One day after securing their club’s second straight appearance in UEFA Champions League’s quarterfinals, Borussia Dortmund players are hitting back at their own fans, with whistles heard during the team’s 2-1 loss leaving a lasting impression on the team.
Despite losing to visiting Zenit St. Petersburg, BVB advanced in Champions League, posting a 5-4 aggregate win over the Russian club. The sellout crowd at the Westfalenstadion had shorter-term goals in mind, however, expressing their disapproval as last year’s finalists saw out the final portion of their Round of 16 meeting with Zenit.
The players noticed. One day after seeing the Russians out of the competition, Dortmund players turned there attention to their fans behavior, expressing their disappointment.
“Some in the team are really affected by this,” captain Sebastian Kehl said, as reported by Reuters. “A home game should be a positive experience and not feel as if we have committed some sort of crime.”
Dortmund have one of the more fearsome crowds in European soccer, with the 65,829 in attendance for Champions League matches coupling one of Europe’s largest crowds with a passion that’s made the Westfalenstadion one of the world’s more renown fan experiences.
On Wednesday, however, that passion turned on the team in yellow and black.
“I really do not like this,” midfielder Kevin Großkreutz said. “Every time we lost possession you could hear moans in the crowd.
“We do not need moans, we need support. Afterwards you can whistle but during the game we need the support.”
Veteran midfielder Nuri Sahin asked for perspective. Though Dortmund eased past Zenit on the back of the 4-2 win it posted in St. Petersburg, the team is still trying to compensate for the absences of Jakub Blaszczykowski, Ilkay Güdongen, Neven Subotic, and Sven Bender.
“Look at what kind of injury setbacks we have had to deal with and play football this season,” Sahin urged. “We are in the last eight and that is something that should be looked at carefully and honoured.”
Head coach Jürgen Klopp echoed the sentiments, saying “We as Borussia Dortmund have to learn that a great success sometimes is hidden in a 2-1 defeat.”
Great, perhaps unreasonable success is clearly what the crowd expected. Four years ago, this team wasn’t even in Europe. Now, they’re in Champions League’s final eight and 10 months removed from an appearance in the competition’s final. Interesting quickly expectations chance in the Ruhr valley.
In the league throughout and sitting on four away goals, perhaps BVB didn’t play their best game Wednesday against Zenit. Given the circumstances, however, supporters should have had more flexible expectations. After all, the team is still into the quarterfinals.