Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen: Winners and Losers from Bundesliga Game

Stefan BienkowskiFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2014

Borussia Dortmund vs. Bayer Leverkusen: Winners and Losers from Bundesliga Game

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Borussia Dortmund kicked off their new Bundesliga title charge in the worst possible manner on Saturday evening with a 2-0 defeat at home to Bayer Leverkusen

    The Westfalenstadion was the stage for this most unexpected upset, as new Factory Squad coach Roger Schmidt began his first ever Bundesliga campaign as a manager with a win over what many considered genuine title challengers to Bayern Munich this season. 

    Jurgen Klopp will now go back to the drawing board, with a number of first team players still to return from injury, and begin dissecting such a blow to some wonderful pre-season momentum. 

    Here are the winners and losers of Saturday's blockbuster Bundesliga showdown. 

Loser: Dortmund's Defence

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Most Dortmund fans will take hope in the fact that their side were missing plenty of first team players during their disappointing match against Leverkusen, yet there will be little to excuse the manner of Klopp's defence on the day. 

    The opening goal in the first minute of play was a series of individual errors that saw Lukasz Piszczek way out of position, Sokratis Papastathopoulos chasing shadows, Matthias Ginter far too casual in his tackle and Erik Durm ball watching instead of covering the space. 

    The offensive players did their best on the day, but Dortmund looked as vulnerable at the back as they had done during last year's abysmal season. 

Winner: Roger Schmidt's New Attacking Style

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Leverkusen's new coach arrived in Germany with a different style of football that looked to replace the industrious yet clunky setup that former manager Sami Hyypia had ultimately lost his job to. 

    As we now know, it took just seven seconds for this new team to make their mark with a wonderful worked goal from kick off, which ultimately saw Karim Bellarabi take the lead for Schmidt's side. 

    Yet it was the manner in which his team reacted to the predictable Dortmund response which will impress even the most pessimistic Factory Squad fan; Leverkusen never gave up in their pursuit of the ball and ultimately made Dortmund feel very uncomfortable.

    A very good first impression from this new Bundesliga manager. 

Loser: Sebastian Kehl

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Dortmund's lacklustre defeat to Leverkusen on Saturday evening was perhaps best characterised by the slow and laboured shift put in by central midfielder Sebastian Kehl. 

    The former club captain has long been an excellent servant for Klopp's side, but at 34-years-old Kehl is now certainly beginning to look past his best in the Dortmund first team. 

    At the heart of Klopp's midfield, it was the former German international who continually found himself second to every loose ball, fouling Leverkusen's tricky attacking midfielders like a man chasing shadows. 

    Klopp will undoubtedly have to think twice before he throws his ageing star into such a high-pressure game again. 

Winner: Hakan Calhanoglu

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    Martin Meissner/Associated Press

    Leverkusen will of course be ecstatic with their result against Dortmund, but most fans will be even happier with the performance on show from none other than new signing Hakan Calhanoglu. 

    The 20-year-old, attacking midfielder was crucial in the middle of the park to any attack that the Factory Squad put forward, and he played with the enthusiasm and class that fans wouldn't have seen since the days of Andre Schurrle. 

    Bellarabi was the man who ultimately picked up the goal and assist and Heung-Min Son was excellent in the execution of Schmidt's game plan, but it was of course the young Turkish international who added that extra spark to Leverkusen's unexpected win in Dortmund.

    Calhanoglu is young player with a great future ahead of him. 

Loser: Dortmund's Title Race

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    JON SUPER/Associated Press

    Despite all the injuries and transfer rumours that currently plague Klopp's mind from day-to-day, nothing will come close to the stress of losing at home on the opening day of the Bundesliga season. 

    What will bother the enthusiastic coach more than anything else is the manner in which his side were defeated; by sheer will and determination from a Leverkusen team who clearly felt as though they had a point to prove. 

    This season's title race was always going to sway towards Bayern from the very start, but Dortmund now look even less likely to catch their Munich rivals after falling at the first hurdle.