Struggling in the Bundesliga after their implosion in the first half of the campaign, Dortmund, in tenth place, cannot even consider a top four finish while a Europa League spot for next season is also merely an outside possibility.
“It’s a shame that our last Champions League game for at least the next 18 months had to end this way,” captain Mats Hummels said after their 3-0 loss equalled their worst home defeat in the Champions League.
“We had great four years in this competition and now it may be some time before we come back.”
Gone are the days when 70,000 fans celebrated big wins against teams like Manchester City, Arsenal, Zenit St Petersburg and Malaga and repeatedly against Real Madrid.
Dortmund, European champions in 1997, will now have to put all their focus on the league, as the country’s second richest team looks to salvage something out of an otherwise disappointing season.
A four-game winning run lifted them off the bottom spot in the Bundesliga but their two goalless draws since have highlighted their struggle for goals.
In order to get anything out of their domestic campaign, Dortmund, who are also in the German Cup last eight, will need to start scoring quickly, having failed to do so in their last three games in all competitions, after Wednesday.
“We took the wrong decisions throughout the game,” coach Juergen Klopp said. “We fully deserved to be eliminated. If you don’t shoot you don’t score and if you shoot on goal just twice in 78 minutes then that is just not good enough.”
What was once their most feared weapon has now become a liability with Dortmund forwards shooting blanks if they even find a way into the last third of the pitch.
“We don’t have patience and we seem to be lacking the greed to score,” said defender Neven Subotic.
“We did not carve out a single chance in the final third of the pitch. We did not have one 100-percent scoring chance in the entire game.”
(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)