Big concerns about Julian Brandt: Bitter misfortunes plunge BVB into cold reality

After ten wins from ten games, BVB is out of luck.

Big concerns about Julian Brandt: Bitter misfortunes plunge BVB into cold reality

After ten wins from ten games, BVB is out of luck. Chelsea fetched it from them at the end of the first half. The Londoners are in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and BVB are worried about Julian Brandt.

Kalidou Koulibaly had just managed a rare feat. The Chelsea defender was in the Dortmund penalty area after a free kick, the goal was empty, the ball came to him. And he actually managed to play the ball two, maybe three meters in front of the box with the heel so unluckily that the game device moved away from the goal again. Then Joao Felix also managed another feat. From a few meters he shot the Dortmund goalkeeper Alexander Meyer. And just a little later, to make matters worse, Raheem Sterling also hit an air hole in the penalty area. Once again, BVB brought a lot of luck with them and after almost 45 minutes they were in a position to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

But suddenly the ball had an idea and that was it. Because when said Sterling hit the air hole, the ball did not slip through his legs after a cross from the left side so that it became unplayable. Rather, he oriented himself in the direction of the supporting leg, suddenly stuck to his foot and magically pulled the England international towards the goal, past the amazed and amazingly weak tackle Marco Reus and past Meyer as well. A few minutes before the break, Chelsea had managed an impossibility.

The Blues had not only carved out a chance, they had scored. An absolute rarity in the surreal billionaire club with the inconspicuous coach Graham Potter. They had only scored four goals in the twelve games played in 2023 up to that point, only twice in their own stadium. Once last weekend in the arduous 1-0 win against Leeds United. Back-to-back wins had jumped out for Chelsea for the last time in October 2022 and now they so desperately needed that win to halfway justify their season. They needed this win against Dortmund, who for their part had been lucky in the game for weeks and had traveled to London quite optimistically with ten wins from ten games in 2023.

However, those who were there first lost decisive players, then luck and finally faith. And who also struggled with the - depending on the reading - strange to scandalous ten minutes after the break and the multiple VAR interventions. The 2000 Dortmund fans who traveled with us saw it in disbelief and, to top it all off, had to endure the mocking chants of the home supporters at the end. "Who are you?", "Who are you?" shouted the loyalists of the billion dollar club in the direction of Dortmund. If they had heard it, they would have answered: We are the ones who have a home game here. Unlike the fans, the Dortmund professionals did not have this and then not only Kai Havertz and Co against them, but also luck. Football can be so unfair. "We have to accept the defeat. That's bitter, of course," said defender Marius Wolf, whose handball triggered the VAR disaster that came over Dortmund.

Injury, Bad Luck, VAR and the Lost Faith. An unfortunate sequence of events that led to the end. First Julian Brandt, who had been outstanding for weeks, had to go down after just five minutes, then the ball fell in front of Sterling's standing leg and after the break the VAR and Dutch referee Danny Makkelie mixed things up - until Havertz increased. When Chelsea then withdrew, defending 2-0 and only waiting for a counterattack, Borussia was unable to create chances. And if a ball did come through, as in the 58th minute to Jude Bellingham, it was due to chance on the one hand and wasted effort on the other hand to that coincidence. The Englishman, who grabbed the headlines in the London press before the game, forgave miserably, completing his erratic performance at home.

"It was a heated atmosphere. There was a lot of fire as soon as we got here and we didn't get into the game that well," said Nico Schlotterbeck after the game. However, the former Freiburg player expressly did not want to blame the late start of the game due to the traffic chaos around the stadium for the sleepy start.

Borussia Dortmund had impressively marched through the league in the last few weeks, coach Edin Terzić had rotated properly, repeatedly given new players a chance, heated up the competition and repeatedly referred to the depth of the squad. But that was no longer the case after Brandt's early injury. The Sauerland player had to put down a line-up without the suspended motivation champion Julian Ryerson and the injured Gregor Kobel, Youssoufa Moukoko and Karim Adeyemi and now also replaced Brandt after five minutes. He grabbed his thigh and had to leave the field. A slap from his buddy Havertz and then the active part of the trip to London was already over for him. "Jule is the player for us on the offensive," said Wolf and also found the injury "very bitter" for his team-mate and the entire team. He was certainly not wrong in that assessment.

The former Leverkusen player had established himself as the driver of the Dortmund game in recent weeks and was also able to take the load off Bellingham, who is currently not overly dominant. Terzić may have to do without him for a longer period of time. A major setback for the coming Bundesliga weeks. The 26-year-old woke up from his sleepiness in these first games of 2023 and not only presented himself offensively as a completely renewed player. With his increase in performance, hopes grew in the gray Dortmund winter sky. And with his failure, these hopes could now be massively shaken. Because of course Terzic let it rotate, but he relied on a few central figures. With Kobel, Adeyemi and Brandt, Borussia had to do without three of the most important ones.

Although BVB had slowly been able to break free after the injury and was decisive between the 12th and 35th minute against the lurking Londoners, they rarely got in the direction of the Blues goal. On one occasion, Brandt substitute Gio Reyna played wonderfully on his right after four games on the bench and was able to put the ball into the penalty area, but a center forward was missing there. Because once again Sébastien Haller had started too low and did not get into the dangerous area in time. The ball tumbled through the penalty area. And Haller remained without a degree. The Ivorian is feeling the strain after his return from cancer these days. But because behind him only the transfer misunderstanding Anthony Modeste and Donyell Malen, who is still a stranger to BVB, are waiting, he gets more playing time than he would have with a real competitor.

"We were just too passive in the first half. We lacked penetrating power in the first third. If we're honest with ourselves, we can be happy with the 0-1 break," said Schlotterbeck: "More would have been possible." Like coach Terzic, he didn't want to channel his immense frustration at the missed opportunity into the referee's decision. While Emre Can and the external consultant Matthias Sammer sensed the scandal on amazon prime, Schlotterbeck looked towards the weekend. Then luck should return in the derby at Schalke.

"Now it's time to work up and then concentrate on the league and the cup," he said and his coach assisted at the PK. "Today we're really disappointed, but tomorrow we'll get up and look forward again," he said: "Today we lost to Chelsea in the Champions League and we don't have to be ashamed of that. At the end of May we'll see what we can do deserved. We have to work for everything and we'll see what that is like."

When it was all over, Julian Brandt limped out of the stadium, Marco Reus had no voice and in the guest block they demanded the derby win. The tour of Europe is over, now BVB wants to achieve everything in the league. But after this evening in London, the trend is against BVB, who not only no longer appear invincible, but also lose their difference player in the German international Brandt. "Bitter," Wolf said again, summing up the evening.