By Enis Koylu
Borussia Dortmund used to be the most exciting team in Europe. With a host of young stars, an upstart maverick of a coach and one of the most iconic stadiums in the world, watching BVB play was always a tantalising experience.
How times have changed. The 2-1 loss to Zenit St Petersburg was one of the worst performances that they have produced in the Jurgen Klopp era and entirely in keeping with a season which has had more than its fair share of difficulties.
Despite the defeat, they can count on a place in pot two of next season's Champions League draw as their 4-2 win in Russia three weeks previously ensured qualification for this year's quarter-finals. However, they are about to receive a massive dose of reality about their future in the competition.
|DIRE DORTMUND LIMP THROUGH
Match stats | BVB 1-2 Zenit
The Polish striker's suspension for the last eight leaves them with a predicament. All season long, Klopp's side have coped with a multitude of injuries - more than any side normally have to endure - but the one constant has been Lewandowski and, crucially, they have precious little cover for him.
The display which they produced against the Russians was dreadful. Zenit are going through a horror season of their own, which cost long-standing coach Luciano Spalletti his job in between the two legs, yet BVB were unable to craft clear-cut chances, despite their territorial advantage. And that was with Lewandowski.
It leaves you wondering how they would cope with a better team than the St Petersburg side. Last term, they failed to win a single knockout game away from home but were able to rely on their home form. This time, they have already lost four games at Signal Iduna Park in the Bundesliga and two in the Champions League.
Dortmund have always been a team capable of upsetting the odds and turning up when their backs are against the wall. The last three years have been littered with victories over Bayern Munich and few will forget the 4-1 thrashing of Real Madrid in last season's semi-final.
But they have been rattled this term as they deal with numerous high-profile sales and injuries and Lewandowski's suspension is the last thing that they can afford. Soon enough, they will have to cope without him on a full-time basis as he nears his free transfer to the Allianz Arena. The quarter-final will be a harsh glimpse of what awaits BVB next season.
On their run to the final last season, the club's social media team was using '#Fairytale' at the end of every Tweet. '#Nightmare' might be more apt for what lies ahead.