Borussia Dortmund secured a third successive win in the German Bundesliga on Friday, the first time BVB have done so this season, but goal-scorers Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Ilkay Gundogan said their defending had to improve.
Jurgen Klopp’s Signal Iduna Park outfit have bounced back from falling to the bottom of the German top-flight standings, most recently beating Stuttgart 3-2 on the road.
Aubameyang and Gundogan scored on either side of a penalty converted by Florian Klein before Marco Reus scored the third and winning goal for the visitors’ at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.
Georg Niedermeier pulled one back for the home side, but it proved in vain as Dortmund continued their climb up the table, and Gundogan said conceding multiple goals in their past two games was a cause for concern.
“We’ve got to be somewhat self critical today despite the win,” the midfielder said.
“We’re getting ourselves in front in games, but haven’t necessarily been able to keep countering the way we like to and then we end up conceding sloppy goals, like we did tonight from a late corner, which we should never allow to happen.”
Gabon international Aubameyang said he was upbeat given his personal output – four goals in three games – but stressed their leaky defence must be addressed before their UEFA Champions League last-16 two-leg tie against Italian Serie A champions Juventus, starting on Tuesday.
“I’ve got the backing from the coach [Klopp] and being shifted into the central striker position is opening up more chances for me to find the net,” the former Saint-Etienne forward said.
“We’re fine when it comes to scoring goals right now, but we have to maintain our concentration at the back against Juventus.”
“Today we slacked off a little and can’t afford that to happen on Tuesday. We’re on the right track at present and we’ve just got to keep pushing forward.”
Stuttgart, on the other hand, have suffered from Dortmund’s rise in the league table, dropping to last spot.
Earlier in February, Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller and defender Mats Hummels reasoned with their fans following a defeat at home to Augsburg – but this time it was Stuttgart’s turn to plea with their supporters.
“We went to talk to the fans after the game because we needed to demonstrate that we care and know that they’re the most important part of this club,” goal-scorer Klein said.
“Obviously we know it’s difficult against Dortmund, you don’t have a lot of time on the ball and it’s a shame that after I equalised from the spot we weren’t able to hold on until half-time.”
“We made too many mistakes and you can’t win games against teams like this if you do that. We have to stay positive.”