Reality check in winter wonderland
The one good thing about loosing at Frankfurt is that it became clear to the BVB supporters that this season is actually happening in the real world and it is not a wonderful dream from which we are bound to wake up at some point. Yes, we really have the most adorable team of all times, we really have the best offence and the best defence in Bundesliga, we really played the most successful first half-season in Borussia's history and yes, we really have 43 points in the bag at Christmas time. No need to fear the alarm clock just print out the Bundesliga table and adore it for the next weeks until the match at Leverkusen in Mid-January. Thank you for the reality check Theofanis Gekas.
A winter day in the woods
To explain why this match report can't feature the first half hour of the game, I have to tell you about my difficult journey to Frankfurt. On Friday Mother Hulda made her bed once again and the city of the upcoming champion was covered in Christmassy white. After I had finished the tour of the city to pick up my four travel companions, it became obvious that the windscreen washing system was in desperate need of some antifreeze, if we did not want to travel blindfolded. Said and done, but now we were up for the first bad omen of the day: The bonnet just would not close again. After some desperate tries, we quickly changed our plan and decided to drive with my mate's car, which had the advantage to me that I could sit on the back seat and start to drink the unlucky driver's beer ration. So if the following report is not 100% accurate, blame it on Mr. Brinkhoff! When we finally hit the road, we realised that the windscreen washing system of the substitute car was frozen as well, so we had to stop every now and then to clean the windscreen, because the low winter sun made driving with a dirty windscreen impossible. But we made it to Frankfurt half an hour before kick-off so we were still in good spirit.
But then we had to realize that the ground at Frankfurt is called Waldstadion (forest stadium) for an obvious reason: It is located next to a forest and the guest parking is on the other side of it. But when you are in a rush to get to a Borussia match and the guy with the tickets starts to get impatient (thanks for waiting Sascha!) you have no eye for the winter wonderland you are wandering through. Once we reached the stadium (5 minutes to kick-off), we realized that we were at the wrong entrance and the fact, that they do not have any signs to mark the entrances and the people working there were completely clueless, did not make things easier at all for us. But finally we reached the terrace half an hour late. Witnesses of the first 30 minutes of the match claimed we did not miss much and since there was still a 0:0 on the score-sheet I tend to believe they are right.
In control but hardly dangerous
Kloppo's young-guns had already seemed to be at the limit of their stamina over the last couple of matches, but with the luck of the leaders Borussia still managed to win against Nuremberg and Bremen, but the brilliance the team has shown for most of the season was rarely seen in these matches. Against Seville Borussia seemed unorganised in defence, which was a strong alarm signal, because Klopp's system is largely based on defensive stability. But once again the young-guns had learned their lesson well and they tried to keep the ball in their own lines to control the game. But since Frankfurt played it very aggressive in their own half and won most of the tackles, the BVB managed to create only few promising chances.
We broke out in jubilation after a Dortmund goal and were very frustrated as the ref failed to allow it. But according to the schwatzgelb.com colleague with the ball it was clearly offside and since he saw the slow-motion on TV, he had a better view than me on the opposite side of the stadium, so I guess it really was no goal. Frankfurt was only dangerous with counter-attacks, mostly over their right flank where Ochs was a constant trouble to Schmelzer. But Weidenfeller once again demonstrated his formidable form and denied Bundesliga top-scorer Gekas his next goal at least for the moment. Dortmund's midfield was as usual dominated by Nuri Sahin who played some tremendous passes, but mostly his colleagues played the attacks out too complicated and hardly ever there was danger for Fährmann. After a Sahin free kick Hummel's header hit the post, but he was clearly offside anyway. Götze could not take the chance, provided to him by a sloppy Frankfurt defender and a minute before the break a Sahin free kick from 18 metres went just over the crossbar. But the biggest chance for BVB in half one had panther Lucas Barrios. After a brilliant 60 metre pass by Sahin he found himself alone in front of the goal but his shot went far over the target.
At halftime Frankfurt was well off with the 0:0 draw as Borussia had the better chances but the fighting Eintracht and a sloppy panther prevented a Dortmund lead.
The invisible man strikes again
The second half started without Sven "the offender" Bender. He was not well off from the start but then he got hit by a Frankfurter and had to call it a day. He was replaced by Toni da Silva. In the first minutes Frankfurt increased the pressure and had a scoring opportunity for Köhler from the second row but his shot missed the goal by inches. On the other side a lob by Kagawa was denied by Fährmann and a misguided cross by Sahin landed on the crossbar. It was clearly no match from the fine foods department but rather meat and potatoes what both teams were serving their audience. Klopp wanted to create a fresh wind at front and replaced Kagawa and Großkreutz with the Polish faction Blaszczykowski and Lewandowski. But still Borussia hardly found a way through the Frankfurt defence. It was once again Sahin who found the gap and played yet another brilliant pass to Blaszczykowski on the right wing. His cross found the unmarked panther but BVB goal-getter Barrios once again showed that he is in desperate need of a break and missed the chance to decide this game in favour of Borussia. His shot went wide over the goal.
Only minutes later Theofanis Gekas, who had been invisible for most of the game, made his big appearance: A cross from the right by Jung found Fenin who delivered the ball with his back-heel to the unmarked Gekas and the leading Bundesliga goal-getter showed that he is in better shape than the panther at the moment. His shot was unsaveable even for the magnificent Weidenfeller and so the first half of the season ended just like it started, with a BVB defeat. But since these two were the only losses we had to suffer in Bundesliga so far, this still remains the best half-year BVB has ever had and our young team will still lead the table when the games are resumed in January. So the black'n'yellow hordes that had followed BVB to Frankfurt had to cope with the unusual feeling of driving home defeated to the city of champions after 8 straight away wins, but they could do so in a light mood, because nothing will take away the impressions we could collect during these fantastic months of brilliant football by our young multi-talented team.
Cheer up young-guns the title hunt has only just begun!
Frankfurt: Fährmann - Jung, Vasoski, Schwegler, Tzavellas (78. Fenin) - Clark, Köhler - Ochs, Meier, Halil Altintop (90.+3 Caio) - Gekas (90.+1 Amanatidis).
BVB: Weidenfeller - Piszczek, Subotic, Hummels, Schmelzer - Sahin, Bender (46. da Silva) - Großkreutz (73. Lewandowski), Kagawa (64. Blaszczykowski), Götze – Barrios
Goal: Gekas (Fenin, 87.)
Booked: Schwegler, Meier – Schmelzer (2.), Weidenfeller (4.)
Attendance at Waldstadion: 51.500 (sold out)