Defeat to Bremen ensures bleak midwinter for BVB

Bremen - For the first time in their Bundesliga history, Borussia Dortmund will spend the winter break in the automatic relegation places after going down to a 2-1 defeat away at fellow strugglers SV Werder Bremen.

Nightmare start

The Bundesliga champions of 2011 and 2012 could find no way back into the game after falling behind to goals from Davie Selke and Fin Bartels, with Mats Hummels’ second-half header a mere consolation. Jürgen Klopp’s side must now go into the festive period reflecting on ten defeats from their first 17 games of the campaign.

Dortmund knew that a win would take them out of the bottom three over the winter break, but as has seemingly been the case all season, they got off to a catastrophic start. A lack of pressing in midfield and poor defensive positioning from the back four allowed Selke to slip a flimsy offside trap and curl in his fourth of the season with aplomb.

It was the third time this season that BVB had conceded inside the opening five minutes of a game, and it was a blow that punctured the optimism of the vociferous travelling fans for much of the first half. Ciro Immobile had their first sniff of goal on the half-hour mark when his header was blocked, but only after Melvyn Lorenzen had dragged a wasteful effort wide after Ilkay Gündogan had been caught in possession.

Immobile isolated

Towards the end of the half, the visitors looked a little more threatening, with the impressive Oliver Kirch, on his first start of the season, forcing a smart save from Raphael Wolf. Dortmund had lost all five of the matches in which they had trailed at the break this season, however, and there appeared little chance of that changing after the break after another slow start to proceedings.

Immobile was utterly starved of service into the box an had to go looking for the ball, lessening BVB’s attacking presence where it counted, while the newly introduced Shinji Kagawa’s first contribution was to head horribly wide when completely free from ten yards.

Hummels’ false dawn

It was a glaring miss from the Japan international and Borussia paid dearly moments later when Bartels steamed into the box to confidently side-foot Selke’s cross into the net. Dortmund were sinking fast but still there was nothing in the way of creativity to inspire them, until Hummels threw himself into Ilkay Gündogan’s corner, the skipper's header finding the corner to give BVB a lifeline.

Kagawa skied another effort woefully off target before Wolf saved well from Matthias Ginter and Gündogan, while Bartels almost sealed the points at the other end when his chipped effort came back off the post. The home side were able to hang on for a deserved win, however, and make sure Dortmund will endure a bleak midwinter indeed.

Line-ups and statistics

Bernie Reeves