Not ready for the title: BVB in shock after late setback in Stuttgart

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STUTTGART/DORTMUND (dpa-AFX) – Edin Terzic looked as if Borussia Dortmund had already lost the race for the German championship. “Anger” and “disappointment” were what the BVB coach felt after the 3:3 (2:0) upset, including conceding a goal in the seventh minute of stoppage time, in VfB Stuttgart threatened with relegation. “Unnecessary” and “stupid,” he called the latest blow in the Bundesliga title fight. At times, the 40-year-old looked as if he was close to tears. Then, however, he gave himself another jolt.

“There is still a lot worth fighting for,” stressed Terzic, looking at the standings. In second place, Dortmund are still two points behind leaders FC Bayern Munich. Nothing that can’t be done in the remaining six match days. However, BVB must first come to terms with a late shock from Stuttgart. Once again, he lacked the maturity of the title, once again threatening to end up empty-handed.

His team must “finally start learning from these unnecessary setbacks and not allow it to happen again,” asked Terzic for the final push of the season. Meanwhile, the coach no longer protects his players as much as before. On Saturday, he felt reminded of the memorable match against Werder Bremen in August, in which his team led 2-0 until the 89th minute and then lost 3-2.

“There I thought, now I’ve seen everything in football. It can’t get worse – and then it comes today,” said Terzic. Instead of drawing with Bayern with the points, Borussia threw away a great chance against ten fighting with all their heart against Stuttgart. As they have done many times since they won their eighth and so far last championship in 2012, what they saw in the second half shook both Terzic and sporting director Sebastian Kehl to their core.

“There are reasons why we have not managed to be at the top in the last ten years,” said Terzic. “There are reasons why I have been criticized more often in recent weeks for being very humble about this situation we are in.” Even at the break, when his team was leading 2-0 in Stuttgart and had jumped a number due to a yellow card against VfB defender Konstantinos Mavropanos (39th place), he said he pointed out that the opponent had only one chance to get back into the game: “Then, when we lose discipline.”

And Dortmund lost discipline – in their own possession, when they lost the ball and in their defensive work. They still had two shots on the crossbar, but in many duels they no longer had the necessary bite. “This should not happen,” emphasized midfielder Salih Özcan, speaking about a perceived defeat.

After goals from Sébastien Haller (26) and Donyell Malen (33), BVB still conceded the equalizer through Tanguy Coulibaly (78) and Josha Vagnoman (84). Even after the wild card Giovanni Reyna (90.+3) had provided for the renewed advantage, it was not enough for the victory. The supposed redemption was followed in the middle of the championship chant of the BVB fans by the low blow of the 3:3 by Silas of Stuttgart (90.+7). “Frustration” and “some aggressiveness” felt sports director Kehl. One had “broken many things.”

Bayern, who have been troubled for weeks, drew again at 1:1 in the parallel match against TSG 1899 Hoffenheim – but BVB could not take advantage. “If we don’t win the games, we can also forget to look at how Bayern are playing,” said Özcan. Despite their brilliant comeback with eight wins in the first eight league games of the year, Dortmund are ultimately in danger of going titleless again. Terzic, in particular, suffered at the thought of the award BVB may be depriving himself of again.

He referred to the illness of Haller and other personnel troubles in the first half of the season, the decline in sixth place before the winter break. “With a lot of diligence and a lot of anger” they started the preparation in January, explained the coach. “Then we got ourselves into the starting position we’re in right now – and then we just give it today.” Dortmund are in shock. First the dream of a cup title was shattered in Leipzig, now the next trauma is emerging in the league./lot/DP/he

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