Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke said his club should “maybe play rougher” after 21 fouls were committed against them in the 2-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen at the weekend.
Dortmund committed only seven fouls in the match, and coach Thomas Tuchel said afterwards: “This is the third time that we have suffered more than 20 fouls, forcing us to make substitutions at half-time due to injury.”
Watzke told Bild that Tuchel “did not say anything wrong” and added: “It’s a fact — opponents play very rough against us, and that has nothing to do with being bad losers.
“Dortmund have, in past years, always been the fairest team. We now need to see if this rough playing style becomes a trend. Maybe we should play rougher and waive the fair play award.”
Stats published by Bild showed that Dortmund have committed only 46 fouls this season, the fewest of any Bundesliga team.
They have already drawn 114 fouls, just one behind Ingolstadt, but 40 more than FC Bayern Munich.
But Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller, also speaking to Bild, dismissed suggestions that his club had played unfairly.
He said: “We don’t need to justify ourselves. We are not an unfair team. Our coach prepared the team really well for this first-class opponent, and that’s the end of this ridiculous discussion.”
Leverkusen midfielder Kevin Kampl also laughed off Tuchel’s comments in kicker, saying: “Dortmund lost because we were the better team.”
Stefan Bell, who played under Tuchel during the BVB’s coach time at Mainz, said: “He’s just a bad loser.”