The disappointed Dortmund must regroup to keep the title dreams alive

BERLIN: Shortly after his team’s controversial knockout round defeat by Chelsea on Tuesday, Borussia Dortmund coach Edin Terzic gave his disappointed charges time to digest the defeat.

“We’re not thinking about the season at the moment,” Terzic told Amazon Prime on the edge of Stamford Bridge after the 2-0 defeat eliminated Dortmund 2-1 on aggregate.

“We’re just disappointed.”

Dortmund’s streak of 10 wins from 10 starts in 2023 had come to an end in contentious circumstances.

With Chelsea leading 1-0 and the aggregate score at 1-1, a VAR intervention found a handball against winger Marius Wolf in the penalty area.

While Chelsea’s Kai Havertz missed the penalty, VAR stepped in again and told him to do it again as the Dortmund players got into the penalty area too early.

Havertz converted the penalty on the second try and Chelsea held on to the 2-0 win.

“The guys immediately wanted to see the replay of the penalty kick because they hadn’t seen it yet,” Terzic said of the incident, which happened shortly after half-time but dominated post-match discussions.

After a stuttering end to 2022, Dortmund have closed the nine-point deficit to leaders Bayern Munich this year and now sit just adrift of the perennial German champions on goal difference with 11 games remaining.

As with all good runs, luck was on Dortmund’s side with a brilliant start to 2023.

Fortunate enough to let Dortmund down dramatically in London, Terzic’s challenge now is to ensure the side’s good form and a shot at their first league title since 2012.

“I don’t talk about referees”

When asked after the game why his team fell against Chelsea, Dortmund midfielder Emre Can simply replied “the referee”.

“The referee was very bad today… We’re playing here at Stamford Bridge, maybe he’s scared of the fans.”

Dortmund’s Jude Bellingham, ten years younger than Can, echoed the sentiment of his fellow midfielder.

The England teenager found the repeated penalty ‘a joke’, while saying: ‘I don’t want to get in trouble, I’ve paid them enough fines’.

Still standing on the west London grass, Terzic was asked what he thought of the referee’s performance and whether it cost Dortmund a chance to make the last eight.

“I don’t want to talk about the referees,” said Terzic.

“I haven’t talked about the referees in the last few weeks and now, in a bitterly disappointing moment, I won’t talk about them.”

Dortmund’s next game is on Saturday in the league against derby rivals Schalke.

While the league table might suggest that second-placed Dortmund would easily make 17th place Schalke, the normal rules in derbies tend not to apply.

Despite being at the bottom of the table, Schalke is the only Bundesliga club alongside Dortmund that has not lost a game in the second half of the season.

And although Schalke drew poorly 0-0 in four of those games, nothing would please Dortmund’s bitter derby rivals more than frustrating them out of a title challenge while tripping themselves up in the relegation battle.

Born and raised in Dortmund, Terzic knows how important the derby is for his team and opponents.

“We’re really disappointed tonight,” he said after the Chelsea defeat.

“But tomorrow morning we’ll get up, recover and go to the next thing… the big derby for us on Saturday.

“We don’t want to be given anything.

“Our season started in July… we’ll see what we earn by the end of May.” -AFP The disappointed Dortmund must regroup to keep the title dreams alive

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