Some seats in the machine remained empty. Neither Marco Reus nor Mats Hummels took the flight to Seville on Tuesday. It’s not enough for the injured captain and the cold defender to make a comeback – although they could use Edin Terzic on Wednesday. Because last Saturday, the Borussia Dortmund coach caught up with a debate that he had actually hoped to end in the summer when he succeeded Marco Rose: the insufficient mentality in the BVB team.

In recent years, critics have often accused Dortmunders of a lack of passion and strength of character. But it was surprising that after the 2-3 defeat at 1. FC Köln it was Terzic himself who asked the mentality question publicly. It was also discussed before the game at FC Sevilla, where BVB will play in the Champions League on Wednesday (9 p.m.).

“Everyone noticed the disappointment, it wasn’t just the players who felt it. We coaches too. And it didn’t get any better when we watched the game again on video,” said Terzic, who accused his players of carelessly giving up the game due to a minute-long phase of weakness. The 39-year-old had never criticized the team so clearly. He also canceled the players’ day off. Instead, a debate and training were scheduled.

“We asked a few questions and then let the boys participate,” said the coach. It was an open discussion about topics “that have accompanied us for years”. The questions are obvious: Why is BVB simply not able to call up performance over a longer period of time? Why does concentration decrease in certain phases in a seemingly inexplicable way?

However, like his predecessors in recent years, Terzic failed to provide any answers. “There isn’t one answer,” he said – which is why it was obviously important to him to get the players on board when investigating the cause. He wants to sharpen the sense that Dortmund will never become a real top team as long as they don’t work consistently to eliminate their deficits.

A look at the table shows that if BVB had won in Cologne, Bayern would have been under a lot of pressure next Saturday when they had to play in Dortmund. This chance was wasted: Instead of becoming the leader of the table, BVB had to let three teams pass them at once – including Bayern (albeit with the same number of points).

When investigating the causes, it was down to the nitty gritty. It was openly spoken. “We had a meeting that wasn’t exactly nice, in which you put your finger in a wound,” reveals Julian Brandt.

The topic was not shelved just because another competition is scheduled for Wednesday. “That also accompanied us to Seville,” said the international. However, Brandt cannot come up with a panacea for how to solve the problems. “Nevertheless, we want to do everything we can to ensure that the wind turns in our favor again,” he explained.

He himself will probably be used again in the playmaker position in the attempt – as Captain Reus will still be absent. Although there had been hopes that the veteran could at least act as a substitute after his ligament injury, they were dashed – as was the case with Hummels. Especially the two experienced forces, who had played a strong season until their failures, will be missed when they try to get back on track. However, there is hope for both veterans and regular keeper Gregor Kobel (torn muscle) with regard to the Bundesliga big game on Saturday.

In Seville it will be important for BVB to take a decisive step in order to spend the winter in the Champions League. After the 3-0 win over FC Copenhagen and the 2-1 defeat at Manchester City, Borussia now have three points. “We will most likely need around ten points to progress,” said Terzic. However, he is sure that if his team should perform like Cologne, they shouldn’t have a chance. “If we don’t give 100 percent, we will lose,” said the coach.