You all read the title of this article, right? In case you missed today’s game, Borussia Dortmund blew not one, but two leads, including a two-goal lead, to a relegation candidate that spent more than half the game down a man. That could be the whole article right there! Do I need to say anything else? Are we done here?
If you want to win the Bundesliga, you cannot let this happen. It’s as simple as that. Screw it, if you’re a midtable 3. Liga side, you still can’t let this happen. You cannot blow not one, but two leads, including a two-goal lead, to a relegation candidate that spent more than half the game down a man.
I could sit here and make excuses, and point out the injuries to Dortmund’s center backs, Mats Hummels’ substitution, and that Stuttgart got the bounces they needed on their first two goals, but I don’t care. Dortmund were thoroughly outplayed in the second half, choosing to sit back on their 2-0 goal lead and assumed that Stuttgart would just quietly accept their fate. Unfortunately for them, the side with a 5-8-14 record showed more effort and professionalism than a side that assumedly aspires to become champions of Germany. I don’t know whether it’s laziness, entitlement, or incompetence that made Dortmund’s players think they could stroll effortlessly to victory today. Perhaps they thought they could win on talent alone. Unfortunately, to a paraphrase a line from Miracle, these players did not have enough talent to win on talent alone.
Stuttgart’s first goal was a bit lucky, and Emre Can was unfortunate to deflect the ball into his own net, but it shouldn’t have mattered. Dortmund held a 2-0 lead against a side with 10 men for most of the game, and couldn’t extend the lead past two goals. When the score became 2-1, Dortmund couldn’t muster the energy to rebuild their cushion, and fell under siege despite, again, having a man advantage. When Stuttgart took their corner kick in the 84th minute, Salih Özcan simply poked the ball back into a maze of players instead of trying to clear it, and not a single Dortmund player could get to it before Josha Vangoman could lash it into the net. To Özcan’s credit, it was a lovely assist.
Despite 30 minutes of dire football and a blown 2-0 lead, for a brief few minutes, it looked like Dortmund had averted disaster. Gio Reyna struck the back of the minute in stoppage time. I had already been in the process of writing what was going to be a very angry article, but I started to breathe easier: while it was a disastrous display that would not inspire a shred of confidence in the BVB fanbase, at least the club would walk away with all three points.
STUTTGART HAVE SCORED IN THE 97TH MINUTE TO MAKE IT 3-3 pic.twitter.com/v1funUIspC— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) April 15, 2023
I’ve gone back and replayed Stuttgart’s last-second goal about a half dozen times, and each time I’ve noticed something new that Dortmund did wrong. The play involved so much calamitous, haphazard defending that I almost think it deserves its own article, whether it was Raphael Guerreiro bombing forward like a chicken with his head cut off, Salih Özcan deciding to stand around like a traffic cone instead of marking his man, or Soumaila Coulibaly flailing helplessly as the ball as it bounced right to Silas.
I’m so disgusted,
- I’m sorry, I know he’s young, but Soumaila Coulibaly looked absolutely dreadful and should not take the pitch again this season. His passing was weak and timid, his tackles were mistimed, he was bodied multiple times, he couldn’t make a clearance to save his life, and he was even saved once by a very tight offside call. In the final seconds he swung wildly at the ball and completely missed, giving Silas all the time in the world to pick his spot and score the equalizing goal. He needs more time before he’s seeing minutes in a title race.
- Donyell Malen was arguably the best player on the pitch, so of course he was subbed off.
- I don’t know what Mahmoud Dahoud has done to earn the scorn of Edin Terzic, but he could not possibly have been worse than Salih Özcan today. Özcan completely failed to mark Silas, who was standing unimpeded at the top of the 18-yard-box as the cross fell to him, and failed to clear the ball before Josha Vagnoman could lash it into the net.
- Bayern Munich drew against Hoffenheim today, so the two sides could have been level on points when all was well and done. Oh well, that’s what happens when you blow not one, but two leads, including a two-goal lead, to a relegation candidate that spent more than half the game down a man.