On Wednesday, Dortmund lost 3-1 in Monaco. That meant that they had crashed out of the Champions League Quarterfinals with a 6-3 aggregate defeat over two legs.
Sure, it was disappointing, but some of the reaction to BVB’s exit from the CL has been quite over the top. Much of that reaction has been in the form of abuse hurled at Thomas Tuchel.
Yes, there are some legitimate complaints to have with Tuchel after the defeats. He probably picked the wrong starting lineups in both matches. Sven Bender’s inclusion didn’t work in the first leg, but Tuchel recognized that and switched things up at halftime. In the second leg, Erik Durm was the ill-advised starter who got yanked early on.
Those are fair criticisms of Thomas Tuchel, but some are using them as fuel to say that Tuchel should lose his job? That’s preposterous.
For starters, Monaco are a better team than Dortmund. They have been all season. They’re in first place in a French league that is stronger than you think. They’ve been the best offensive team in all of Europe this season, and have impressively scored 3 goals in every single knockout game they’ve played up until this point.
Compare this to a Dortmund side that hasn’t even come close to competing for the title, in a Bundesliga that is weaker than you probably think. While Monaco have been a model of consistency, Dortmund have had embarrassing results like losses to Darmstadt, Berlin, and a poor Bayer Leverkusen team. Such is life when you lose multiple key players in the summer and replace them with promising youngsters. They’re growing pains.
And then of course there were the injuries affecting both sides. Monaco were only without Djibril Sidibe, while Dortmund were without Marc Bartra, Marco Reus (for the 1st leg), Andre Schurrle, and Mario Gotze.
This meant that BVB had to start Matthias Ginter, a player who is simply not good enough to play this deep into the Champions League.
Then there were the refereeing decisions. I’m not one who likes to blame the refs, but they were atrocious in the quarterfinals. And not just in the Dortmund-Monaco matches either.
And of course, there was the emotional toll still hitting Dortmund’s players after the bombing attack before the first leg. It’s been discussed a lot, but surely the poor starts in both legs had as much to do with that, as they might have had to do with questionable starting lineups. It was impossible to stay focused under those conditions.
Marc Bartra being available could have made a world of difference, especially considering the way he had been playing recently. But it appears that no one in Europe is capable of stopping the likes of Kylian Mbappe right now.
But with or without Bartra, it should be recognized by Dortmund fans that the better team won. This Monaco team is a team for the ages, and it’s a shame that they will probably be broken up in the transfer market this summer. But don’t be shocked if they win it all before they split this summer.
Dortmund meanwhile are still a very young team with a very bright future. And they’ve got a very young coach who, despite what you may be feeling after the quarterfinals, also has a very bright future.
He managed to guide Dortmund to this point, when they could’ve easily crashed out of the competition earlier.
So let’s give Thomas Tuchel a break, and let’s get behind our manager. Yes you can criticize him, but don’t try and claim that a Champions League Quarterfinal exit means he should lose his job.