BERLIN - Borussia Dortmund are finally looking forward with optimism again after Tuesday’s 2-0 win at Mainz ended a long winless run in the Bundesliga.
“We got our first victory for a long time,” opening goalscorer Sokratis said. “This win is extremely important for us. We performed very compactly in defence and got two goals at the other end.”
Keeping a clean sheet in Peter Stoeger’s first game in charge was a pleasant change to the previous run of fixtures under former coach Peter Bosz. The side last avoided conceding in the Bundesliga on September 20.
The slide under the departed Dutchman extended to one win in 13 in all competitions and a Bundesliga spell of three points being gained from eight games as the side fell out of the Champions League places.
“For now our full focus is on the Bundesliga match on Saturday, which we also absolutely have to win,” Sokratis said of the weekend clash with Hoffenheim.
“If we manage that, then we’ll immediately have put the situation of the past few weeks completely behind us.”
The following midweek, Dortmund, now a tight fourth, head to league leaders Bayern Munich in a German Cup clash which could spark new life into their campaign with a win.
A loss would leave them with only the Europa League as a realistic title to win in the second half of the season, but rediscovering their form and securing a top-three place would remain a vital goal.
“We had one training session in which we tried to focus on tactical matters,” Stoeger said of his limited time leading the team since his Sunday appointment.
“If the scope of training is limited, it’s important that you just pick out one or two things. There has been lots of talking and listening. That was the main task during this short period.”
Stoeger was given the job based on his previous achievements guiding Cologne back to the top flight and into Europe for the first time in 25 years.
But ironically he had been fired from Cologne just the week before with the team bottom and still without a win.
“It was gratifying and important for both parties; both BVB and myself have finally got our first Bundesliga win for quite some time,” he said. “That’s a good combination.”
Stoeger left Dortmund in the 4-3-3 shape used by Bosz but played a little deeper and with a little more caution going forward. Julian Weigl was able to both protect the defence from midfield and build attacks from deep.
“We stayed patient and tried to make few mistakes,” Weigl said. “The bottom line is we’re very happy but it was only the first step in the right direction.”