Champions League: BVB and the consequences of Wembley: Fear of the next trauma

Champions League: BVB and the consequences of Wembley: Fear of the next trauma

In 2023, the lost championship had a longer-lasting impact than was publicly stated. BVB defender Schlotterbeck admitted this after the lost Champions League final. That should not happen again.

The fear of the consequences of Wembley accompanied Borussia Dortmund back home. The BVB professionals, who were once again bitterly defeated in the Champions League final in London, knew full well that the 0:2 (0:0) defeat against Real Madrid would have a similar impact to the 2023 championship that was lost.

“I think that the championship drama at the beginning of the season last year also killed us a bit,” said national defender Nico Schlotterbeck, recalling May 27, 2023, when BVB lost the title they had already thought they had secured with a 2-2 draw against Mainz on the last matchday of the season.

Dortmund took this burden with them into the new season, disappointing by their standards in the league and only finishing fifth. “I hope that we start the preparations better this year and that we then play a better Bundesliga season,” said Schlotterbeck, but hardly radiated confidence and was more afraid of falling “into a little hole.”

Dortmund, who as outsiders dominated the Champions League record winners with 15 titles for 70 minutes without scoring a goal, fear a similar burden as a year ago. Coach Edin Terzic already knew what was in store for him: “And now the biggest challenge is to keep that belief alive.”

Lots of frustration at the after-game party

Even on Sunday night, there was hardly any sign of this belief. With slumped shoulders and sad faces, the players arrived at the pre-organized party in central London hours after the final whistle, which was probably not very lively. Terzic did his best to transform his players’ frustration into determination and a “now more than ever” mentality.

“And even if there will always be setbacks at the beginning of next season: never let doubt win. If we all keep our faith in ourselves, then we will come back, then we will fight back,” said the 41-year-old.

All the statements that, despite BVB’s worrying inconstancy last season, praised the astonishing Champions League season as a source of encouragement for a new, successful era sounded almost defiant. “This Champions League season shows that we can cause problems for any team in the world. This team has incredible potential,” said Schlotterbeck, and even said: “What I can say is that at some point we will celebrate a title for the fans and then have a really big party.”

Millions of investments planned

Changes are essential for this. “We have experienced a season with too many fluctuations. But today was once again the perfect example of what is possible with this team and what we are capable of,” said Terzic, although the game was ultimately lost. Despite all the passion, Real’s class in scoring goals at crucial moments despite all the adversities and their own mistakes is something that is nowhere to be found in the current BVB squad.

It’s no wonder that BVB wants to invest a large part of the more than 100 million euros it has earned from the Champions League in the team. “We cannot invest 100 million euros net, but we will invest significantly more in transfers than we will earn through transfers. And that is new for Borussia Dortmund,” club boss Hans-Joachim Watzke announced before the game via “Bild”.

Former captain Marco Reus and possibly defensive leader Mats Hummels are also leaving the club, cornerstones of the squad from the past decade; new leaders must be found or developed. The 35-year-old Reus will continue his career abroad and leaves with another bitter disappointment.

The two DFB Cup victories that one of the best German footballers of modern times won with his hometown club do not do justice to his quality in any way. “We couldn’t have wished for anything better than to hold up the cup with him. He would have deserved it,” said sports director Sebastian Kehl after Reus’ last game for BVB.

Hummels’ future still unclear

Another bitter twist in Reus’ career, which has been marked by serious injuries and lost titles, will be his second Champions League final loss in London after the 1:2 defeat against Bayern eleven years ago. Within ten minutes of his substitution, the bitterly disappointing and noticeably error-prone Royals scored two goals by Dani Carvajal (74′) and Vinicius Junior (83′) to secure their 15th title.

It is very doubtful whether Hummels, also 35, who has often been outstanding in this Champions League season, will extend his contract in Dortmund. His wistful gestures in front of the Dortmund South Stand after the last home game against Darmstadt two weeks ago were too conspicuous. His criticism of Terzic for his tactical approach, especially in the games against Stuttgart and Leverkusen, expressed in an interview with “Sport Bild” last week, was too suspicious and clear: “I was furious because I thought: Borussia Dortmund should not play like that – against any opponent in the world.”

If another extension in Dortmund had been on the cards, Hummels would probably have expressed himself more diplomatically. “We will discuss that in the next few days and then we will make a decision,” said Kehl coolly about the future prospects of the 2014 world champion. “I really have no idea,” said Hummels himself on ZDF. “It feels strange not knowing.” He could also continue playing abroad in the future. The veteran described ending his career as the “most unlikely option.”

Source: Stern

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