Emre Can, Marco Reus and Gregor Kobel trot away
Photo: Tom Weller / dpa
The next disaster: Dortmund's captain Emre Can didn't dwell on relativizations for long. "We weren't strong enough in the duels, and it was a disaster in terms of football," said the midfielder, summing up his team's performance at VfB Stuttgart. And Can wasn't done yet: "Our run-up is very, very bad," said the Germany international, taking the forward pressers to task – and contrasting them with their opponents Stuttgart: "They're running, they're always there." In the end, it was a total failure that Can dissected at the ZDF microphone. Is that also the responsibility of the coach? Can didn't want to make it that easy for himself: "It has to come from the team, from each individual."
The result: VfB Stuttgart defeated an ultra-defensive Borussia Dortmund 2-0 (0-0), Stuttgart's second home win over BVB within three and a half weeks. Click here for the match report.
Rejuvenation: In the league, Dortmund's 1-2 defeat had been rather too low at the time: the numerous missed VfB chances, including a penalty, would have been enough for a BVB debacle on a good day. "We were very unhappy with the performance and the result," said coach Edin Terzić before the cup match – and changed the plan from back then to four positions, including international players Niclas Füllkrug and Julian Brandt on the bench. "It's also about getting a certain amount of freshness into the game today," said Terzić, who called up his fastest attackers to the starting eleven.
Cursed Talent: Youssoufa Moukoko was allowed to try his hand in Füllkrug's place – only for the second time this season from the start. But the 19-year-old, long regarded as Germany's greatest attacking talent, didn't stay on the field for 25 minutes before he went down again with a knock. It remains a cursed season for Moukoko, who has scored two competitive goals this season. Even the substitution of Füllkrug did little to revive a BVB attacking game that had been tired up to that point, and Stuttgart keeper Alexander Nübel did not have to make the first save until the 59th minute.
Unrecognized Talent: Speaking of talented German strikers: In Stuttgart, Brighton loanee Deniz Undav has now played his way into the starting eleven alongside goal machine Serhou Guirassy. The 27-year-old late starter, who would also be eligible to play for the Turkish national team, is considered a hot candidate for a call-up to national coach Julian Nagelsmann's squad. That's exactly what he was sitting in the stands of the Stuttgart Arena that evening – and saw an almost overzealous Undav, who was dangerous with his head (24th), made centre-forward runs (41st), got the ball in pressing, but then lost track (43rd) and combined diligently, but remained unusually luckless in front of goal.
Camisole, change: As in the last meeting, the best BVB player was a former Stuttgart player: Gregor Kobel repeatedly proved his class against Guirassy (25', 52', 69'), Atakan Karazor (45'+2') and Enzo Millot (58'). Kobel was powerless against the strong goals of Guirassy (54th) and Silas (77th). The Swiss had moved to Dortmund in 2021 to celebrate success on a new scale - two years later, VfB (with Dan-Axel Zagadou and Chris Führich in the starting eleven, who were sorted out in Dortmund) are ahead of BVB in the league and after the direct duel in the cup quarter-finals.
Internal predetermined breaking points: For BVB coach Edin Terzić, this is at best a mixed record on St. Nicholas' Day: fifth in the Bundesliga, out of the cup, but at least survived a so-called group of death in the Champions League. In terms of play, Borussia are now so conservative that the team's spokesmen like to burst their collars after defeats - after the last Stuttgart game it was Füllkrug, this time Can. However, Terzić is said to enjoy unbroken support at the club, especially that of club boss Hans-Joachim Watzke. During the week, the "sports coordinator" Slaven Stanic had to leave – in the tabloids he had previously been identified as a vocal critic of Terzić.
Hoping for the yellow wall: A plus under Terzić is the home strength. And Dortmund will have to carry that over the coming week: League rivals Leipzig will be guests at the Westfalenstadion on Saturday (18:30 CEST) and Paris Saint-Germain in the duel for group victory in the Champions League on Wednesday (21:<> CEST). In the event of renewed failures, it cannot be ruled out that the mood in Dortmund will continue to change.