The criticism could hardly have been much clearer.
“For some reason we will lose order and our game philosophy at some point, and then we will no longer work together,” said Wolfsburg's offensive player Renato Steffen after the deserved 3-1 defeat in the Champions League at Red Bull Salzburg.
The strong start to the season and the Bundesliga lead in mid-September seem light years away.
VfL has not won seven games in a row.
While coach Mark van Bommel - at least outwardly - is still quite relaxed, Steffen sees an alarming trend.
“In the end, what has been lost is precisely this collaboration.
That a teammate sometimes makes the way for the other, even if it hurts, ”said the 29-year-old in the catacombs of the Salzburg football arena.
“That is what distinguished us last year and also at the beginning of the current season.” The longer the season runs, the more this strength has disappeared.
Adeyemi meets early
Van Bommel does not express such criticism in public.
Instead, the Dutchman always pointed out that little things decide about victory or defeat.
"We haven't played a single game against the wall," he said.
He's right about that.
But if VfL continues to act as unfocused as it did in the early stages, when young international Karim Adeyemi brought the hosts into the lead after a mistake by Kevin Mbabu after three minutes, it will be difficult to get out of the crisis.
While Wolfsburg only had a few clear scoring chances, 19-year-old Adeyemi and double-goal scorer Noah Okafor (21), big for Salzburg.
With his tempo dribbles and his impressive technique, Munich-born Adeyemi showed why top German and international clubs are after him.
VfL is currently completely lacking the lightheartedness of Salzburg power football.
“Now we haven't won seven times.
Of course that does something to the trust, ”said van Bommel.
"That is logical." So how do the Lower Saxony get out of the crisis?
“You can only get out of a vortex or a spiral like this if you help each other and don't just let the opponent run,” said Steffen and added: “It has to be worked on and I think we have to do it in the next few days address again more clearly. "
VfL does not have much time.
On Saturday, the Bundesliga, in which Wolfsburg lost three times, continues against SC Freiburg.
In the premier class, despite only two points in three games, everything is still possible in terms of the round of 16.
The gap to the table runners-up Sevilla FC is only one point.
Everyone should now "look in the mirror and think about what I can do for the team that it gets better," said Steffen.
"This is the only way we can get back on track."Keywords: renato steffen, bundesliga, criticism, season, self-criticism, start, champions league, lead, noah okafor, clear, mark van bommel, point, player, salzburg, order