Borussia Dortmund’s woes continued as VfB Stuttgart took advantage of their defensive frailties in a 2-1 win, leaving them without a win in five Bundesliga matches and Peter Bosz under increasing pressure.
A defensive calamity between Marc Bartra and Roman Bürki gave Chadrac Akolo an easy finish, although Dortmund levelled at the end of the half as Maximilian Philipp fired in the rebound after Ron-Robert Zieler saved André Schürrle’s penalty.
Another defensive misstep soon after the break saw substitute Josip Brekalo scored what would be the winner, with Andriy Yarmolenko seeing a would-be equaliser disallowed for handball.
Philipp strike makes up for defensive calamity and saved penalty
Stuttgart are unbeaten at home but lost last time out away at Hamburger SV. Holger Badstuber, Santiago Ascacibar and, after his horrific injury earlier in the season, Christian Gentner all returned. Dortmund on the other hand came into this game mired in crisis, without a league win since September and without star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang following his suspension. Christian Pulisic also missed out injured, with Jeremy Toljan, Mario Götze, Philipp and Schürrle coming in from the side that started the 3-1 defeat to Bayern Munich two weeks ago.
Things would get from bad to worse for them within five minutes. Communication between Bartra and Bürki broke down, with Bartra playing a misjudged back pass to Bürki who was coming out of his goal. A heavy first touch from the under-pressure goalkeeper gave the ball straight to Akolo, who probably won’t score an easier goal all season.
Aside from that howler though, Dortmund were the better side. Schürrle, filing the Aubameyang role, had already let one chance pass him by before Stuttgart scored, whilst just after Yarmolenko had a shot saved by Zieler, although he ignored the option of Marcel Schmelzer that was available to him.
Götze was also one of their better players, with two good shots saved by Zieler, whilst he also played a delightful pass to Toljan, although is cross towards Shinji Kagawa was intercepted well by Ascacíbar.
It seemed they would still be trailing at the break though, but an injury to Daniel Ginczek, forcing the Stuttgart striker to be replaced, bought them a bit more time. A ball into the box from Götze was cleared blocked by the arm of Benjamin Pavard. Schürrle stepped up in the absence of Aubameyang, but his penalty was saved by Zieler. That would have just been Dortmund’s luck at the moment, however Philipp fired the rebound into the roof of the net to ensure parity at half-time.
Brekalo scores from the bench as Dortmund struggle to end woes
Both teams were forced into changes at the break, with Dan-Axel Zagadou replacing Sokratis and Brekalo coming on for the scorer of the first goal, Akolo. It would not be long before he himself added the second. Berkay Özcan played him through on the break and the substitute, on loan from VfL Wolfsburg, scored right through Bürki, whose nightmare in Dortmund’s goal continued.
Dortmund weren’t playing poorly going forward, although they didn’t have many chances to get level again in the immediate aftermath of the goal. Yarmolenko was denied twice by good challenges from Timo Baumgartl, although Takuma Asano was also denied by an inch-perfect tackle from Bartra, with the striker, on loan from Arsenal, left kicking at air as Bürki could collect.
Stuttgart didn’t have much to shout about, despite some kamikaze defending from Dortmund, but after Asano charged down the right, the impressive Özcan fired just over the bar. Moments later Yarmolenko thought he had scored as he chipped over Zieler in a quick break, however the referee spotted the slightest of handballs from the Ukrainian, not that it looked a particularly deliberate one.
The away side’s attacks started to fizzle out after that, although Schürrle had back-to-back efforts saved by Zieler. They kept trying to push forward, however that benefited the hosts, with Asano shooting over from close range, losing his footing as he put his shot away. A cross from Emiliano Insúa then presented Brekalo with another chance, but he hit it straight at Bürki.
Dortmund just didn’t have enough in the end and Hannes Wolf’s side clung on for a fifth win in six home games this season and a first win over Dortmund since January 2010. After leader the way before the October international break, Dortmund’s incredible capitulation continues, and could find themselves nine points behind Bayern, and potentially as low as seventh, by the end of the weekend.