Stuttgart pokes Borussia Dortmund; BVB responds with six in Bundesliga rout

Leave a comment

The final score was as lopsided as the performances, and in that way, Friday’s was what’s become a typical performance in league from Borussia Dortmund. But en route to their 6-1 win over visiting Stuttgart, BVB were handed one, minor setback. Stuttgart kicked the hornet’s nest.

Borussia Dortmund’s trademark intensity was evident early at the Westfalenstadion, but when Karim Haggui took advantage of Mats Hummels misjudging a corner to give Stuttgart an unexpected 13th minute opener, that persistence turned into vengeance. Although they had started well, Thomas Schneider’s team were in for a long night.

BVB responded within six minutes with defender Sokratis Papastathopolous’s his own corner kick magic. Marco Reus added a second three minuter later, dribbling through a confused and disorganized Stuttgart defense to make it 2-1. Dortmund would carry that lead through halftime.

After intermission, the slaughter commenced. Starting in the 54th minute, Robert Lewandowski took advantage of more astounding Stuttgart defending to score twice in the three-minute span, the Polish international eventually completing his hat trick in the 72nd. With nine minutes left, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended the scoring, lobbing a bouncing ball over  Sven Ulreich from a tight angle right of goal.

Here are some mixed-language highlights:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a8cuDfJ6Sg]

A quick view of the numbers would gives you a good idea of how the match played out. Stuttgart had one shot on goal and one corner kick – Haggui’s goal. They went on to be outshot 16-3, with Dortmund putting 10 on target. The hosts only had 52 percent of the game’s possession, but the foul total hints at the difference in intensity between the two sides. BVB was whistled 15 times. Stuttgart only committed four fouls.

The disparity in form was as wide as the numbers. Stuttgart looked like the team that got Bruno Labbadia fired earlier this year, a surprisingly inept performance from a club that’d gone over a month without a loss. Dortmund, meanwhile, displayed the same venom with which they opened the season. The teams were in completely different leagues, but whereas BVB’s was one of elite, relentless attacking, Stuttgart’s featured Eredivisie-level defending, a combination that produced a landslide result.

Dortmund’s attack shouldn’t be short-changed, though. In fact, with BVB moving to 31 goals in 11 games, we should be asking how good they might get. Marco Reus is playing as well as ever. Robert Lewandowski has improved on a rate that’s produced 46 league goals over the last two season. Midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s production has increased as he’s settled into the team. Perhaps this groups won’t make it as far as last year’s Champions League finalists, but they may end up more prolific.

That abundance of goals has temporarily vaulted Dortmund top of the table, two points ahead of a Bayern side that visits Hoffenheim tomorrow. The rout almost moves Lewandowski to the top of the league’s scoring charts with nine goals, two clear of a five-man logjam with seven.

Can Borussia Dortmund remain a force next season or will they fade?

3 Comments

Borussia Dortmund fell just short in this season’s Champions League final to Bayern Munich, something they’ve heard all too much in the recent months.

But the pain of the loss may be felt the most knowing that the chance to hoist that trophy may not come again for a long time.

The rigor of a lengthy Champions League run can take its toll on a squad, even into the following season. Klopp admitted following the defeat that the squad was visibly drained by the 75th minute of the classic at Wembley

More daunting, however, is the prospect that next season will see Dortmund’s bitter Bavarian rivals get even stronger…at their own massive expense.

Bayern have already triggered Mario Gotze’s €36.8 million ($47.6 million) activation clause, and now outgoing manager Jupp Heynckes strongly hinted that Robert Lewandowski will follow in Gotze’s footsteps.

Dortmund’s two most dynamic players will be leaving Westfalenstadion with the intent of of creating a dynasty at the club they failed to upstage at any point this season.

It’s been a pretty rapid climb for manager Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund since arriving five years ago.  He inherited a team that finished 13th of 18 in the Bundesliga, and has since brought them two Bundesliga championships and this season’s blistering run through the Champions League.

Klopp has vowed to return to the finals of the Champions League, saying, “We will come back, maybe not to Wembley but we will try to come back to another final.”

But that feat is one of the most difficult to promise – even “The Special One” Jose Mourinho, armed with this year’s Champions League top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo couldn’t get past the semifinals in each of the last three years.

Unfortunately for Dortmund fans, Klopp has pretty much capitulated to the notion that he will have a lot to replace next season, but at least he’s confident. “I have much work to build a new team. I think we’ll get a pretty decent team together, I wouldn’t worry about that.”

He will certainly have a lot of resources to work with, given the massive haul he’s already been guaranteed for Gotze, plus the equally large sum he will most likely get in return for Lewandowski. But if you injected the boss with truth serum, it’s a guarantee he would tell you he’d rather have the players than the money.

Can Klopp replace Lewandowski, who the enigmatic German boss bought in 2010 for a measly €4.5 million ($5.6 million)? Can he replace the 20-year-old Gotze, who cost the club literally nothing having come through their youth system?

It’s a massive task ahead of him, but he’s shown this season he’s at least up to the challenge. Any challenge.