Can´t buy me love ? but it can be earned
The match, that was about to catapult us into third position, was transformed into a draw, feeling like a defeat, in the very last minute. Instead of having the Champions League qualifiers within our grasp, at position five even the qualification for the UEFA-Cup is in danger. Additionally we mourn the loss of two key players to injuries. On top of that on this eventful Sunday afternoon, we had a birthday party, which drove the birthday boy to tears and the almost traditional protests against our visitors from the village.
The opponent: A billionaire´s toy or the things that money just can´t buy
On Sunday the villagers of TSG Hoffenheim visited our temple. Even though it was stated, that they were able to sell roundabout 800 tickets to their customers, looking at the puny crowd in blue-white on the North Stand gave the impression, that only half the ticket holders did actually come to see the match. These are the symptoms of the modern football in Germany. SAP-owner Dietmar Hopp and his favourite toy are the spearhead of a frightening development. The millions of Euros he used to boost the club of his home village up seven divisions, are just pocket money for the multi-billionaire. It was enough though, to buy a team of multi national mercenaries, that stormed all the way to the top of the Bundesliga table last season.
But Hopp had to find out, that all his money could not buy the respect of football supporters throughout the country.While he could attract some customers with his retort club, football fans throughout the country greeted him with hatred and verbal abuse. This gave the man, who was used to buy the respect of people, a hard time, since he had to find out, that all his money could not buy him the love of the public. And when the team started to loose games regularly, his customers, who had been lured with the prospect of never-ending success, turned against the team quickly. Last weeks 0:2 defeat against Cologne was too much for the customers to bare and so they started to emulate the fan-protests of other clubs´ followers, they had seen on TV. It was rather ridiculous to watch a crowd of maybe 20 customers block an empty team-bus, but it showed, how fake the image of an ideal village world was, that Hopp and his spin doctors had been trying to draw.
Much love for our birthday boy
Before the match, a heart warming moment took place in the temple, when BVB-veteran Dede entered the pitch to warm up. The Brazilian, who is playing his 11th season in Dortmund and even owns a German passport by now (“my greatest victory off the pitch”), made his return to our starting line-up on Sunday.
He had lost his starting position to young talent Marcel Schmelzer due to various injuries over the last two years, but since Schmelzer had been booked for the fifth time in Mainz last week, the time for his comeback had finally arrived. And the date for his return could not have been chosen any better, as it was his 32nd birthday on Sunday. Literally the whole stadium (apart from a couple of Village People) chanted happy birthday in his honour, as he stepped on the field. It was very obvious, that he was touched by this proof of love by his supporters, as tears started rolling down his cheeks.
Even after the match, Dede was struggling to describe his emotions: “What can I say about the fans of Borussia Dortmund? I don´t have words to describe it and can only thank the people here. They have always helped me through hard times and have always been faithful to me. But I have also been faithful to the club, even though I had some options to make a move. But the decision to stay here was right. There are no words to describe this club and the fans, but I feel the support in my heart and the people feel it, too. It was a great feeling to come back to the pitch in this stadium on my birthday.”
First half – Massacre in our Midfield
Apart from the return of Dede Coach Klopp gave the team, that had lost in Mainz, a chance to make up for this unnecessary defeat. On the other side, the man who never smiles, Hoppenheim coach Rangnick went for the concrete mixer for his tactics. Apart from striker Prince Tagoe his team waited in their own half for errors in the BVB-offence. The plan could have been, to run quick counter attacks, but in the first half they did not fire a single shot towards Roman Weidenfeller.
Dortmund tried to break the concrete mostly via jack-hammer Kuba, who was in excellent form on Sunday. Like a whirlwind he stormed up and down our right wing and Austrian international Andreas Ibertsberger found no means of stopping him. His first perfect assist was frittered away by Panther Barrios, who was still in search of his deadliness in front of the goal. Kuba ended his next run down the line with a proper cross towards the Panther, but Barrios´ header was no threat to goalie Timo Hildebrand. And so the first 45 minutes went on. Dortmund was struggling to find opportunities to score and the villagers did not do anything more than defending.
One could say it was a half time to forget about quickly, if it wasn´t for the two incidents, that forced Klopp to replace Sahin and Zidan. Sahin received an unintentional elbow blow to the head by Salihovic, which left him with a broken nose and Zidan twisted his knee without involvement of an opponent. While Sahin might be able to return to the pitch with a protective mask next week, Zidan suffered a cruciate ligament rupture and will be missing for about half a year. That is especially bitter, since he was playing his best half year since his move to Dortmund and the team will miss our Pharaoh dearly. They were replaced by Hajnal and Valdez, who both played a major role in the further development of this game.
Second half – Hard blow with the final whistle
It seems the Borussen had a propper cuppa during halftime, because with only two minutes played, they broke Rangnick´s concrete wall. After a Hajnal corner Mats Hummels headed the ball back towards the near post and the Panther sneaked past Compper for the easy finisher. The whole stadium screamed, but within seconds relief turned into anger. It turned out, that ref Stark had called it offside, even though a defender was standing two metres before the goal line at the far post. Unbelievable, another stolen goal.
10 minutes later Hajnal played an opening pass for Kuba, but his cross was way too far, for anyone to make use of it. Anyone but Kevin Großkreutz that is, of course. He reached the ball just before the touchline, turned and instantly served a sharp cross for Nelson Valdez. Nelson shook off Ibertsberger and went for the perfect header. Finally 1:0! The all important three points, that would gain us 3rd position, only a good half hour away. And Hopps toy boys seemed anything but dangerous so far. Should we really be able to make the dirty win?
The team seemed to be exhausted and the two early changes did not leave many options for Klopp. In the 82nd minute he was also forced to replace Kuba, who was totally finished and suffering from cramps. Hoffenheim increased the pressure on the BVB defence after the goal, but did not really manage to create any chances. But when it all seemed to be over in 89th minute, Hajnal lost an easy ball in midfield and Salihovic sent Carlos Eduardo down the left wing. Eduardo got one last cross in and behind the unalert Hummels, Ibisevic took his one and only opportunity of the match to score. Farewell champions league qualification spot.
Three games before the end of the season, it´s still “anything goes” for Borussia. Only one point behind Bremen and Leverkusen and in reach of Stuttgart (3 pts. behind) and HSV (5 pts.). There is not much for certain, but the fact that it is going to be an exciting finish of the season. It should not be forgotten though, that we are still in a position, which is way above the expactations at the start of the season. Next on the menu is Nuremberg, who are still fighting relegation. It will be interesting to see, how Klopp will react to the injuries of Zidan and Sahin. Mind you, that skipper Sebastian Kehl is missing, too. And what about Dede and Schmelzer? It will be an interesting week.
The final thoughts go to our Pharaoh Mohamed Zidan. All the best for your operation and much strength in rehab. Miss you much already, but we will see you score in Europe next season.
BVB: 1 Weidenfeller – 25 Owomoyela, 4 Subotic, 15 Hummels, 17 Dede – 22 Bender, 8 Sahin (22. 30 Hajnal) – 16 Kuba (82. 14 Feulner), 10 Zidan (28. 9 Valdez), 19 Großkreutz – 18 Barrios
Village People: 28 Hildebrand – 2 Beck, 14 Simunic, 5 Compper, 26 Ibertsberger – 21 Luis Gustavo (46. 37 Gulde) – 17 Weis, 23 Salihovic – 20 Obasi (63. 19 Ibisevic), 18 Tagoe (7 Maicosuel), 10 Carlos Eduardo
Goals: 1:0 Valdez (56., Großkreutz), 1:1 Ibisevic (89., Carlos Eduardo)
Booked: Weidenfeller, Dede – Simunic, Luis Gustavo, Ibertsberger
Here you can find some videos by Peter of the atmosphere in the temple before and during the match.