Borussia Dortmund has not seen a positive end near the first half of the season, and their loss to Hertha Berlin this weekend leaves them nine points behind Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga standings heading into the winter break.
Borussia Dortmund have won just four of their last nine matches in all competitions, and their victory over Besiktas on the final matchday of the group stage of the Champions League was not enough to see them progress out of the group, as their fate was already determined. For much of that race they were without Erling Haaland, but he marked his return to action a week before the 3-2, Det Klassiker defeat against Bayern.
Hertha Berlin haven’t had the best of seasons themselves, but they have done well to come out of the relegation zone. Still, Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said he felt Dortmund’s fatigue was clearly evident at the end of what was a lackluster ‘English week’ for them. “We didn’t have a drop of fuel left in the tank. You saw it with Erling, with Marco nothing worked, ”Watzke told Bild (via Sport1), adding that his team had lost “four fifths of the defense” and declaring that the Berlin field was “unworthy of a Bundesliga team”. Field conditions were just as bad for Bayern’s midweek trip to Stuttgart, as it seems to be a bit constant that the opposition pitches don’t appear to be at their best when either Bayern or Dortmund come in. city.
The result in Berlin was the last thing Dortmund would have wanted during the Bundesliga winter break. While this will be a great opportunity for rest and regeneration for the squad’s players, the nine-point gap behind Bayern will be increasingly difficult to catch up in the Ruckrunde, especially after having already lost once to their rivals. Following the loss to Berlin, Watzke was not interested in trying to congratulate Bayern for finishing the first half of the season with a nine-point gap. “It depends on demand. We wanted to get closer. But it also means Bayern need to get a bit closer. The way they play, you can’t get close to it, ”he explained.
Watzke has also spoken candidly in the past about his admiration for Joshua Kimmich and believes that having players of his caliber, and having more, is the big difference between Dortmund and Bayern. “80 million salary difference, of course, you can sign ten more world-class players. Plus, they do it well, have the most money and do it well, ”he said. He knows how vital Kimmich and Leon Goretzka’s double pivot is for Bayern as well as for the German national team, but realizes that one would have to pay “20, 25 million euros in salary” to have them. . “From that quality it’s hard to do,” he said, even though he knows they are “top notch, you just have to say it,” by his own estimate.
Dortmund are used to losing some of their best stars to Bayern, and with the financial gaps between the two clubs, Watzke knows that if Kimmich and Goretzka were both at Dortmund they would have already left. “At Bayern they extended, at home they would probably have left,” he said, suggesting that their success would have led them to leave for Bayern.