Borussia Dortmund lost their second competitive match of the season on Friday, falling to bogey team Hamburger SV, 3-1, at the Volksparkstadion.
Easily the worst performance under head coach Thomas Tuchel, this loss will sting for a while.
Mixed zone – find the post match quotes here
Tuchel played his entire current first-choice XI, with Marco Reus returning to the lineup after missing the Revierderby with a torn muscle fibre. Dortmund started the game in a 4-3-3, which they’ve used a few times in recent weeks.
It was a nervous start from both teams, as most players seemed to struggle with the surface in the Volksparkstadion. The pitch was slippery, which saw many balls displaced even by technically gifted players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Ilkay Gündogan.
The first of far too many instances of shambolic defending led to the hosts’ opening goal after 19 minutes. Sokratis tried to clear a long ball with his chest but only found Lewis Holtby. The former Schalke man played a clever pass into the path of Ivo Ilicevic, who seemed to make a mess of the situation at first. Thanks to Roman Bürki’s inexplicably late rushing out of his goal, however, the Croat won his side a penalty. In what has to be described as a a bizarre mistake from Borussia’s Swiss ‘keeper because Ilicevic’s touch led the attack away from goal, Bürki collided with the 29-year-old. Pierre-Michel Lasogga scored from the spot to give Hamburg the lead.
Die Schwarzgelben weren’t shocked after going down, as Reus saw their first real chance saved by René Adler four minutes after the goal. They did, however, struggle to create spaces and find openings in Hamburg’s rather disciplined defence.
Holtby doubled the lead of die Rothosen in the 41st minute after another catastrophic mistake by a Dortmund defender, this time a horrendous pass from Matthias Ginter. Nicolai Müller scooped the ball up and ran at BVB’s defence relatively unhindered. He held the ball up long enough for Holtby to make a run into the danger area. Julian Weigl lost track of the space around him and was partly at fault as well. Holtby’s neat finish over the outstretched leg of Bürki made it 2-0 four minutes from time.
Tuchel made two changes at intermission, bringing on Lukasz Piszczek and Gonzalo Castro for the out of sorts Ginter and Shinji Kagawa, who had failed to make any impression in the first 45 minutes. Dortmund looked determined to get back into the game in the early goings of the second period, with Marcel Schmelzer, Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at least approaching Adler’s goal.
A Dortmund man did find the net ten minutes into the second half, but, unfortunately, it more or less put the game to bed: Captain Mats Hummels headed the ball into his own net from a corner. The struggling skipper’s own goal was the pinnacle of another forgetful night for Hummels, whose spot in the starting lineup might well come into question if he doesn’t turn things around soon.
With the game all but wrapped up, HSV began to crack a bit. One does wonder what could have been had Adler not brought his A-game. The former Germany ‘keeper rolled back the years with an inspiring performance in the last half hour of the game.
Aubameyang missed a sitter in the 62nd minute: Piszczek played a glorious ball across goal, where the Gabonese didn’t have to do too much. But, in a sign of the kind of night the Black and Yellows had, he only found Adler’s midriff.
Fifteen minutes later, Adler was light on his feet to save a tricky Gündogan free-kick, which he must have seen very late. The 30-year-old was powerless against Aubameyang four minutes from the end of regulation. The Gabon international scored his 15th goal in the Bundesliga and 23rd across all competitions after brilliant work from Mkhitaryan and Adnan Januzaj, whom Tuchel had brought on for Reus earlier.
It proved to be too little too late, but not for a lack of trying on Dortmund’s part. Within seconds after extra time had begun, Adler made a stupendous triple save: First, he parried a drop-kick from Castro. The midfielder got a second chance after the rebound led to a cross, but Adler was again up to the task. Aubameyang had another crack at it, but the goalkeeper denied him as well.
Piszczek had Dortmund’s last chance in desperation time, as his thunderous effort hit the woodwork. Aubameyang scored on the rebound but was correctly ruled offside.
Hamburg remain Dortmund’s bogey team: Die Schwarzgelben have won only once in the last seven meetings of the two sides. While the defeat will in all likelihood prove to be rather inconsequential, thanks to an eight-point advantage over third-placed VfL Wolfsburg, the manner in which Dortmund conceded three goals can’t just be glossed over.
Diabolical defending, bad finishing and only the second loss in the Bundesliga – it was an embarrassing night in Hamburg. Good thing Dortmund only have to play the Dino twice.