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Mar 31, 2013

Klopp: I feared for players' safety

Borussia Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp admits he was concerned for the safety of his players during their 2-1 win over Stuttgart in a physical encounter on Saturday.

Dortmund had a number of casualties following the match, with a broken nose to Marcel Schmelzer and injuries to Sven Bender and Kevin Grosskreutz threatening to disrupt Wednesday's Champions League trip to Malaga.

Schmelzer was taken to hospital after being accidentally kicked in the face in the 23rd minute and Klopp believes Stuttgart's physical nature threatened to cause more injuries in the Dortmund camp.

"It was a good preparation for the Champions League match in Malaga as they also fly this way into tackles," he said. "My players suffered bumps to the head, flesh wounds, bruised ribs and so on - today there was a little too much aggressiveness.

"If we had lost everyone would have said I'm a bad loser, that's why I'm saying it anyway. Today I was often worried about the health of my players - that shouldn't be part of football! It was too aggressive and a difficult game for the referee, but we were not so much involved in it.

"It was, as I had told my team before, a super intense game. We needed 20 minutes to get used to Stuttgart's style and then were right in the game and created some good chances.

"Before that they had created some dangerous situations where Roman kept us in the game. The second half started in the same vein as the first. In the end we were rewarded for our efforts. Even if it's a close result, the win is not undeserved."

Dortmund's players were seething after a number of strong colllisions, with goalkeeper Roman Weidenfeller claiming Stuttgart played an "unfair" brand of football.

"Football shouldn't be played in such an unfair way," he said. "There were some situations where players could have gotten injured - and were injured. One player suffered a broken nose, a gaping flesh wound. It went beyond acceptable."

Midfielder Sven Bender added: "It was a very difficult game. VfB gave their all, they were committed and pushed the limits of what's allowed. But I think we fought back well - but within the rules of the game."

Neven Subotic left the most scathing assessment of Stuttgart, insisting they played in an unmoral fashion.

"Men's sport must always be fair," he said. "I don't try to ram an elbow into an opponent, because that's not manly, everyone can do that, a woman can do that."

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