There have only been three weeks between the international breaks at the beginning of October and the start of November. But they have been three weeks to forget for Borussia Dortmund, whose players will be looking to banish the memories as quickly as possible. They have just under a fortnight until their next outing, when they face VfB Stuttgart.
"Bayern Munich deserved to win," said Peter Bosz after the 3-1 defeat by the league leaders. "Perhaps we might've had the better chances, but unfortunately we couldn't convert them into goals," he explained. "The team sometimes needs a goal when we're not playing better than our opponents."
The coach does not doubt for one moment that his players possess the necessary quality. "We showed at the beginning of the season that we have good players who can play together well," he said. Borussia Dortmund's task must now be to rediscover their early-season form. It's all in the mind. But it's not an easy thing to do when you're on a negative run of form like BVB are at the moment. "It's difficult to rediscover your self-confidence when you lose so many games and when you – as we are – are working with lots of young players," explained the Dutchman.
Perhaps, then, the international break has come at the right time. Just as the break at the beginning of October came at the wrong one. Back then BVB were on an excellent run in the league and the fact players were leaving to link up with their national teams came at the worst conceivable time, as it completely disrupted their rhythm. Now, though, it might not be a bad thing at all that lots of the players will now have their thoughts elsewhere for the next 10-12 days. "Perhaps it will do the internationals in the squad some good to have a change of scenery, to see something different for a bit and play with different teams so that they can look forward to coming back to BVB again," theorised Julian Weigl, who has not been given an international call-up by Germany boss Joachim Löw having only recently returned from a long injury layoff. "For the players who will be remaining in Dortmund, it will be a case of fully focusing on BVB," Weigl continued. "What we need is to get some results on the board as quickly as we can, starting in Stuttgart if possible."
There is certainly a sound logic to what the midfielder is saying. Directing their thoughts elsewhere appears to be the right recipe for the players at the moment. But from the viewpoint of the coach, who wants to use the domestic hiatus to work on some of his side's shortcomings, there is only so much you can achieve over the international break. "We'll work with the players who'll remain here. But it's difficult to do something because many players won't be here," said the coach. "We need to wait for the lads to come back." One thing's for sure: it's certainly not an advantage to be resuming Bundesliga action on the first Friday after the break. "Most of the players will only be back from Thursday onwards," explained Bosz.
"Go on a run after the international break"
However, the coach is confident his charges can turn their plight around and is feeling calm and composed about the remainder of the season, saying: "We still have seven months left to go in the Bundesliga. That's plenty of time to turn the tables. We'll manage it." The Dutchman also once again singled out Borussia Dortmund's famous fans for praise following the clash with Bayern Munich. "Our fans were wonderful," he said.
"When you're 3-0 behind in such a big match, then usually the spectators would start to get on your back. Our fans have always stood behind us and given us their support. That's exactly what the team needs in this situation," said Bosz, who remains optimistic and believes his charges will succeed in reversing their fortunes before the winter break. Julian Weigl added: "We hope that everyone returns injury-free so that the team can stay together and the level of competition remains high. Then we can hopefully come back stronger after this international break and go on a run." Dennis-Julian Gottschlich