Borussia Dortmund duo Sven Bender and Neven Subotic have slammed Stuttgart’s physical approach after their 2-1 win on Saturday.
A late strike from Robert Lewandowski ensured that Juergen Klopp’s men delayed Bayern Munich’s inevitable lifting of the Bundesliga title, after Alexandru Maxim cancelled out Lukasz Piszczek’s opener.
However, the game was marred by a number of aggressive tackles, with Marcel Schmelzer substituted with a suspected broken nose – prompting Dortmund defender Subotic to criticise the home side.
The 24-year-old told the club’s official website: “Mens’ sport must always be fair. I don’t try to ram an elbow into an opponent, because that’s not manly, everyone can do that, a woman can do that.”
Bender was equally unimpressed with Stuttgart, but praised his team-mates for their fighting spirit.
“It was a very difficult game,” the 23-year-old said. “VfB gave their all, they were committed and pushed the limits of what’s allowed. But I think we fought back well – but within the rules of the game.”
Former Dortmund star Michael Zorc defended the referee for his part in proceedings but believes a pattern is emerging in clashes between Dortmund and Stuttgart.
He said: “In the first game it was (Sebastian) Kehl, now it was Schmelzer who suffered a broken nose.
“I don´t think it was intended but a foot doesn’t belong there. After the game everyone was lying on a massage table. The referee is not to blame, he had a tough job. We are happy about the three points.”
Dortmund face Malaga on Wednesday in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.