Borussia Dortmund has earned a deserved win in the Champions League at Sevilla FC after the last few games and remains a mystery that can hardly be explained. Does this exclamation – now the next question mark?
Basically, you can do it very quickly: “I don’t have an answer,” said Edin Terzic after his successful debut as head coach in the Champions League. The question he was asked before: Why did Borussia Dortmund suddenly appear completely different in their 3-2 first leg win against FC Sevilla than in the previous weeks?
Terzic’s reply was thoroughly honest, because BVB remains a mystery that can hardly be explained – a phenomenon that is not limited to this season. Dortmund’s team has been covering the entire spectrum at regular intervals for a long time, but particularly likes to fluctuate between the extremes: sometimes uninspired and inattentive, then again energetic and merciless.
There are dozens of explanations for why the right balance and the necessary constancy was found too seldom recently, but apparently no solution. Before and after the poor games of the recent past, Terzic, also sports director Michael Zorc and licensed player boss Sebastian Kehl emphasized again and again: Everything works wonderfully in training, there the team correctly implements the instructions and specifications.
However, there is no opponent present in training in this sense and, as we know, this complicates things immensely in football. The concentrated and cohesive performance of BVB in Seville is therefore likely to have been one that was only recently admired in the Brackel district. But it doesn’t help the club very much if the great potential of the squad is only used selectively.
BVB almost never succeeds in confirming its own claim
Dortmund was anything but the favorite in Spain, because Sevilla came from a real run and, contrary to many opponents in the Bundesliga, was out to play their own game. Already on Saturday in the possibly last Revierderby in the upper house against Schalke, the conditions will be completely different again, the psyche will also play a role again due to the height of the fall against the bottom of the table.
“Every game presents us with new challenges,” said Terzic. “Today was a similar challenge to the one we had a few weeks ago in Leipzig, for example. But on Saturday the next task is waiting for us, with different topics.”
If you just look at the current season, BVB was almost never able to confirm its own high standards after a convincing victory: At the start of the season, a good performance against Gladbach was followed by a bankruptcy in Augsburg, after the victory in Bruges Dortmund lost to Cologne, Mainz beat Borussia after their best performance so far under Terzic in Leipzig.
What you, as a BVB manager, have to be able to expect from your team, however, are the simple basic virtues of this sport, on which the convincing appearances were usually based: fight, passion, unity, team spirit, attitude. “Everyone was ready in their heads today,” said Terzic on Wednesday evening – not the first telling sentence from a Dortmunder recently.
For match winner Erling Haaland, who has now scored 41 goals in 42 competitive games for Schwarzgelb, the team was “more motivated, more passionate, simply more focused” than last. “The key was that everyone pulled along. That makes a team,” said goal scorer Mahmoud Dahoud. And Marco Reus said: “The best way to get out of there is to approach the games aggressively and fight.”
“BVB has commented on the future, I am responsible for the present,” said Terzic about the commitment of his successor Marco Rose. There are at least 15 more encounters and everything is still possible and a lot is possible. But time is running out.
Borussia did not achieve more than four competitive game wins in a row this season. This series started in October against Schalke – maybe a good omen.