Opinion: Shambolic Borussia Dortmund in need of soul-searching | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 17.11.2017
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Opinion: Shambolic Borussia Dortmund in need of soul-searching

The combination of poor performance and defeat leaves Borussia Dortmund in serious trouble. With the club's most important game of the year approaching, the clock is ticking for Peter Bosz.

The definition of a shambles is "a total state of disorder" and that's exactly where Borussia Dortmund are after another hapless performance in Stuttgart on Friday night.

Not for the first time, their defending was slapstick, attack ineffective and their players desperately searching for form.

Injuries haven't helped their cause, and their new signings and new head coach deserve time to reverse their fortunes, but a team who started the season with legitimate hopes of challenging in the Bundesliga and Champions League are faultering badly, and it's not even Christmas.

Dortmund spent most of the game chasing an equalizer against a team whose only aim this season is to stay in the division. They played more like they were defending the final two minutes of a cup final. It was frantic, rushed and chaotic - so much so that the positive moments of the first half — Mario Götze's performance, Andre Schürrle's effort — were quickly forgotten.

Read more: Bundesliga matchday 12 round-up

Read more: Stuttgart 2-1 Borussia Dortmund: As it happened

What did remain was a Marc Bartra and Roman Bürki double act — a comical moment that left everyone other than Dortmund laughing. Rather than regrouping at halftime, Dortmund's chaotic defense was sliced open with alarming ease within six minutes.

Dortmund toiled for a way back into the game but were short on ideas and, in the end, 2-1 flattered them. Stuttgart could have won this 4-1.

Deutsche Welle Englisch Fußball Jonathan Harding (DW/P.Henriksen)

DW's Jonathan Harding

Afterwards, Dortmund captain Marcel Schmelzer said: "People won't believe it, but in terms of our attitude this was a step in the right direction."

Schmelzer's right about one thing: people won't believe it. His comments sounded like the fateful words of former Leverkusen boss Roger Schmidt after they lost 6-2 in Dortmund. Even the positive moments in the first half were not enough to suggest that this performance was a step anywhere other than in the wrong direction for a club that has lost its way in recent weeks.

Where is this Borussia Dortmund team going? They haven't won in five league games, have conceded 14 in the same period and by the end of the weekend, could be wallowing in seventh place.

Peter Bosz will be asked about tactics. Midfielder Julian Weigl, a shining light for the team last season, has shrunk into his new role, unable to anchor like he has done so many times before. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's off-field antics and on-field drought have created unwanted noise around a side that rely far too much on the Gabonese striker's goals.

But before defensive shape lies mental state and Dortmund's looks softer than the goals they conceded in Stuttgart. The woeful nature of their Champions League campaign leaves Tuesday's hosting of Tottenham Hotspur as something of an irrelevance, ahead of what is now the biggest Ruhr derby in years, at home to Schalke next weekend.

Modern football tolerates no time for repeat mistakes. If Dortmund deliver more of the same against their fierce rivals, then a winter of change lies ahead.

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