Bayer Leverkusen striker Stefan Kiessling was left "lost for words" following the club's DFB Pokal defeat against 10-man third tier side Sportfreunde Lotte, while sporting director Rudi Voller blasted their "stupidity."
Leverkusen twice took the lead in front of capacity crowd in Lotte on Tuesday, but the hosts twice came back, despite being reduced to 10 men after 78 minutes, before winning on penalties.
Following a difficult start to the season, Leverkusen appeared to have lifted their 2016-17 campaign off the ground when beating Borussia Dortmund 2-0 prior to the last international break. However, back-to-back Bundesliga defeats against Werder Bremen and Hoffenheim and a goalless draw with Tottenham in Champions League as well as coach Roger Schmidt's ban have sent the club into another crisis.
"I am lost for words," Kiessling, who signed for Leverkusen in 2006, told reporters. "We were in total control, leading, had one man more on the pitch. It's just a very difficult situation. I've never experienced something like this even though I have been here for a while."
- Bayer 04 Leverkusen (@bayer04_en) October 25, 2016
Schmidt was not allowed any contact with the team during the 120 minutes and the penalty shootout and followed the match from the team bus following his touchline ban for remarks made to Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann at the weekend.
But midfielder Kevin Kampl said the defeat had nothing to do with Schmidt's absence.
"We, the players, were responsible for what happened here today," he said. "We have to blame ourselves for conceding the counter to make it 2-2. It's extremely bitter, we are all shocked. We now play at Wolfsburg and Tottenham, and need to be a strong team."
Voller was less diplomatic, adding: "It's hard to beat our stupidity."
As Leverkusen's players fell to the pitch when Lotte's Luka Tankulic converted the final penalty to make it 4-3 in the shootout, the hosts celebrated the biggest success in their history.
"I have always said that when things go normal Leverkusen will take the win, but if you are well-organised and have a plan how to move on the pitch [it's possible to beat Leverkusen]," Lotte coach Ismail Atalan told his post-match news conference.
"Of course, hope was slim after the red card, but I always believe in my team. What can I say about it? They surprised me a bit."
The 36-year-old added that club chief Manfred Wilke ordered the players to party. "He's given them a day off tomorrow. I didn't do it."