In the end it's always the same thing. "Today it was once again very visible what has been lacking for years, in order to constantly knock at the top," said coach Edin Terzic after Borussia Dortmund's 2-3 (1-0) defeat at 1. FC Köln.
After every win, the highly talented team was asked "what's in it this season," added the visibly disappointed Terzic. "Games like this show that we don't have to think about it. Because these things happen to us again and again."
With a win, BVB could have gone into the league summit on Saturday against FC Bayern Munich as table leaders. After the third defeat in the eighth game of the season, the Westphalians slipped back behind Bayern, who were tied on points. Terzic said he had "no doubts" about the mentality that was so often discussed in Dortmund. However, his statements in detail questioned precisely this. "In a very important phase of the game we weren't ready to defend our goal," criticized the coach. And when asked if that would slow down the euphoria ahead of the top game, Terzic replied: "We're stepping on the euphoria brakes ourselves - precisely because of games like today."
Lacking Haaland's power?
Even if Dortmund's constant references to Munich's greater sporting and financial potential are undoubtedly correct - the fact that Bayern have been champions without exception for a decade is also due to the fact that the only serious pursuer has had a complete system failure at important moments for years lies down. The fact that important players like captain Marco Reus and defense chief Mats Hummels were absent in Cologne is at best an explanation, but not an excuse.
This season it is clear: Without Erling Haaland, who scored eleven goals in the first eight league games for Manchester City, as many as the entire BVB team, Dortmund cannot overrun the opponents. It's all about discipline. This is also proven by the fact that four of the five victories were won 1-0. That's how it was in Cologne after Julian Brandt's goal (31st) at the break. The appearance afterwards, as goalkeeper Alexander Meyer stated, "is not possible. It was missing that we as a team resisted. You have to resist it, also show body language. You don't score points that way." The reason is "that many are busy with themselves". What Brandt confirmed involuntarily and in a bizarre way: "I didn't pay attention to that. Of course, I was first busy with my performance."
Also striking: While BVB conceded just one goal in 512 league minutes with Hummels, it was an incredible nine in 218 minutes without the veteran. The newcomers Niklas Süle and especially Nico Schlotterbeck show a lot of uncertainties. Facts that should not remain hidden from national coach Hansi Flick.
And one more thing became painfully clear on Saturday: the experiment with Anthony Modeste has probably failed for the time being. Even in his old living room in the Cologne stadium, where he had celebrated numerous goals with his glasses, the 34-year-old Frenchman lacked any connection to the game. He didn't get a single noteworthy chance to score.
"Borussia Dortmund's style of play was never defined by crosses. But that's a mutual concession," said Brandt. But the fact that BVB is playing an unwelcome system especially for Modeste can no longer be justified given its repayment in terms of performance and goals. Especially since U21 national player Youssoufa Moukoko was clearly more present and more dangerous after his winning goal in the derby against Schalke.
In the Champions League now against Sevilla
Before the game in Munich there is still the Champions League duel against FC Sevilla, which is also groundbreaking in this competition. And in between, Terzic will always take his players to task. "We'll raise it again," he said. "We'll try to learn our lessons from it again. Then we'll talk again about having to show a reaction." The word "again" is a frequently used one in Dortmund.