After what was ultimately a deserved defeat in Leverkusen – the club's seventh game in the space of 21 days – those involved on and off the pitch all agreed that the extremely congested fixture list over the course of recent weeks was among the reasons why BVB did not manage to pick up any points at the Rhine. It was not used as an excuse, however.

Thomas Tuchel's charges now have 13 days in which to recharge their beleaguered batteries, to banish the Leverkusen match from their minds and to get ready to go again. "We made a lot of mistakes, gave away too much and did not take advantage of our chances," said Julian Weigl, who felt he did not deserve to be absolved of blame, in his post-match interview. "It was my fault in the build-up to their opener. I slipped over. I need to apologise to the team for that."

"You could sense that we were tired"

Ultimately, though, there was still plenty of time remaining to turn the match around. "We had the chances, we just couldn't take them," said the youngster, adding. "Our play was too complicated and Leverkusen defended well. Then, of course, their second killed the game." Were the lack of effectiveness in front of goal and the absence of creativity during phases of the match the result of a loss of substance arising from the numerous, highly-intense fixtures over the course of recent weeks?


In part they were. "We have just had a very intense period and must not forget that we have a lot of young players and that our team has not been together for a very long time. It was very demanding. We had an intense match every three days, and then we had to round off that period with a trip to Leverkusen," said Marcel Schmelzer, who continued: "In addition there are a few injury problems at the moment, only two fit centre-backs for example." He remained positive, though: "Overall we can definitely be happy with the matches over the last few weeks."

Though Thomas Tuchel concurred with his captain, the BVB coach added that "you could sense that we were tired – on a mental level too". At the end of this congested period of fixtures full of highly-intense matches, there were also a few players who were ruled out through injury that BVB could have done with having in the side against opponents like Bayer Leverkusen. "That was noticeable," admitted Tuchel.

"We need to learn from such games"

Among the lessons learnt from the match is that the Black and Yellows sometimes struggle when facing teams that defend with aggressive forward pressing. That was the case in Leverkusen, just as it was in Leipzig on Matchday 2. Gonzalo Castro was well aware of the parallels: "Leipzig and Leverkusen operate in a very similar way. Both defend very aggressively. It is always very difficult when you are facing such teams because they don't ever let you settle."


Borussia's midfielder, who was substituted at the half-time time due to adductor problems, was astute in his analysis: "Particularly away from home we need to go up a notch. We've lost without scoring on two occasions. That needs to change." Marcel Schmelzer continued: "We need to learn from games like the Leverkusen one and to do better in the future, especially against teams that press us so early on."

"Still a good chance to get our heads straight"

BVB's next away trip comes on 18 October, when they travel to Lisbon. Admittedly not an easy task. Four days beforehand Borussia play host to Hertha BSC in the Bundesliga as they bid to wrest back second place from the capital club. Not easy either, but there are still two weeks remaining in which to process the defeat in Leverkusen – though many of the players will be on international duty. Among the latter group is Julian Weigl, who is in Germany's squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Czech Republic and Northern Ireland. It's not exactly recovery time. "But it's still a good chance to get our heads straight and see a few different people," said the 21-year-old, as he bade farewell to domestic action for the international break.

Dennis-Julian Gottschlich