Not everything was bad in Borussia Dortmund's 0-1 defeat away to Rasenballsport Leipzig. But there again not everything was good, which is the reason why BVB lost to a newly promoted team for the first time in nearly two years. Back then the Black Yellows lost 1-2 away to 1. FC Köln.
Borussia was lacking firepower up front and the willingness to shoot at goal for long stretches of the game on a pitch that was not easy to play on. They had five shots on goal in the first half and eight shots on goal in total - just one of these shots would have actually hit the goal. Eight shots on goal - there has only been one occasion under Thomas Tuchel when BVB had less shots on goal (seven when they won 1-0 in Leverkusen in February 2016). The BVB Head Coach spoke about a "shortcoming". Team captain Marcel Schmelzer saw it as follows: "unfortunately we did not get in a shot on goal right up to the half time break. It's difficult to score a goal under those circumstances." And Mario Götze, who started a game for the first time for Borussia in 1229 days, said: "just one shot on goal - that's not enough."
Successful return for Mario Götze
The returned hero did not get a shot in himself, but he did show in the first half that he can be a real good addition to Black Yellow in the way he spread the ball about, the way he won the ball back and those special moments he shows during a game. Thomas Tuchel was full of praise: "Mario played really well, especially in the first half." André Schürrle could have changed the game completely on two occasions. After half an hour his shot landed just inches wide of the right hand post and in the 83.minute he was totally unmarked and only hit the crossbar. He admitted after the game: "I should have put that one away."
It was not just due to Dortmund's careless play and not making use of the available spaces or them lacking precision when it came to shooting on goal that BVB did not get more clear chances on goal. Rasenballsport Leipzig attacked Borussia early on and they did everything so that the BVB Express Train did not get into full motion. It would have been much less frustrating if BVB would not have conceded a goal. Schmelzer criticised: "just because a team defends against us high up, it does not mean that we can give away a game like that." Thomas Tuchel spoke about the 0-1 goal being a goal that didn't "look like coming."
However substitute Naby Keita (89.) could not care less. But he was also very lucky. The reason for this is: Marcel Halstenberg played the ball with the top part of his arm in the initial move to set up the goal and there were also some Rasenballsport players off-side when Leipzig goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi cleared the ball from his own half. Even after the game the sky pundits Christoph Metzhelder, Lothar Matthäus and ex-referee Markus Merk discussed passive and active off-side intensively. But so be it. Dortmund had "enough half chances that they could have converted into 100% chances and they could have taken advantage of these chances to take the lead and win the game," as Tuchel explained.
„There is no doubting our competitiveness“
In the end BVB did not only travel home after a defeat that could have been avoided, they also learned something from this experience. Thomas Tuchel: "we are still there trying to get to know ourselves. It was obvious that we made many wrong decisions when we were trying to build up the game, but still we managed to cope with this well. We never started to let it get to us. (...) we need to stick at it and work hard. I can feel the way the team wants to grow together; I can feel a great harmony within the team. That is why we have to continue as we are."
And the show goes on for Borussia when they are back in the UEFA Champions League already next Wednesday after missing out on the Champions League for one year. "The game in Leipzig was a good foretaste for the match in Warsaw. They are back in the Champions League after 21 years, they will really get stuck in. We can't allow ourselves to be pulled down and we have to improve on Wednesday," was the way Marcel Schmelzer put it. Thomas Tuchel could also not see any reason to question everything after just one defeat: "everyone is willing to give everything in training. But we have to make it all fit together. There is no doubt about our competitiveness for Wednesday."
Legia Warsaw is currently twelth in the Polish league
By the way: BVB was not the only team to fail in their dress rehearsal for the UEFA Champions League. The Polish champions and Cup winners Legia Warsaw lost away to LKS Nieciecza 1-2 and is currently only in twelth place in the Polish "Lotto Ekstraklasa" after eight games, having already lost three games and having only won twice on the road. Legia has only won one of seven competitive games at home so far this season. (fu)