BVB defies the trauma – but how broken is Dortmund?

Dortmund is slowly recovering from the dramatic football trauma last Saturday. BVB managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke was already combative again on Wednesday in the “Sport-Bild”. The club will not break up because of the missed title, so the tenor: “Not in the beginning! Anyone who thinks that is so wrong.”

BVB was not broken by the bomb attack on the team bus in 2017, nor by the 2-1 defeat in the Champions League final against FC Bayern Munich in 2013. Dortmund would “definitely not break because of this league final”, said Watzke.

Watzke and Kehl combative after BVB drama

On Sunday, Watzke admitted in “Kicker” that this failure felt worse than the bitter evening of 2013 at Wembley. “It hurts a lot. I’ve been doing this job for a long time, but yesterday it felt even worse than losing the 2013 Champions League final.”

The images of the devastated team and the crying coach Edin Terzic in front of the south curve still reverberate to this day. Michael Ballack, who is well versed in such drama, believes the team has a long way to go.

“It doesn’t go unnoticed. I experienced that in 2000 with Leverkusen, we suffered a short and painless blow in Unterhaching, lost 2-0, Bayern won 3-1 against Bremen and became champions.” A single point would have been enough for Leverkusen to win the title.

Ballack: BVB fiasco bigger than the Leverkusen trauma

From the “Capitano’s” point of view, the Dortmund fiasco was even “a bit worse. Everyone expected Dortmund to be able to cross the finish line on crutches at home in front of over 80,000 fans against Mainz. Something like that does something to you. Therefore: This season finale will probably burden Dortmund for a long time, especially since BVB had already missed a few big points during the second half of the season, like in Stuttgart or in Bochum.”

Like Watzke, sports director Sebastian Kehl contradicted concerns that the team could break up. “The fact is that it still hurts very, very much. Saturday was difficult and brutal,” Kehl said on Wednesday at the SpoBis sports congress in Düsseldorf: “It will take a few more days. That’s okay. Nevertheless, we will soon be looking ahead again. Because we want to attack again next year.”

But what can that look like? The situation is extremely dangerous for Sky expert Dietmar Hamann. “The key question will be: do you think you can do even better next season? I have serious doubts about that after the tragedy on Saturday. Something like that hangs on. There will be players who will not become champions in their careers. Who will carry this day with them beyond the end of their careers.”

BVB must initiate change in the summer

According to Ballack, a few changes are needed in the team “to bring in a breath of fresh air and to be able to put the backpack down.” The fact that BVB extended with the veteran stars Mats Hummels and Marco Reus just before the last match day “could still happen next season become a problem,” says Hamann.

“Reus’ influence over the past few weeks and months has been minimal and will certainly not increase. I assume that Dortmund will have a new captain next season. The discussion about Reus will continue anyway – and that is not helpful, “said Hamann, who sees goalkeeper Gregor Kobel as a safe candidate.

What is certain is that in addition to the loss of Raphael Guerreiro in Jude Bellingham, a second key performer will probably leave the club. With the fee of around 120 million euros, which beckons in a transfer, BVB can initiate the summer upheaval.

Jean Harris

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