Mats Hummels conceded that Borussia Dortmund “got the jitters” in their dramatic collapse against Liverpool in the Europa League.
Following a 1-1 draw in the quarter-final first leg, Dortmund had leads of 2-0 and 3-1 at Anfield on Thursday, but were still unable to seal their place in the last four, with the hosts – managed by former boss Jurgen Klopp – scoring three times in the final 24 minutes to win 5-4 on aggregate.
Hummels slammed Dortmund’s performance and felt it was mental weakness which caused Thomas Tuchel’s men to miss out on a semi-final spot.
“When we scored to make it 3-1 we thought we were through,” the captain told Sky Germany.
“We stopped defending aggressively and stopped playing football when they scored the 3-1. Then we suddenly got the jitters. We gave it away.
“Liverpool would never have come back if we would have continued to play our socks off after we scored the 3-1. We should have made the opponent chase the ball.
“Instead we just lost touch too often in defence. We just can’t concede goals like that, that was too easy for them. This defeat is the one that hurts the most this season.”
What a shot! pic.twitter.com/wb1tBwSJX9
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) April 14, 2016
It was Marco Reus who scored Dortmund’s third goal to seemingly put the tie to bed and he could not believe his team had gone on to lose the match from that position of strength.
“It’s difficult to put this game into words,” he said. “We played well in the first half, we took the lead early on. We did not defend well anymore in the second half, we didn’t play well going for attack.
“It was obvious that Liverpool would come back at us again. We scored to make it 3-1 and we should be able to finish the game off with that. You just can’t describe it – we cannot perform as we did in the second half.
“We have to ask ourselves the question how you can give a game away like that.”