Dortmund’s historic capitulation brings Terzic honeymoon to an end | Andy Brassell
“Even as a child, you can’t imagine a sequence of play that spectacular,” said Ole Werner. The 34-year-old Werder Bremen manager is the Bundesliga’s youngest head coach but anyone would have celebrated as wildly on the pitch after this tumultuous ending at Signal Iduna Park, which left Borussia Dortmund stunned.
“I have no idea what happened there,” said their shocked captain, Marco Reus, who has seen a lot of improbable twists in his decade at the club.
This was without precedent in the Bundesliga’s history. Dortmund led 2-0 in the 89th minute and heading for a third win out of three in the nascent league season – albeit with efficiency rather than any particular style. Then came the drama, with such an east Midlands hue it could have been directed by Shane Meadows – Once Upon a Time in Westfalen, if you will. First, Lee Buchanan (born in Mansfield and who left Derby for Werder in the summer) smacked a delicious left-foot volley into the top corner, which looked like a pretty but scant consolation for considerable Bremen efforts.
Werner’s relentlessly positive promoted side had different ideas. In the third minute of stoppage time, Niklas Schmidt stooped to head an equaliser, feverishly received by the travelling staff and fans.
There was more. Oliver Burke – born in Kirkcaldy but brought up in Melton Mowbray, a former Nottingham Forest prodigy who also arrived this summer – was played into the inside-right channel by Mitchell Weiser and rifled in an angled shot in front of the Yellow Wall to bring the house down.
After last week’s late, late goal via the same combination to salvage a point against Stuttgart, Burke’s second in two games went one better. Werder had completed a comeback later than any managed before in the Bundesliga from that position. After all the discussion of a move to five substitutes favouring the big boys, three replacements had scored to make history and create a shock that will be difficult to surpass this season.
It was delirium for Werner’s team. Outside the away end after full-time a group of travelling fans celebrated with a bagpiper, fittingly after the decisive contribution by the Scotland international Burke. For Dortmund? Desolation. If this was a mugging in terms of timing, Werder hadn’t stolen their win.
“We’re talking about a deserved defeat,” said Edin Terzic, while calling the manner of conceding three late goals “completely stupid,” with visible irritation. “We can’t lose a game like this,” the sporting director, Sebastian Kehl, told Bild TV. “The team know they’re responsible.”
And they did. “We didn’t play well throughout the game,” said Reus, complaining that his side “can’t keep the ball for 20 seconds”. Werner said he would have considered the game as a missed opportunity had Werder fallen to defeat.
Dortmund’s results this season had thinly masked a certain malleability, but this was a step backwards. “The results and commitment [had been] right,” wrote Ruhr Nachrichten’s Jürgen Koers, “even if the team was far from exhausting its footballing potential.”
This was like pulling teeth. A 2-0 lead had flattered BVB. Gregor Kobel (again) saved them more than once in goal and they didn’t get a shot on target from inside the penalty area until the 90th minute, when the substitute Youssoufa Moukoko called Jiri Pavlenka into action shortly after Buchanan’s strike.
The defensive side of things will bear greater analysis. Marius Wolf and Raphaël Guerreiro are good footballers but few people’s idea of secure full-backs – Wolf is really a winger, while Thomas Tuchel and Lucien Favre saw Guerreiro as a midfielder. The Portuguese’s value going forward was underlined by the second goal on Saturday, which should have clinched it, a skidding shot under Pavlenka.
Werder’s late goals underlined BVB’s vulnerability in wide areas so acutely that they could have been part of a health and safety video provided for the returning Terzic. Dortmund are pleased to have him back, but the honeymoon is over. He has a job on his hands to break flaky old habits and he “needs to weigh up who he can trust,” as Koers put it.
Frank Baumann, the Werder sporting director who has had to repel his share of criticism over the past six years, cut an unusually happy figure on Sport 1’s Doppelpass on Sunday morning and didn’t spare Werner any of the credit, saying the coach “fits us like a glove.”
They are still a long way off challenging at the top, as they did in Baumann’s days as a player, but on this evidence, so are Dortmund.
Bayern were back at Bochum, the scene of last season’s greatest humbling. There were few hints of that this time, though you could argue the home side being less scared of the champions than the rest of the league meant they kept pushing even when behind, leaving themselves fatally open. Julian Nagelsmann’s side cruised to a 4-0 half-time lead and an eventual 7-0 win. Leroy Sané made a first start of the season and struck an excellent opener in an impressive display. “If he’s 100% up for it, then he’s one of the best players in Europe,” his coach said. Cristian Gamboa, scorer of an absolute screamer in February’s 4-2 win for Bochum, had a nightmare here. He was implicated in two of Bayern’s first-half goals and poked the sixth past his own goalkeeper, Manuel Riemann, who also had a day to forget.
Leipzig stumbled again and are still searching for a maiden win of the campaign after defeat at Union Berlin. Timo Werner complained (with some justification) that he should have got an early penalty from an errant Christopher Trimmel challenge. That said, Union were more bright and decisive afterwards, with the perfectly matched Jordan Siebatcheu and Sheraldo Becker again hitting it off and both scoring. So Union extended a) their hex over RB and b) their club record Bundesliga unbeaten run to 10 games, stretching from last season. Werner warned that Leipzig “urgently need to win a game or it could get pretty dark,” while the atmosphere at the fan open day on Sunday was subdued to say the least.
Then we get to Leverkusen. Flagged by many as a possible Bayern dauphin before the start of the season, they are pointless with a single goal to their name after their third defeat, a comprehensive 3-0 home loss to Hoffenheim. Gerardo Seoane’s side could claim a degree of bad luck in the previous reverses and even here Sardar Azmoun managed to inadvertently clear teammate Patrik Schick’s goalbound shot off the line. They were well beaten by André Breitenreiter’s stylish side, with Christoph Baumgartner backheeling an opener, Ozan Kabak going on a barnstorming run to set up Andrej Kramarić and youngster Georginio Rutter applying the coup de grâce with a rocket from range. “The squad [from last season] more or less stayed together,” said the Bayer managing director, Simon Rolfes, “so we have to remember what made us so strong.” It makes the current level of disarray even more concerning for Seoane.