Dortmund under pressure as old problems resurface
BERLIN (AP) — Borussia Dortmund is under pressure after dropping more points in its bid to end Bayern Munich’s Bundesliga dominance.
But don’t suggest the team has a mentality problem.
Dortmund captain Marco Reus reacted angrily to the suggestion after Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Eintracht Frankfurt.
“Are you serious? The 2-2 was a mentality problem?” Reus told a Sky reporter. “Every week the same rubbish.”
Dortmund coach Lucien Favre also rejected the notion on Thursday.
“It’s easy to say it’s a question of mentality. I don’t think Dortmund had won in Frankfurt for six years,” Favre said. “We were close to a win because we played very well. We could have done better because we only scored two goals. Of course we can be annoyed about losing two points, (conceding a goal) two minutes before the end, it’s a shame, but we have to look forward.”
Favre received support from sporting director Michael Zorc.
“Mentality is blamed for a lot, especially when things are not going well,” said Zorc.
“We’re still very early into the season. When I look at the (media) reports this week then I get the impression we’re at the end, that we’ve missed our targets and that we’ve played a terrible season. It’s all a bit too much for me,” Zorc said.
But Dortmund’s league challenge is in danger of faltering due to the same frailties that undermined its hopes last season. The side has already dropped five points from five games and it can ill afford many more slip-ups if it is to claim its first Bundesliga title since 2012.
Dortmund failed to exploit numerous chances to build on leads against Frankfurt and twice allowed the home side to get back in the game. The defense looked shaky without the injured Mats Hummels, who had been forced off injured after 63 minutes.
“We had big opportunities to score more goals,” Favre said. “At times we played very, very well, but at times our last pass and our second-last pass wasn’t so good.”
It was a similar story against Barcelona in the Champions League the previous Tuesday, when Dortmund dominated the second half but failed to convert chances into goals and had to be content with a 0-0 draw.
Favre said the situation reminded him of February, when Dortmund went five games without a win and got knocked out of the German Cup by Werder Bremen. Also, Tottenham won 3-0 against Dortmund, on its way to knocking Favre’s team out of the Champions League.
Dortmund frequently dominated last season without converting chances into goals and was then prone to conceding late in games as nerves took hold.
“You have to keep going after scoring the first goal,” said Favre, whose side failed to register a shot at goal in the last 15 minutes of the first half against Frankfurt, and was hanging on again at the end of the second.
“You can’t dominate a game for 90 minutes. Altogether it was OK, but not good enough,” Favre said.
The draw left second-place Bayern a point ahead of Dortmund after five games. Leader Leipzig is three points ahead of Dortmund.
Dortmund hosts Bremen on Saturday, while Bayern visits bottom side Paderborn and Leipzig hosts Schalke.
Ciarán Fahey on Twitter: https://twitter.com/cfaheyAP