In a crucial match against third-place Bayer Leverkusen, Dortmund failed to put up a decent fight, losing 5-2. After a few matches in which the leaky Dortmund defense managed to be just good enough to keep winning games, the damn finally broke against an electric Leverkusen attack. To make matters worse for the home side, the attack without Erling Haaland failed to threaten the Bayer defense for a majority of the match. In the end, Dortmund were thoroughly beaten by a side that was entirely deserving of the victory. A story that BVB fans have become all too familiar with this season.
At the start of the international break, Marco Rose said that the team would focus on defending during their two weeks of training. It didn't seem to help them much on matchday. BVB's defense against Leverkusen was probably the worst it has been all season, with goals coming from counter-attacks, set pieces, and some of the stupidest turnovers in our final third that I have ever seen. Dan-Axel Zagadou's mistake on the opening goal was the single most embarrassing example of self-sabotage from a BVB player all year, which considering the year we've had, is quite impressive. It's getting to the point where I find myself longing for the days under Lucien Favre when we conceded a minimum of two set-pieces a game. At least back then, there was some consistency!
Rose's Reluctance to Sub on a Striker
With Erling Haaland injured, it seemed logical to assume that Donyell Malen would play the number 9 role on Sunday, but after 45 minutes of ineffective play from the Dutchman, I, for one, was expecting a change. After 60 minutes of ineffective play, I was screaming at my television. Youssoufa Moukoko and Steffan Tigges sat on the bench for an agonizing 79 minutes before Rose finally decided that he'd seen enough, and it was time for Moukoko to get a chance. This kind of decision-making from the manager makes it fairly evident that he doesn't trust his young strikers, especially Moukoko, to be the super-sub the team needs. I find that to be incredibly concerning.
The "Title Race" is Now Truly Dead
If you were still holding out any hope that Dortmund would manage to fix their defensive issues long enough to give Bayern a challenge this year, Sunday had to have killed it. Dortmund is now 9 points behind Bayern, and after what we just witnessed, there is no way this side can mount a comeback against the Bavarians. Hopefully, we can look forward to a more positive rest of the season, but it certainly won't be one where we're in the running for the Meisterschale.