Berlin (AFP) – Borussia Dortmund coach Thomas Tuchel has told his side to behave like champions despite the bitter disappointment of their last-gasp Europa League quarter-final exit at the hands of Liverpool.
Dortmund threw away a 2-0 lead at Anfield, after early goals by Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, in Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final, second-leg, as Dejan Lovren’s 91st-minute winner sealed Liverpool’s 4-3 victory.
Liverpool’s manager Jurgen Klopp, Tuchel’s predecessor at Dortmund, helped inspire the Reds’ dramatic comeback by evoking the spirit of the 2005 Champions League final when Liverpool came from 3-0 down to beat AC Milan on penalties.
But Dortmund are licking their wounds having led 3-1, 4-2 on aggregate, with half an hour remaining before goals by Philippe Coutinho, then Mamadou Sakho, put Liverpool level only for Lovren’s dramatic winner to break Borussian hearts.
“We wanted to win like champions, now we must at least lose like champions — and pick ourselves up,” said Tuchel after Lovren’s heart-stopping stoppage-time header.
“We don’t need any sympathy or a pat on the back.”
While Liverpool prepare for their European semi-final, Dortmund have only a Bundesliga match at home to Hamburg on Sunday to console themselves before next Wednesday’s German Cup semi-final at Hertha Berlin’ Olympic Stadium.
Should they beat Hertha, Bayern Munich are potential opponents in the May 21 final as they face Werder Bremen in the other semi-final at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.
“No later than next Wednesday, we have to transform the disappointment into energy and defiance in order to achieve our next major goal,” said Tuchel.
Germany winger Marco Reus, whose strike on 57 minutes had put Dortmund 3-1 up at Anfield, admitted his side threw the game away.
“We stopped both defending and attacking well in the second half,” fumed Reus.
“Of course, we shouldn’t have given the game away like that — it is extremely disappointing.
“We all have to ask ourselves, how we could let a game like that run through our fingers.”