Borussia Dortmund dominated against Eintracht Frankfurt but failed to recover from a slow start in a 1-0 Bundesliga defeat on Saturday, according to coach Thomas Tuchel.
Stefan Aigner put the hosts ahead with a pinpoint header in the 15th minute.
Frankfurt rarely threatened after that but although Dortmund controlled possession, they proved unable to create more than a handful of chances, finding the opposition’s goalkeeper Lucas Hradecky in a determined mood.
The result was ultimately rendered irrelevant for BVB, as Bayern Munich defeated Ingolstadt 2-1 to secure the title.
But it was a significant triumph for the home team, who climbed out of the relegation play-off place and into the safety of 15th ahead of a final-day showdown with fellow strugglers Werder Bremen.
“[We] didn’t play well initially and found it very difficult,” Tuchel told a post-match news conference.
“After the goal we came into the play significantly better, [but] often the final pass was missing.
“In the second half I made tactical and personnel changes and that did not really work out, so I also have to take my share [of responsibility],” he added, referring to the decision to bring on Sokratis Papastathopoulos in place of Erik Durm at the break, followed by the withdrawals of Mats Hummels and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the 65th minute.
“We had complete dominance, [but] then you can [still] lose 1-0.”
Given Dortmund had only a forlorn hope of staying in the title race and were already assured of second place and Champions League qualification, goalkeeper Roman Burki offered a simple explanation for the disappointing result.
“Perhaps, all in all, today we didn’t try hard enough,” he said.
Frankfurt coach Niko Kovac meanwhile will look forward with confidence to the huge clash next weekend against 16th-placed Bremen at Weserstadion, where a point will be enough to keep the Croatian’s team in the top flight.
“We knew we would have little possession. The team showed passion for 90 minutes,” he said.
“We’ve proved in the last few weeks the team has character.”
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