Borussia Dortmund find themselves back into crisis-mode after drawing 2-2 against SC Paderborn. Yet, losing two points might not be the worst that came out of Match day 12.
Marco Reus, being carried off the pitch on a stretcher – that’s the last we’ll see from him this year. Borussia Dortmund confirmed the torn ankle injury on Sunday, prognosticating his return to team training not before January.
It’s the foul cherry on top of the rotten Bundesliga-cake. As if not winning against SC Paderborn after leading 2-0 wasn’t bad enough, BVB must do without their star player for at least the seven remaining games of the year.
Crisis, what crisis?
The first half was pretty much how Borussia Dortmund fans imagined the game beforehand. A clear headed and dominant performance. 80% passing accuracy, winning the majority of take ons and second balls, not allowing SC Paderborn to get a foot onto the ground – apart from that one invitation send out by Marco Reus, but Roman Weidenfeller defused the one on one situation with Süleyman Koc.
BVB were focused, in full control. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put away the first chance Borussia Dortmund created, a rare sight to behold. A goal coming of a cross by a fullback – even rarer. Erik Durm picked up the assist.
Until the 2-0 scored by Reus in stoppage time of the first half not much happened. A few chances here and there, but all in all an uneventful game. It looked to be a typical Pflichtsieg – a win without much glamour, but without much trouble either. Again Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang proved that the second season under Klopp is when players excel (Take note, Henrikh Mkhitaryan). He not only scored his 10th goal in his 18th game this season, but his ball to bring Marco Reus into play, who only had to apply his trademark finish nutmegging the keeper, was sweet.
It’s probably the best idea for Klopp to shift Aubameyang into Reus’s position and either player Ramos or Immobile upfront.
Winter is coming
Wolfgang Stark, we meet again. The referee is – to sugarcoat it – not the fan-favourite amongst Dortmund supporters. He had many, let’s say, controversial moments and “mistakes in perception” to quote the Bavarian FIFA referee himself. The incidents accumulated and long story short, Stark did not officiate a Dortmund match since a cold December day in 2012 – until this Saturday.
And of course the icy relationship between BVB and the refeere would pick up where it left off. Jurgen Klopp was clearly unhappy with the two biggest decisions Wolfgang Stark had to make in the game.
The Dortmund manager had not much warmth for Marvin Bakalorz’s reckless studs-up challenge that put Marco Reus into hospital, arguing a red card would have been appropriate.
Secondly, the disallowed goal that Kevin Großkreutz scored should have counted, as Milos Jojic was not actively taking part in the play, even though he stood offside.
Frankly, the offside rule leaves a lot of room for interpretation and it’s hard to tell, whether Jojic irritated the defender and goalkeeper or not. Some referees give the goal, some don’t. Dortmund’s fortune might freeze up when Wolfgang Stark blows into a whistle, but all fairness the avalanche-like plummit in the table cannot be blamed on the officials this time.
Conceding both goals via corner is frustrating, especially when the opponent only had one.
It’s hard to tell, which goal was worse to concede. A counter-attack, against a lesser side away from home being 2-0 up, that could have been stopped at least thrice, before Matthias Ginter and Neven Subotic got embarrassed by Lukas Rupp or Kevin Großkreutz’s unsuccessful attempt to hinder Mahir Saglik from scoring the equalizer.
First of all, it was a great corner whipped in with power, nothing like the feathersoft Kagawa-lob from the corner flag.
Second of all, a little more effort can be expected even of Kevin Großkreutz, who is not famous for his timing on headers. His jump looked more like a frightened frog, trying to get away from a drowning spatterdock, than a committed challenge, as the place 15 and ten minutes before full time would request.
It’s not like this Dortmund team is making a lot of mistakes, but these are the tiny percents that are missing at the end of the day undoing all the good stuff the team is producing. Of course, it’s far away from perfect at the moment. One can always be more clinical in front of goal – but that’s beating a dead horse, or play more dazzling one-twos to unlock defenses, but the truth is Borussia Dortmund are efficiently making the worst out of their potential right now.
Another completely unnecessary result, that kills of confidence and a good chance to gain ground on the Champions League spots lost. In fairness, BVB gained one point on third place, but that’s hardly soothing the pain of the Reus injury, nor the result.
Yet, there is no other option than to continue fighting.