wolves, are exciting options for the future, neither are established enough in the top flight to make the desired impact with their team trailing.
Nevertheless, with the prospect of facing the league leaders on Matchday 13, the collective mood in the Dortmund camp is one of determination. “It's a small setback, but we will use the international break to come out of it with renewed vigour,” said CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke, whose side have no intention of giving up hope in the title race. “We have to keep going even if we may have lost some ground on Bayern,” concluded Mkhitaryan. “There’s no doubt we’ll get opportunities to claw the points back.”
The Bundesliga's clash of the titans is just around the corner. Check out this feature on Borussia Dortmund and FC Bayern München going head-to-head courtesy of the official Bundesliga YouTube channel: