Borussia Dortmund excited the Champions League for unforeseeable time with an utterly pathetic performance. I hate to say “I told you so”, as I was already pessimistic ahead of the match and didn’t see BVB making it past Juventus, but I didn’t expect the black and yellows to be this harmless. NOT A SINGLE CHANCE WAS CREATED in a match where Dortmund HAD to score from the outset. By all means, Juventus defended superbly on the night, nay flawless – but with all the quality that is inside this BVB team you would expect them to do better – even against a well organized defense. You’d expect them to at least create one or two chances, but instead there was just nothing. Kevin Kampl managed the first shot on target well past the hour mark and since Gigi Buffon could catch the ball, it wasn’t really a threatening shot either.
The fact that BVB didn’t create a single goal scoring opportunity is overshadowing the fact, that they conceded three goals in their own stadium. One is already so used to their incapability to defend with a high line, that it seems to be the standard.
“We ‘only’ have to win 1-0” – Jürgen Klopp said it multiple times ahead of the match, but this possibility was squished by Carlos Tevez after three minutes and if you had turned off the telly at this point, you’d done everything right because it didn’t become better at any point of the match.
Juventus could rest on the fact that BVB had to score two goals to force extra time, while they had done their duty for the night. It was the worst case scenario, but hey – why would it occur to Dortmund players that it’s actually possible to score from distance? Tevez had all the time he needed to pick his shot, while Ilkay Gündogan was trotting towards him. He might not been able to stop him, but it’s the body language that counts here. It makes the fact, that Gündogan had the words “Sorry I’m a winner” lasered on his boot truly embarrassing – overall the midfielder had his worst performance in many years, as his play was imprecise, his decision making not up to the usual standard and his defensive endeavors subpar.
But of course the loss was a collective failure, as nobody in the team really managed to step up on the night. It’s sad to behold how incoherent this team looks, especially when going forward. There were hardly any one-twos or passes played in quick succession to open up Juve’s organized defense. Once upon a time BVB could rely on their combination play, but nowadays these attempts are suffocate in it’s core by imprecise passing attempts in the final third. Whether it be Marco Reus, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Kevin Kampl or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, there was no coherency and no blind understanding on the pitch. It seems everyone is a bit too preoccupied with himself currently.
Mats Hummels said after the game “We simply have to accept that Borussia Dortmund is not in the shape to be able to play up to the required standards for a good Champions League season.” Scratch the ‘Champions League’ it’s the whole season that has been subpar and now without the Champions League it seems to be even more dull as there isn’t much to play for anymore. There is still the DFB Pokal and an Euro League finish at best in the Bundesliga.
I will miss the thrill of the Champions League and the great representation on European stage by the Dortmund fans, who always support their team with an enormous amount of passion. The choreo, honoring BVB’s Chamions League win against Juventus in 1997, on Wednesday before the match was simply magnificent.
In the end Borussia Dortmund deserved to go out against Juventus, who were simply a class above the Germans. 4-1 on aggregate and if it wasn’t for Chiellini’s splip, Dortmund might have stayed scoreless overall. Juventus were the wrong opponent at the wrong time for the black and yellows – as absurdly as it may sound but Real Madrid might have been the easier pick for BVB, as they could have at least made use of their transmission play. This tie might create false hopes for Juventus, who weren’t really tested by BVB – It’s time to rebuild.